A friend of mine sent me a link to this very interesting article, "Why It Doesn't Matter How You Feel about your Friends". The title refers to the fact that warm and fuzzy feelings in a relationship mean nothing if not backed up by something more than that.
It doesn’t matter how you feel in your heart about your friends—what matters is showing those feelings through words and actions.
This ties in to what I have written before, regarding the difference between Intimacy and Friendship.
I eventually saw [what] was the most important element of the love of friends - sacrifice.
In other words ...
We may know our co-worker in the next cubicle "intimately", better than we know our children, but we may have no concern for him or her in the slightest. We may know (in the biblical sense) the girl we're sleeping with this month, with whom we're sharing physical "intimacy", but we certainly don't want her staying until morning. We may enter into an artificial or contrived "intimacy" with fellow actors or poets in rehearsal therapy sessions, or with fellow super-Catholics or lit majors who share our religious delights, but if we really don't give a crap about the other - well, then, it's just not friendship, and it's just not love.
I have had friends I thought I was quite close with simply vanish not only when things got tough, but simply when things got inconvenient, not wanting to put themselves out in the slightest or alter pre-made arrangements that were entirely to their own advantage, even to work in a friendly visit or something similarly innocuous. Once I flew all the way to Seattle on business (as far from St. Louis as you can go and still be in the lower 48), and tried to meet up with a friend who was a former actress, but even though I had traveled 2,000 miles, she wasn't willing to come five or ten miles out of her neighborhood to meet me for lunch. She wanted me to come all the way to her. Once I was in New Jersey with my family when the kids were little, and my friend in Manhattan that I was trying to visit wouldn't meet us anywhere, but wanted us to take the train and the subway and walk several blocks to his place. Clearly, these were not good friends. In fact, they were not friends at all.
And I imagine similar things have happened to you, because friendship today, like romantic love, is undervalued and desecrated. It's one thing for Job's friends to leave him when he loses everything, gets covered with sores and sits around wailing and crying all day. It's another thing for them to abandon him because he no longer gets anything but basic cable. And yet many so-called "friendships" crumble for just that type of inconvenience.
Many "friendships" are simply mutually selfish arrangements. True friendship is always self-giving, self-sacrificing, always willing to suffer - or at least be inconvenienced - for the sake of the other.
And this, my dear miserable and lonely single Catholic readers, is really what it all comes down to. Don't fret about finding a mate that you're compatible with, for, as G. K. Chesterton said, "I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one." Men and women are basically incompatible to begin with. Don't look for a mate who sweeps you up into the "longings aroused" of sexual desire masquerading as spiritual reality, for sex with the same person for the rest of your life is hardly a religious experience, trust me (my wife would tell you the same thing). And don't worry about finding the perfect match or the perfect catholicmatch.com.
Instead, find a spouse who is willing to die for you. And then you be willing to die for your spouse.
For marriage, like friendship, is based on being there through thick and then, when the chips are down, when the mortgage is overdue, when the kids are screaming, when one of you is sick and dying, when the dreams become nightmares, when you can't stand each other. Mushy feelings and "intimacy" mean absolutely nothing if the friendship is false, if the love is absent, if the cross is not present.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Eph. 5:32-33)