Yesterday, Ted and I set an appointment to speak with each other. Yes, it’s gotten that extreme. With a husband who travels frequently, spends the majority of his day on conference calls, and whose voicemail is always full, it can sometimes be hard to get a little face time with the one you love. I know he is doing this job for us, and I am grateful, but sometimes I need more. I know many married ladies can relate – they often feel like single moms. Also, as an extremely needy person, I can place unrealistic expectations on my husband and the limits of his support (i.e., willingness to listen to me whine about my latest problem). Enter Boyfriend Jesus.
Boyfriend Jesus is always happy to listen to me. His voicemail is never full – in fact, my calls go straight through. He’ll watch The Crown with me. He will always give me a rose. He understands my problems, but he doesn’t let me get away with self-pity or cattiness. He urges me to pray for the people who upset me. And he thinks I look great in my jeans or a bathing suit – after all his dad made me. Every time I am tempted to complain about my husband’s schedule or lack of presence, I always try to turn to Boyfriend Jesus and it helps. I don’t feel alone or abandoned, I don’t feel despair or anxiety. In fact, when I do this, I feel heard and comforted.
I didn’t realize that Boyfriend Jesus was controversial. In the Protestant world, there is a big debate going on between the young women who view themselves as the betrothed of Jesus while waiting for their spouse (I guess they ghost him after marriage) and those who are adamant that “Jesus is NOT your boyfriend.” I understand the arguments on both sides, but personally, I think they miss the main point. This is where it is helpful to be Catholic.
We are not talking about Jesus as an actual spouse replacement – that would be icky. The Catholic Catechism states: “CCC 796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride.” Also, many saints, male and female, have spoken of Christ in spouse-like terms. Perhaps the best-known is Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine of Siena. She even had a mystical marriage with Jesus. Well-respected in her time and politically influential, St. Catherine was an unusual woman for any age. Just don’t Google anything about her wedding ring. Remember it was the 1300s. She also clarified about the two realms we should be working in: “Make two homes for thyself, my daughter. One actual home . . . and the other a spiritual home which thou are to carry with thee always.” Just so you know, my spiritual home has awesome new floors, a soaking tub, and a new kitchen.
To me, this is the main point about Boyfriend Jesus: he keeps our attention where it should be, on our spiritual home in heaven. Women can be so focused on boyfriends, getting a spouse, or “improving” a spouse that they can turn the idea into an idol. I don’t think it’s so much that we have problems with seeing Jesus as our boyfriend as that we expect the men in our life to be gods. They are human and struggling, too. If you want true fulfillment, you should be turning to Jesus, not the guy snoring next to you. That is too much on any human.
As for guys, I suppose they could pray to “Bro Jesus” or maybe ask for the intercession of Mary Magdalene. She seems like she would be fun, a man’s woman, as they say. I bet she would love to watch the Mecum car auctions, NBA play offs, or golf. (Note to Ted: she also really likes those blue shorts, and thinks they go with everything, too).
When it comes to relationships, keep perspective. Put the one that matters the most, first. We all need connection, but only connection with God can transcend this life. He will never break up with you.