It Is Not Good for Man to Be Alone

Our latest "Single Life" column, from a Catholic guy's perspective.

Single guys today do not dwell on or fret about our singleness. We have no biological clock ticking away our fertility. We are more naturally disposed to resist commitment and to remain stags, free to roam, than the wonderful and mysterious creatures known as women.

The nearest thing we have to a sense of commitment urgency happens when (if) we realize that we want to get married while we still have youthful energy to enjoy married life and the flexibility to roughhouse with kids without wrenching something.

Often, that’s not enough to overcome the inertia of the single life and its conveniences.

Let’s face it: Being a guy at liberty in your mid-30s can be fun. Set your own schedule; spend your money as you see fit; indulge slightly irresponsible hobbies; eat unhealthy food; have another beer; and avoid going to the dentist. All without anyone nagging you to shape up and come home.

But while it can be fun, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy, and there always remains a restlessness.

St. Augustine prayed, "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."

More deeply, you need someone whom you can let inside. Not just a professional in a well-appointed office whom you pay to ask uncomfortable questions, but someone whom you trust to be gentle with the most delicate parts of your heart; someone who can help you really heal and grow, to really know God better. Someone with beautiful eyes, a captivating gaze and that certain sense that disarms your carefully crafted defenses and loves you to God.

In other words: "It is not good for man to be alone."

Surely the Creator was on to something when he uttered these words just before fashioning Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.

This is the first time God declares something "not good." God declared all of creation "good," "good," "good," and finally "very good." But he draws the line here. Even before Original Sin enters, God tells us, "It is not good for man to be alone."

It is "not good" for man to fly solo. "Not good" for man to forsake community. "Not good" for man to go it alone.

Man, to be fully who he is meant to be, must find himself in others, and especially in another, so he might come to know the Other: God.

In the short term for us single guys, that means being as present and accessible as is prudent to roommates, family and friends. Help with moving, fixing, watching the kids, whatever. Get involved in others’ lives, giving of yourself, so you might not forget how to give.

But it means much more in the long term: remaining open and bold in pursuit of God’s will. Is marriage your vocation? If so, is she in your life already? If she possibly is, pursue her — you won’t know until you overcome your inertia, set aside your issues and pursue her.

For some, the call is not to a flesh-and-blood bride, but to the bride of Christ, the Church, as a priest or religious brother. Strange as it may seem, a priest fully living his single, celibate priesthood, truly father to all in his care, is among the least "alone" men on earth.

Whatever the call — and you may not know finally until the vows are exchanged or the bishop’s hands are laid on your head during ordination — the call doesn’t go away just because you ignore it or time passes. That which God declares "not good" remains "not good."

It is for us to pursue the good, the only full way to pursue God.

Tom Crowe is the Web content editor at Franciscan University of Steubenville,

a former seminarian and a contributor at Follow him on Twitter @TomCrowe.