Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Real Me

Saturday I went hiking with a friend of mine.  She's an awesome person, but like many of my friends here, she doesn't really know me.  What she knows about me is real, but what she doesn't know about me is more real and more important and I can't explain it to her.  I can tell her, but that doesn't mean much.

So here's what happened.

We were talking about some of the romantic ups and downs of a mutual friend, and then she decided to ask about MY love life (here's a hint: there isn't one right now).  "Well, what about So and So?"  I tried to explain that while So and So has many attractive qualities, I can't really pursue anything beyond the friend plane because we are not in the same place faith-wise.

Which led to a nice LONG lecture about how you're not likely to ever find someone with exactly the same beliefs as you, and you don't really know where other people are in their faith anyway, because some people aren't that comfortable talking about it, and so on and so forth.

I tried to explain that I'm not trying to be too picky, but there needs to be a certain amount of common ground.  In explanation, I said something like "It wouldn't make much sense at this time in my life to find someone that had no interest in any kind of outdoor activities." Planning to continue on and explain that, in the same way, I need someone that has a shared understanding of my faith.

Only, my friend likes to talk and didn't let me finish.  She says, "Well, of course not."

Riiiight.  You immediately get that we have to have common interest on "big" matters like outdoor interests, but give me long lectures about how I need to be more open to different ideas and thoughts on matters of faith and values.

And then yesterday I got to skype with a friend who does understand exactly what I believe and why (because it turns out that there a lot of people who do actually share the same thoughts and values).  I can't even put it into words the difference in connection with the friend that gets me and the one that doesn't really get me.

In summary, I don't really know the point of this post, other than to say that trying to forge a romantic relationship with someone like So and So would be like my relationship with Friend 1, in that there's only so much of yourself that you can share because you can tell them all about your faith, but when they're not in the same place, they just don't really get it.  And if I can't find someone that gets the faith aspect the way Friend 1 gets the outdoor aspect and Friend 2 gets all of it, then I guess I'll be single forever.  And that's not a bad thing!

Also important point of this post, I really miss Friend 2 and all my other friends like her... The ones that we live way too far away from each other, but getting together with them is like we've never been apart and when we do discuss things, there's so much background we don't have to explain because we know.


  1. Amen! I am so glad that my DH and our on the same page faith wise. When I was in my mid-20s I commented to a good friend about the qualities I wanted in a potential husband. She said "oh my goodness, you are describing a seminarian!" And we both laughed. But anyway, a bunch of years later I met my "seminarian" except he never went to seminary. :) And that friend of mine was the matron of honor in our wedding and a great friend to this day. I am praying for you M - that you find your So and So that gets ALL OF IT!

  2. I understand your post completely. There are always those friends who think they know you but really haven't a clue, and it does always seem the ones who do really know you are not able to be right there. ie live far away, or in my case have a crazy high strung job and 4 kids at home. I am praying for you to find the one that gets you like your friend 2 and has all the qualities, beliefs, & faith.

  3. Shared faith - so important. While it can certainly be done if not shared, it certainly makes things that much more challenging.

    Praying along with M that you find your So and So who gets all of it :).

  4. I totally get this!!! I wish my blogger friends lived closer. :) And I echo Rebecca's prayer for your So and So. :)

  5. Good for you! I wish I had been mature enough when I was younger to consider how faith was going to play into my relationship.

  6. It's great that you have a friend who really gets you, though so painful when such friends live far away.

    I did want to comment on an issue that your post raises, even though it doesn't sound like my point is relevant to the specific male friend you've mentioned here. It may be relevant for others who read here.

    I have seen many of my friends (Catholics and Protestants) reject on-line profiles of men because they didn't seem to be on the same page faith-wise. However, an on-line profile is just that: a representation of parts of someone, but is not the whole person.

    I met my DH on-line, and in the faith section, he said that he was "ethnically Catholic, but not religiously Catholic." That didn't sound good to me, but I had a rule for myself that I had to meet anyone who seemed kind and thoughtful on e-mail. As I got to know him, I realized that despite his unpromising profile, he did share my faith. I often tease him about his description, and he says, "Well, I didn't want anyone to be disappointed that I no longer went to Mass every week." Well, he goes to Mass every week now, with me, and he prays every night with me before we go to bed. (Sometimes, I'm too tired/anxious/angry at God to pray, so he will pray for me.)

    This obviously doesn't apply to your situation, because you know this guy in person and have a friendship with him. You also know what you can and cannot tolerate, faith-wise. And I don't recommend that anyone get in a relationship with another person and try to change their beliefs. But I wouldn't want anyone to reject someone on the basis of an on-line profile when she could be overlooking a guy would might be open to growing in faith with her.

    I pray that you find the man who really gets you.

  7. I feel ya, sister! I've dated enough non-Catholics to realise that shared faith must be the basis of a [romantic] relationship. As for "non-religious" Catholics, I'd still be cautious: if he doesn't want to improve and if it seems like he's not too comfortable talking about anything faith-related, then I guess it's friendship only.

  8. Something I heard once (not that I've really researched it) is that people of different faiths, or different practices of the same faith, minimize those differences initially but then later they become a really big deal (esp. if the couple has children - how to raise them? because a real touchy issue). That's not to say that mixed-faith marriages can't work, but you kind of have to go into them eyes-wide-open, I guess. And I think it would be a real challenge - and a frequent challenge - to be with someone who didn't share your understanding of morals or your need for God.

    We have good friends, a married couple, one is Catholic and the other is Mennonite, and one reason it works I think is that they share fundamental moral beliefs about what is okay and what's not, and they're both very willing to learn about the other's faith and empathize with why it matters to them.

    With that said, I agree with JBTC - I'm so grateful that my husband and I share the same faith, that it's something we can participate in together. But I also like Sarah's advice, particularly when it comes to online dating, of being willing to see how someone's faith actually operates in their life (it sounds like you've already done that).

  9. Oh, I just "love" advice like that. Blah. You can be MORE lonely in the context of a poor match than as a healthy single person (I know you already know this!). I also remember reading studies about how mix-faith marriages rank among some of the most strained types of marriages out there. Ecce Fiat is right.. when the kids come along... romantic chemistry is just not going to be enough all by itself to face those challenges (Yes, I realize there are some beautiful mix-faith marriages. But there are real challenges).

    I feel blessed that my Dh and I share the Catholic faith, that said, I did have to accept that he is a different person with a different personality with different strengths, a different way of expressing his faith and processing it, etc. But yeah, at the ground level... we both highly value our faith!

  10. I was a Sunday Catholic and Catholic School Dad when I married my wife. That is, I went to Mass every Sunday and sent my kids to Catholic school. My wife taught RCIA, was a Cursillista and read books on our faith. She encouraged me along my faith journey to the point where I'm eager to read Light of Faith because some crazy blogging chick recommended it.


    My point is that the guy doesn't have to *be* at the same spot as you, he just has to be willing to *get* to the same spot.