About three years after my husband, Steven, passed away, I began to seriously consider dating again.
I missed the intimate daily human contact – things like pillow talk, that last good-night kiss, shared secrets, and the language of love that exists between spouses.
When I first joined CatholicMatch, I thought long and hard about how to fill out the “seeking” section of my profile. It originally displayed as follows:
I am seeking a true friend and fun-loving companion on the journey. He must be a good listener, caring, kind and honest. Must have an awesome sense of humor and be proud to call himself a Catholic. He must place faith and family at the top of his daily priorities.
I wrote and revised that seeking section several times before I came up with what you see above.
After a few rewrites, I began to laugh at myself and the idea popped into my head that perhaps it’s not the seeking section that I should be concerned about at all. But instead, I should probably be concerned with the area of my profile description where I share things about myself.
This got me to reflect on what qualities of my own had fared poorly in my marriage, due to my naïve attitude as a newly-married teenage bride. I began to wonder what I would improve upon if given the chance.
I remember back to the early years of my marriage. I was a starry-eyed small-town girl madly in love with a farm boy who thought the sun rose and set with me. In addition to being in love, we were best friends and would remain so until Steve’s death.
Like any young lovers, we assumed that marriage was and always would be about passion. Neither of us had ever paused long enough to wonder what came after the “horizontal mambo.”
About two weeks into our marriage, a chink appeared in Steve’s knight-in-shining-armor garb. I walked into our bedroom shortly after he had left for work. I noticed a pair of dirty underwear lying right in the middle of the floor and thought that he had probably forgotten them, so I put them in the laundry. Then the next day, another pair appeared again in the same place.
You know what they say, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!”
Well, I would just have to address this little matter with Mr. Tess at supper. I distinctly remember that evening because he flung a term at me that has stuck to this day; he called me “Mrs. Clean”!
We had “words” and the next thing I knew, we weren’t on speaking terms for the rest of the night.
By the next day, we decided to kiss and make up. Over the next 29 years we would have many spats. But there was always one constant in our marriage, which was a deep love and respect for each other that supported all the little faults that turned up from time to time.
Somewhere around the time our 25th wedding anniversary rolled around, Steve and I had decided that it didn’t pay to argue any more. We had a mutual understanding that when one of us was angry and wanted to vent, the other would listen. When the listening session was over, we would laugh at ourselves and have a little make-up session. Talk about the value of listening!
I also remember that a relative by the name of Fr. Mike gave us the perfect framed Bible verse for our 25th anniversary. I do believe this verse is the key to a long and happy marriage such as ours. Here it is:
Love is patient and kind.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.
-1 Corinthians 13
So, now I had an ah-ha moment and began to think about the value of patience in my long and happy marriage and how I could work to change that area of my personality to make life more pleasurable and less stressful if I ever had a second chance at love again.
Enter Mr. Right. My initial face-to-face meeting with this kind CatholicMatch member was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on a Saturday in Milwaukee, Wis. This drive would be a little over an hour for me and a good hour and a half for Mr. Right.
I got to the agreed meeting place a few minutes early and just as I was driving into the parking lot, my cell phone rang.
It was Mr. Right, apologizing for being late and stuck in traffic. Of course I assured him that I was fine and would see him in a little bit. Two phone calls and 45 minutes later, as I was reading a book, Mr. Right came up behind me, stooped down and introduced himself.
I want you all to know that I will be eternally grateful for learning the value of patience, as bells, whistles and fireworks were definitely going off when Mr. Right spoke my name and throughout our five-hour conversation.
Because I looked inside myself first and asked the question, “What qualities of my own can I improve upon?” my profile now reads “In a Relationship” and here is how my seeking section reads today:
I have found a true friend and fun-loving companion on the journey. He is a good listener, caring, kind and honest, has an awesome sense of humor and is proud to call himself a Catholic. He places faith and family at the top of his daily priorities. My life has truly been blessed!
Last Saturday was the end of a truly long and hectic week in my life. I was mentally exhausted and would have loved to see Mr. Right, but I knew that he was ill with a bad virus and he needed his rest, not a call from me. I was practicing the art of patience.
Yet to my surprise, late in the evening, I received a call from an ill Mr. Right, asking how I was fairing. Now ladies and gentlemen, that’s how I spell love!
I urge you to review your own profile today just as I did, because the love of your life could be right around the corner. Will you be ready?