The Downside of Being Holy

Credit: Creative Commons

Living a life fully devoted to God is difficult. In a previous post, I mentioned that, since I had nowhere else to go, I decided to step it up a few notches from being a lukewarm pew-warmer to someone who totally surrendered himself to God (Revelation 3:16).

I have also written about my Josephite marriage with my wife. Basically we are friendly roommates who are raising our two kids together — nothing more. I met with my therapist this past weekend, and I told her that I came across this phrase on a Catholic radio program. Trying to justify the reason that my wife and I have been celibate for nearly five years, I told my therapist that my wife and I have this Josephite kind of marriage — end of discussion.

I even told my therapist that I was okay with this type of arrangement. Actually… I’m not sure if I am; that’s just what I tell myself in order to try and overcome the frustration and emptiness. Five years is a long time. Since it was basically my wife’s decision (a Josephite marriage needs to be mutual), I just got plain worn out and tired of harping on the subject of sex with my wife. I really would like to think that it is God’s will, and I pray and cry out to Him all the time to show me, but the only response I get is… nothing. Just continued abstinence.

My previous therapist used to spend half of each session drilling it into my head that we were not normal, and he actually gave me homework: to have sex with my wife and report back to him about it. I soon left him and found another therapist that I felt more comfortable with and who didn’t keep pressing the issue. However, my new therapist does say that it’s not normal. Duh. I already knew that. I’ve tried everything: talking with my wife, asking her if there’s something about me she doesn’t like, asking if there’s something about her that she doesn’t like, telling her that we are not being a normal married couple, etc. It is to no avail.

So, I chalk it up to being God’s will. I have thought about being a priest since I love my faith and I love helping people, but (another duh), I’m married. Unless my wife passes away or we become divorced, it ain’t gonna happen.

I get extremely guilty when the thought crosses my mind of her dying early. Sometimes I have thought about our getting a divorce, but I couldn’t live without seeing my kids every day; plus, I can’t bear the thought of another man raising my kids. Yes, they will always be my kids, as my therapist says, but it wouldn’t be the same.

Well, it looks like you’re stuck, Topaz.

By the grace and power of God, I have overcome pornography and masturbation and no longer have any inclination for either. However, lust and impure thoughts constantly haunt me. Most of the time I don’t allow myself to dwell on these, but sometimes I do.

The bottom line is that I’m lonely. I live with a slim, attractive woman and I literally can’t touch her. It’s torture. I see women at church and long for a marriage with a good, faithful Catholic to share my life with. I see images on Facebook and other sites of a man and woman holding hands or hugging, and my heart aches so much. Oh, how I desire affection and intimacy.

I used to fall asleep at night imagining my soul mate curled up next to me. All that did was incite temptation, though. Now, I imagine the Blessed Virgin Mary, my mother in the order of grace, sitting in a chair beside my bed, her arm around my shoulders, whispering to me that everything will be all right. It always helps me drift off to sleep.

I’ve been a Catholic for three years, but I’ve only been a faithful, practicing one for the past 12 months. Since my mindset has become more in line with God’s, I no longer look at a woman’s chest, backside, or legs. Instead, I notice qualities like hairstyle, personality, and a sincere smile, and it makes my heart race just as quickly. My point is that I’m still struggling; it’s just in a different, non-sinful (?) way.

I refuse to give in to impurity. God has taught me how to channel my stubbornness into my battle with spiritual darkness. Instead of taking cold showers when I’m hit with lust — because that would be a lot of showering — I literally brace myself and pray until my hormones die down.

Some Christian leaders say that the only way to overcome pornography and masturbation is to get an accountability partner. I think that is very wise. However, I overcame by my sheer hatred of always sliding down the mountain after nearly reaching the top every time. I was sick and tired of not growing in Christ. I longed for a better life, one that I read about in the Bible over and over again but just couldn’t believe was possible for me. I’m not saying my “do it alone” method will work for everyone, but it did for me.

I would never consider infidelity. I love God too much and am faithful to my marriage vows. Maybe God is preparing me for the priesthood down the road. I’m in no way saying that I’m a saint, but maybe my celibate marriage will help me focus more on God and His will for my life. I will keep praying that He continues to unfold His plan for me. I guess I’m on a need-to-know basis with the Almighty. It sure would be nice to know, though.


