My Boyfriend is Catholic.
I don’t mean that in the way that I say I’m “technically Catholic” when people ask if I’m religious, or in the way that I explain my religious identity as “Catholic, if you squint.” Which is to say I was baptized Catholic as a baby, and only step in churches for funerals–and am very, very areligious. In fact, I’m borderline anti-religion. That’s a discussion for a different post, however.
When I say my Boyfriend is Catholic, I mean he’s Catholic. Went to private Catholic school, prays before he goes to bed every night, says grace, knows all kinds of Bible related shit that I don’t. He comes from a big family (he’s one of eight), and wants a big one of his own. He’s pretty politically apathetic. He loves Chemistry.
We’re very different, he and I.
In terms of people I ever thought I would date, he’s actually the polar opposite of everything I thought I wanted in a significant other.
But still, in the words of my Brother-In-Law, I’m Sprung.
For all of my adventurous drive, stubborn personality, inclination to argue–I’m a Settle Down kind of girl. I don’t want a chase, or a game, or to Find Myself First.
I have always Known Myself. I don’t like games, and I hate running. I like stability. I like having someone to come home to, someone who looks after me. Not because I am incapable of looking after myself, but because that’s how I build trust with someone–by letting them be the person who cares for me, by letting them see all my Broken.
I thought having so many differences would cause problems. And even though we’re only a month into the relationship, I sat him down for a serious conversation (on a park swing, because I can never be too serious) a few nights ago.
“I don’t want to get invested in this relationship just for us to break up three years down the road because you love Jesus and I don’t.” I expected him to laugh, or at least look uncomfortable (he usually does when I bring up religion), but I felt listened to. As I always do with him.
So we sat, and swung, for an hour, and talked. About our hypothetical children, and how we wanted them raised. About why I’m not religious. About why he chooses to believe which things within his religion.
I could tell he hadn’t thought about this–religion as a whole–nearly as much as I had.
“People use religion as a crutch, or for hope, or for a light when they feel lost. I never felt like I needed that–not from religion, at least. I always got it from my faith in people. I don’t think it’s wrong to believe in a God,” I told him. “I think it’s wrong to not want to be Good just for the sake of Being Good–and instead being such just because God said so.
“Just some food for thought.” I finished.
“That’s a lot of food,” he responded.
“Well I have a lot of thoughts.”
I thought the conversation would’ve made things worse for us–more tense, or awkward. But I felt closer to him. I think it was good for us. And maybe it was weird to have such a conversation so early in the relationship, but I felt it was necessary.
Later that night we were at a restaurant.
“Do you believe in fate?” And he nodded. “Meant to be’s?” And again. “Forever?” And still.
Of course he does, I thought. God Bless the Broken Road, and all that jazz.
“I do too,” I admitted. “I don’t like to admit it, because I’ve got a pretty cynical reputation to protect.” And he laughed, which was the goal, but I continued. “But also I’m secretly a romantic. I love the idea that there was someone on this Earth made to be your other half.”
I realized that maybe being with someone who runs parallel to you (i.e. what I used to think I wanted in a significant other) is a lot less fun than someone who runs perpendicular. That maybe Balance is also about Exposure, and Compromise, and Forgiveness.
That maybe Forever isn’t a cliche if you take your time and use your words and Love until you can’t anymore.