Then I got married… and disliked change even more. I pre-washed dishes, my wife did not. I wanted to keep playing sports and video games into the early hours of the morning, my wife expected me to spend more of my time with her. I wanted to continue being sarcastic and quick-tongued, believing I was being funny and clever, but she found this grating. So on and so on. I made little compromises (the toilet seat was, is now, and forever shall be in the down position after I am done), but I did not want to change the interior ME. And why should I? I was one of the “nice guys,” and society seemed to back me up. I mean, people never really change, right? And loving someone means accepting him or her as they are, so my wife must have been intolerant for expecting me to change.
At least, that is the lie I bought at first, and that is one reason why the first year or so of our marriage had a lot of downs. In my fight to continue to be me, I had forgotten what love truly means. As we learn in the Theology of the Body, love means desiring and working towards what is good for the other. But my resentment at my wife for expecting me to change blinded me from the truth: she was not asking that I stop being me, only that I become a better me, for the sake of both her and my souls. Once I realized this, I had to seriously ponder and answer the question “What can I change to help her get to Heaven?” The answer was easy to figure out, but will take a lifelong struggle to accomplish. While being able to compromise and adapt to different ways of doing things is important and necessary, I knew that if I truly loved my wife, I needed to work on becoming a more honest, patient, understanding, and forgiving husband. I must continuously remind myself of this but, with God’s grace, I have made strides in these areas, leading to a love for my wife that continuously gets stronger.
We should also apply this philosophy to our relationships with God. He loves us and desires us to love Him as fully as we can. The minute one says, “I love God enough” is the minute that person starts loving Him less. The way we show our love for Him is by trying to become holier, to become the same type of person that will help our spouses and loved ones get to Heaven. This is neither easy nor comfortable, but it leads to great peace and joy, as well as the type of happiness that occurs when you hear your wife say that she can tell how much you love her.
So ask yourself, regardless of whether you are dating, married, or neither, what you can interiorly change to help those you love encounter Christ and lead them to Heaven. And for those in (or hope to be in) a dating relationship, I would like to give some advice. If one is not willing to change while dating, they will not (barring a life-altering event) change when married, and if they are not willing to change, they are not willing to love you to the fullest. In other words, if someone you are dating tells you they will not change, RUN!
This is the type of change that we can really believe in: changing for the sake of love and the salvation of souls.