Your story sounds so much like mine… I totally understand! I knew from a very young age that my dad had cheated on my mom only a year into their marriage. Then he cheated again, a few years later. And again. Only one set of my grandparents stayed together, though their marriage was far from great. The rest of my grandparents cheated, divorced, remarried, redivorced, and so on… And so do did all of my aunts and uncles except for my mom’s brother and his wife. I looked around me and saw marriages falling apart, wondering if it was even possible to have a good, faithful, lasting marriage. I put all of my hope into my parents’ marriage, believing that if they could stay together regardless of my father’s infidelity, then at least there was hope for a lasting marriage. Well, after my dad promised me he would never divorce my mom, he did. My mom, heartbroken, took off, and my dad spent all his time with his new girlfriend. That left me to take care of my three younger siblings, who were all falling apart, while dealing with my own devastation.
I was a wreck. Like you, I didn’t know how I would ever trust men. I also didn’t think I was that pretty, and my mom’s insecurities had led me to believe that if I were just beautiful and interesting enough, maybe a man wouldn’t cheat on me. But at the same time, I wanted marriage and a family so badly! So here’s what I did:
I cried hysterically. I talked and talked about my insecurities, fears, and childhood issues with anyone who would listen. It helped start getting things out of my system. But then I realized that the people who were listening couldn’t really heal me. They could only help me express myself. That’s when I threw myself at God with all of my might, crying to Him, begging Him to heal me and give me hope. I needed love so desperately, and as I cried to God daily in front of the Eucharist, or just on the floor in my room, I began to feel His love. I also looked for it—I went outside and stared at the sky and listened to the birds. I would see heart-shaped clouds and thank God for telling me He loved me. When I would feel particularly desperate and in need of God’s love, I would turn on the radio to a Christian station, and somehow just the right song would be playing. When we look, we see God reaching out to us.
If you go to God for the love you crave, He will heal you. But it is not a simple or easy process. It will take a while. But you know what? You will look back on it as a blessing. God never lets us suffer for no good reason. God loves you SO much, and He wants you all to Himself right now, so He can hold you and show you how special and worthy of love you are. He chose to create you because He didn’t want this world to not have you in it. It is so important that you are here, and only you can love God in the way that you do… No one else will love God in the exact same way, so He longs for your love and trust so much. If only you existed, Jesus would still have gone through the whole passion and crucifixion, just so you could be with Him. That’s how badly He wants you in His arms.
When you start to realize and feel that, you will know that you can trust Him so fully and completely to bring you the man He wants you to marry. Tell God every day that you want Him to take care of that for you. Tell Him you don’t trust yourself to make the right decision, because you are afraid, but you know that if God takes care of it, you can trust Him. Then, when you start meeting guys and wondering if a guy is the one God chose for you, just go with your instincts and pray every day that God will not let you marry a man He doesn’t want for you. That’s what I did. My first real relationship was when I was 20. I was SO attracted to this guy, and it felt SO right. I actually went a little crazy and we got engaged very quickly. But I prayed every single day, begging God to make sure I didn’t marry this guy if he wasn’t the one God wanted. I trusted God completely. After a couple of months, things started crumbling, and I realized this guy was not who I had thought he was. It was terribly difficult to go through, but I prayed so hard and God gave me the courage to break off the engagement. A month later, I bumped into the guy who became my husband. He was not perfect, but I felt so completely able to relax and be myself in his presence. We made each other better people. And when we hit some rough spots and I felt like maybe I should call it off, God helped me discern through prayer to hold on. My husband even started feeling like he should discern religious life, and he actually left me to enter a Dominican priory! That took SO much trust and prayer on my part to get through that, but I told God that if He wanted me to be with this guy, I trusted Him to bring him back to me. And He did. We just got married in October, and we have the most beautiful, loving, God-centered marriage. I am now 25.
I’m sorry this post was so long, but I want you to know that God is there for you in such a profound, personal, interested-in-every-detail-of-your-day sort of way, and He will not let you down if you trust Him! I will now give you another post with some things that might help you know and feel God’s love, like they did for me.