About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

13 responses to “The Downside of Being Holy

  • Jolene

    I admire your strength!!! I don’t know how I would be able to be in a marriage that lacks affection and making love…….it would totally drive me crazy and ohhh so moody!!

    • Topaz

      Thank you, Jolene! To be honest, I’m not sure how I’m able to cope. All I know is without God, I would be a basket case and a cheating jerk.

      If you could say a prayer or send some positive vibes my way, I would appreciate it. Some days I can handle the marriage situation with no problem, but other days, like today, it gnaws away at me.

      At first, I thought I was being too open in my post. But maybe it will help someone. I dunno.

      • Jolene

        From what I have realized from writing the letter to my 20something self and the follow -up to that people/bloggers want that…..being open about ones situation will touch people. I feared that my post was too raw or too personal but all I got was very positive feed back and it made me feel that I made the right choice!!

  • Topaz

    Aww, I appreciate the encouragement. Just to make sure I didn’t miss your posts, I’m going to go back and read them. Thank you for being an awesome blog friend!

  • Pilgrim Jet

    Hi Topaz! 🙂

    Praise God, we’re back! Thanks for including us in your prayers!

    Anyway, another very insightful post! I especially love the last part!

    “I would never consider infidelity. I love God too much and am faithful to my marriage vows. Maybe God is preparing me for the priesthood down the road. I’m in no way saying that I’m a saint, but maybe my celibate marriage will help me focus more on God and His will for my life. I will keep praying that He continues to unfold His plan for me. I guess I’m on a need-to-know basis with the Almighty. It sure would be nice to know, though.”

    Let me just say that, you are definitely on the right track. And you are not alone. Our Blessed Mother will gladly guide you, comfort you and be with you at all times, especially when things get really rough. Plus your guardian angel who is always willing to help you in whatever way he can. And us, your friends and family in Christ who will pray for you unceasingly.

    Even though other people think that Josephite marriage is “not normal”, I feel deep in my heart that it’s the most sincere and selfless act of love for God or should I say, for the Holy Trinity. To tell you honestly, I still cannot express it in words, but I feel that there is beauty, hope and love behind how your marriage turned out to be. Kimberly Hahn came around after 4 yrs if I’m not mistaken. And you’re actual journey has just started 12 months ago, right? I think, in God’s time, we will see and you will know. But for sure, you are earning lots of points in Heaven!hehe Let’s try to continue doing so!

    I’m sure if you continue to have faith,to be open to God, and to just move on and strive for holiness, God will let you see things clearer. That’s what I also TRY to do, and yes, you just said it right, it’s an everyday struggle. I always find life an everyday STRUGGLE, towards holiness (our call). But what really matters is that, we struggle.

    Your (younger) sis hehehe,

    • Topaz

      Thank you, Jet! It’s always a joy to hear your encouraging comments. I’m glad you made it back home safely!

      You’re right: I didn’t really start striving for holiness until about 12 months ago. I mean, I was involved with the Knights and volunteered in my parish, but last summer was my big wake-up call.

      Actually, I’d like to write a post about some things that happened last summer to trigger my downward spiral into hopelessness and despair.

      Keep striving for holiness! You’re in my prayers!

  • Pilgrim Jet

    and oh by the way, before I forget to mention, why you are able to stay in a Josephite marriage? It’s by the GRACE OF GOD. 😀 He’s grace is enough for us! Amen! I’m sure my guardian angel would agree with me… *chuckles*

    • Topaz

      Oh, wow. I think you nailed it. A few years ago, it would have been impossible for me to accept this situation and offer it up to God.

      By the way, I’m really excited to read more of your blog posts! 😉

  • Anna Taylor

    I commend you on your honesty. I feel opening up as you have will most definitely help others. Keep up the excellent writing, friend! You are in my prayers! 🙂

  • kidprepjay

    I thought this was a very informative post. It’s informed me on how much of a pure heart you really want – and how you really want to please your God. That’s certainly admirable, and very very respectable.

    I’m not married myself, but I don’t know how you cope without affection and love-making (and done so for years, at that), but you never know. Maybe God is in fact preparing you for priesthood. Never give up Topaz.

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