Dear Mary Beth,
I don’t want to be greedy. I figure I can look at life two ways. One, I’m so lucky I was married; I really wanted to be. Some people never got to be or get to be. Or two, why am I the one whose husband left her, after having an affair, and all my friends are married? Is it greedy to hope to love again, in marriage, when others may never get to love? Where is God in this?
– Greedy or Grateful?
Dear G or G,
I looked up greedy in the dictionary. It is defined as 1) “Having a strong desire for food or drink” or 2) “Having or showing a selfish desire for wealth or possessions.” Which means this would apply to you only if we equate husband with either food, drink, wealth or possessions. In that case, I suppose one could make an argument that you are being greedy.
Since everybody who has ever attended a singles’ event knows there are about 8 billion single Catholic women for every one single Catholic man, I could argue that you’ve had your turn and now it’s time to step aside and let another sister have a shot.
Fortunately for you – and for all of us – God doesn’t work that way.
It isn’t greedy to desire to give ourselves in love to a spouse. We’re made that way. God placed within us the desire to join our lives to another, and it runs very, very deep. I think we singles have often conditioned ourselves to believe that we need to judge or manage our natural feelings, instead of just allowing ourselves to feel them.
It’s OK to long for a husband, particularly after the last one hurt you so badly. (Of course, that brings up the separate issue of whether or not that marriage has been annulled. Too big an issue to take on here, but suffice it to say that without an annulment, you’re actually talking about seeking a second husband when you still have the original one. And that may not be greedy, but it is problematic.)
What you’re doing here is trying to decide with whom to compare yourself – your married friends who got the happily-ever-after you missed, or the never-married women who missed out on the white dress, the bridesmaids and the subsequent abandonment. And that is the wrong question, because you’re not those other women.
You’re you, and God loves you absolutely uniquely. He knows your unique struggles and your unique gifts. He knows what has happened to you. He knows what will happen to you. And He is working on a plan to take whatever happens in your life and fashion it into something beautiful for you.
It may be marriage (provided your first marriage is declared invalid), or it may not. He may be calling you to learn to fill that desire with His love in a more complete way.
So the primary issue here isn’t “am I greedy to desire this?” It’s more like “I know I’m normal to desire this, so I guess I need to give that desire to God and see what beautiful plan He has in store for me.”
Because God is in this. He’s right there in the middle of all of it, waiting for you to trust Him and follow His lead.
Got a question for Mary Beth?
Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. She may answer it in her next “Dear Mary Beth” post.