I once read somewhere that if you're looking for the perfect man to fulfill your dreams, become the woman you would marry if you were a man. I thought this message was right on target and so clear that it got me to start working on my self-image and take my mind off what I expected from a man. Point was that by appreciating a man for what he is, while still being true to yourself, you will learn what love is, and that this process will help you get past your differences. This advice was perfect for me and led me on a journey of becoming a better version of myself with all my relationships. Like I did, you too might discover, through practicing this method, that you still have fundamental self, the true you, that you co-created from a deeper truth, even in the event of a broken relationship; and that's because you haven't invested all of your time in just trying to please your spouse or partner.
Most of us have some idea of what we want in life that keeps us striving toward that goal. Mine became clearer after a tragedy in my life. My heartfelt dream was to be a homemaker, wife, and mother again. Your senses may be flooded with a different longing than mine, perhaps a calling to a certain career or professional trade, one that deeply fulfills you. This journey will nourish the deepest part of you, making you the best version of yourself, living a life you were meant to live, and in which you will be your happiest.
To become the person you'd want to marry, you first have to decide what you want in this relationship and start from here. I knew exactly what I wanted in my life, but I didn't know how to achieve it until I read that wonderful essay that charted the plan and light my course. This wasn't always easy to stick with at times, but I believed in it. And I'm so glad that I persevered because it worked wonders for me, and I believe it'll work for your relationships, too.
Imagining who I'd want to marry if I were a man was the easy part. I would want someone who enjoyed being a homemaker and who was nurturing; someone who would ensure that our children were well taken care of and properly educated so I could focus on working to provide for the family's needs. I would want a woman who was interested in planning family meals to be shared together and keeping the house in order. She would also be a devoted daughter and sister, one who honored and served both our families. She would be joyful about sharing her faith and life experiences, and exemplifying gratitude, especially to our children. She would be my helpmate and partner and show appreciation for her starring role in our family. She would respect my income but also share with those who were in need. And she would give of herself and her talents both to our children and to others who needed her, visiting the sick and helping the needy. All of these things would help our family to grow in love, while enhancing my job success.
I know this is a lot of responsibility that usually goes unnoticed. But remember, you get to choose your own role here. And it's the job that you choose. For me, these family responsibilities are just like those of any other job that demands our attention and service. I saw those same kinds of demands in my husband's career. And our roles grew to complement each other. My husband's position requires 100 percent of his time and frequent travel; meanwhile, I'm free to continue investing time in the people in our lives. His busyness reminds me to be happy with the commitment I made a long time ago. I might still have some ups and downs, just like everyone else, but I am more deeply committed than ever through perseverance and understanding our differences. Through grace, I'm living the life I always longed for.
For many of us, day to day family life can be a constant struggle. We might forget about gratitude and instead look for another's appreciation or a change in their behavior to make us happier. Or we may begin to feel invisible or taken for granted by those closest to us. When these doubts surface, remember the life that you've dreamed of and stay true to yourself. Then you'll be comforted in seeing the difference you've made and how you've brought love and happiness to others by the choices you've made, inspired by God, who put that longing in your heart in the first place.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's
works graced locations from churches to public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures and inspirational books, including A Course in Miracles and the works of Marianne Williamson among many others. The mother of two children and a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom.