2012 Third Place Winner

Name: Kierstan Thomas
Age: 16
School: Nazareth Academy High School, Philadelphia, PA

Letters to My Future Husband

            A geek, a nerd, a bookworm; that’s all I was. Looking back on my Middle School and Jr. High years, I often kept to myself and never bothered anyone; boys were certainly out of the question. They always seemed like a foreign species to me. I would often listen to my friends describe their boyfriends; what he got her, how many times they kissed, or even had sex. I was confused; why was this not happening to me? It seemed as if only the extroverted girls had boys around them. Naturally I felt left out, as if something was wrong with me. The other girls had something I wanted: a boyfriend. Someone who was more than just a friend, or even a best friend; someone who could love me in a way my friends and family couldn’t.

            As I grew up, I saw more and more of my friends being taken by boys, only to have their hearts broken and smashed. I didn’t understand; they started with what they thought they wanted, yet ended up broken in the end. Now, I attend an all-girl’s, Catholic high school and I still see the same occurrence after several years. Girls and boys still “hook up”, express their “love” for another, yet in the end someone is still left broken and empty. I believed, “If this is what love truly is, then I want no part in it.” It wasn’t until I took the Theology of the Body course, that I realized not only did I have it terribly wrong, but so did the majority of the society I grew up in.

            I used to see boys as heartbreakers - cold and callous. They only lured girls with their “love” and gifts until they got what they wanted in the end. Society teaches us that anything goes. If your best friend has a boy you like, take him. Don’t wait until marriage to have sex. Everyone’s doing it, and you don’t want to be the prude, do you? It seemed nearly impossible for me to find someone to rightly love me. I didn’t want to end up like my friends; I didn’t want to give myself to someone only to feel discarded. In my Theology of the Body course, I realized that it wasn’t just boys using girls; we use each other. Our world is filled with lust and we see it every day. Pornography, for example, is very prevalent in our society. It offers a distorted view of women and men, and because of this we become disappointed when our partner is so unlike those in the pictures.

            We live in a world full of “subjective truth.” Our society tries to make us believe in the world that they desire it to be, even if that world isn’t morally true. Chastity is treated as if it were a practice long past its prime. The problem is that we are giving others a part of us that is not made for them, at least not yet. When we have sex with someone, our body makes a promise; it says, “I am giving myself to you, and only you.” When we freely use another, we break this promise and the gift of intercourse is distorted. We think that this subjective illusion is what love is, but this is not what God envisioned for us.

            My friend Mary* will always be a reminder of this to me. Mary had a boyfriend named John.* She would come every day to lunch gushing about how much she loved him and vice versa. One day, she told us how John wanted to take their relationship to the next level; to show her how much he truly loved her. Mary had expressed some apprehension over this, as would any young girl. When she asked for my advice, I wasn’t sure what to tell her; I was jealous of her actually. Why was it that she had all these boys fawning over her, yet I didn’t even have one? Regardless, I told her that I wasn’t sure that this was the right decision. I told her that if John really wanted to show his love, he didn’t need to have sex with her; there were numerous other romantic ways to do so. She scoffed at me and said that since I’d never had a boyfriend, I didn’t know what I was saying and to stop being so prudish.

            About a week later I received a call from a sobbing Mary. It turned out that she and John did have sex that night, and a couple times thereafter. However, it turned out that John “didn’t feel the same as her” and “decided it was best if they cut their losses and went their separate ways.” Mary confessed to me that she had been a virgin before John and wanted to show him that she was willing to give up anything for him.  For as long as I live, I will never forget when she said in a hollow, broken voice, “I feel as if I was only used for sex and it hurts a lot.” I didn’t want to believe that this was what was in store for me. If this was just the dating life, then what of marriage; is that just a lie, too? We’re constantly surrounded by our fifty percent divorce rate, but I wanted more than that.

            As we continued through the Theology of the Body course, I learned that our “vision of love” is false. God created man and woman for a reason. We are both the same, yet different; we were made to complement each other. My teacher once told us about her two friends who were getting married soon. The bride as, a young teenager, had a hard time avoiding society’s call for sexual action. To help herself fight the temptation, she wrote letters to her Future Husband. Almost every day she wrote to him expressing her love and that she couldn’t wait to meet him. Even though she didn’t know him yet, it helped her overcome the temptation. It was comforting to know that a man somewhere was waiting for her to be his bride; the person he would dedicate the rest of his life to.
            When she finally met her fiancé, she decided that, on her wedding night, she was going to give him those letters. Realizing this was a beautiful idea, I began writing letters to my future husband as well. I realized that saving myself for him was the greatest sign of love I could give. In this world, we all yearn for love, yet we look in the wrong places for it. Society has distorted our view of love and the opposite sex, so it’s up to us to discern. When we date, we should be looking for a potential spouse; we can’t let lust or superficial infatuation cloud that. With the help of my Theology of the Body course, I realized that God has a bigger plan for me, and I can’t wait to discover it.
If we continue to objectify others and follow the road society is leading us on, then we will become and remain broken. We won’t know what it’s like to love or be loved… We are not objects to be simply used and discarded. We are children of God who are loved and in turn deserved to be loved. This course has helped me realize that there is actually a personality in a guy, and that with him I can fulfill the wonderful sacrament of marriage.

            In a society in which egocentricity, self-gratification, narcissism, and selfishness are glorified, it has become more and more difficult to establish good relationships of any kind. People want desperately to find closeness and warmth, but they have forgotten the art of sharing, communicating, cooperating, and adjusting. They have forgotten that lasting relationships require patience and forbearance.  A good marriage, therefore, is an intimate and loving relationship which gives both partners security, friendship, support, and a deep love that penetrates every aspect of life. I have realized that relationships are more than sex, and that marriage is more than that “special day”; it is a life time of sacrifice, love, and forgiveness.

            Despite what I have learned from people around me, I look forward to the gift of marriage. Theology of the Body has turned my entire whole world upside down, but it was for the better.  I still look forward to the day that I meet the person that God has created for me and only me. Until then, I’m still writing letters to my Future Husband in deep faith he appreciates my devoted love for him.

*Names changed to protect privacy.