This is the first review in my Summer Reading 2013 series. It’s a review/reflection on “How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul” by Jason and Crystalina Evert.
If you’re a Catholic girl or young woman you’ve probably sat through at least one awkward chastity talk. It might have been in CCD class, at youth group, in your catholic high school, or with your mom. At the very least you’re most likely familiar with the rigid idea of abstinence. You’ve heard it before: you shouldn’t do that before marriage, you have to be pure, you can’t do that, you have to do this.
But why? Why is chastity so darn important?
One word: love.
This is the main question Jason and Crystalina Evert deal with in their book How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul. This husband and wife team make a lot of good points about waiting for marriage, treating yourself right and being the woman God wants you to be. This book can be powerful if you let it.
Love is something we often don’t truly understand. But it’s a choice, something we decide to do. Every day we make choices: some are loving and some aren’t. Some show a love of ourselves but a contempt for others. Some show love for others but a contempt for ourselves. True chastity is a way of loving others and loving ourselves.
So, who does chastity love?
1) Ourselves. The truth is that hooking up, shacking up, or simply being nothing but physical are not good for us. As women we want to be shown love. I know this is true of myself beyond a doubt. But we often look for it in the wrong places or are willing to sacrifice anything for it. So, we give men what they want in the hopes they will give us what we want. The truth is though, that many men who get what they want don’t see the reason to give the woman what she wants. After all, if he’s getting “the one thing on his mind” why would he bother caring what we want? Why would he consider marrying us if he’s already getting his physical “needs” met without a commitment? We’re just a tool. And as soon as something better comes along he’ll have no issues with dumping you like a hot potato.
2) Your boyfriend. Yes, not giving somebody everything they may want can actually be very good for them. We need to teach men that they can’t expect to get everything they want. The lesson starts when we say “no”. This not only shows that we respect ourselves and our body but that we respect him. You can protect him from himself by refusing to go there. Don’t tempt him, but rather make him a better person. (By the way, if he refuses to live according to your standards you need to dump him like a hot potato.)
3) Your future husband. Someday, you might very well get married. If you’re actively dating, odds are marriage is something you want. When you find that perfect guy do you want to have to admit to him the mistakes you’ve made? Do you want to be comparing him to your former loves? Save something special for that special someone. Even if you’ve made mistakes in the past you can start over today and give your future husband every day between now and your wedding day.
Being chaste means that you have higher standards, that you respect your worth, that you recognize that your body is not meant for any guy to have and hold but that it and you are meant to give yourself only to the man you marry.
Soulmate is about a lot more than just chastity, however. It’s about respecting yourself as a woman and recognizing your dignity and beauty. It’s about being strong, having high standards, and trusting that God has someone very special in store for you.
One way to live these things out is to set guidelines. Make it clear to you and your boyfriend that there are certain things you just won’t do. Respect him too, and don’t force him to do anything he’s uncomfortable with. Another way you can set guidelines is discussed in the book. Crystalina recommends praying for your future husband, even though you may not have met him yet. She also talks about how she made a list of attributes she wanted her husband to have. A short while later she met Jason who embodied so many of her hopes and dreams for her perfect man.
As soon as I came to that part in the book, I took out a notebook and started to make my own list. For each woman, this list will be slightly different. We are all different and we work and get along well with different kinds of people. Here are just a few things from my list to get you thinking:
6) is a leader
16) he loves kids
29) is stereotypical chivalrous: opens doors etc.
I challenge you to make your own list. Trust that God will lead you to the life you’re meant to have. Trust that you don’t need to give yourself away or degrade your worth to receive love. Trust that chastity is love and that any man who doesn’t recognize that is not worth your love or your time. One chapter of Soulmate is called “Break Up, Even if He Smells Good” let me just echo the advice: if he doesn’t respect you, if he refuses to accept your “no”, if he doesn’t meet up to your standards of what a good husband should be then break up. Now.
It took me longer than I would have like to finish How to Find Your Soulmate but as I turned the last page I wanted more. For me, this was a very personal book. And I know it’s a book I haven’t fully absorbed. I borrowed this book from my friend Laura (she blogs over at My Drop in The Ocean) so I might just have to get my own copy to go through, highlight, and open up whenever I need a dose of encouragement.
Any young woman out there: get this book. I don’t care if you live a chaste life and don’t feel any of this applies to you. This book will remind you why you should be chaste and hopefully renew you for what’s ahead.
If you’d like to get your own copy, and I encourage any young woman out there to do so, you can find it here on Amazon or get it through their website. If you order through the last link you can the book for as low as $2 when you buy in bulk!
Remember, you are worth more. Act like it.
Keep your head high and your standards higher.