I think one of the things I hated most about being single, especially after college, was the staggering amount of cliches hurled in my direction at a fairly intense velocity. Of course, in a way, I sought out the cliches since I read Catholic blogs and books on being a Catholic single woman, but did they all have to say the same thing? They all exhorted me to “live your life now” and, “God’s calling you to follow Him now, not just after you meet your future husband.” Ugh. Unfortunately, the worst part about most cliches is that they’re usually correct. God does want you to love Him totally and completely now. Original sin will be there before and after marriage and we always want to be vigilant against that.
Still, telling a person who is craving to meet their soul mate to just distract themselves and keep pursuing the good in the present seems a tad harsh. Desiring to meet the man God has for you seems to me to be a perfectly natural, ordered good. The problem only comes when you let that desire overcome your entire life.
As my husband, John, and I celebrate our one year anniversary, I can’t help but thoroughly praise God for bringing him into my life. John is everything I hoped for, everything I always wanted. In a temporal way, John completes me. We go to Mass together, we pray the rosary together, and we challenge each other. We get into spats, anxieties and sin together, but I love having someone to face all of that icky, ugly stuff with in solidarity. We always eventually come to the conclusion that it’s our purpose to serve God together... sin gets in our way and so, as a couple, we need to fight that with all of our being.
Since I’m a blogger (and a woman), I naturally like lists. Here is a list of the things I wish I’d kept in mind before I met my husband
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you’re into your twenties or thirties (or forties) and have never had a serious boyfriend. A dating history is an incredibly poor indicator of happiness in the future. Hanging out with friends or pursuing a fun hobby is a much more purposeful and excellent way to spend free time than dating a loser who you’d never see yourself marrying. Also, just because you haven’t dated anyone before does NOT mean you are not beautiful, fun, smart and a great catch. Having dated a lot is in no way correlated with your meeting an amazing man and living happily ever after.
- Standing up for what you believe in and what you want from the beginning is a really good idea. Not having sex before marriage, babies after marriage, etc. are good things that should be put on the table and pursued!! Don’t be afraid of the beauty of your faith and the purity of your dreams! Faith and purity are worthy goals to strive for... not aspects about yourself to hide! A good man finds these qualities attractive, so communicating these aspects about yourself helps you find out what kind of guy he really is.
- Know where to draw the line when it comes to unsolicited advice. Only seek advice from those who absolutely want the best for you. Dating is about discerning which man is going to lead you to heaven. Other friends and family will find it extremely easy to cut that down and distract you with shallower concerns. My sister thought John was geeky and some of my girlfriends thought he was awkward. I stressed out about those observations until one day I realized...I love those aspects about him!
- Avoid getting caught up in the 21st century “relationship trends”. By this I mean, worrying about being “Facebook official”, planning your future wedding on Pinterest, or spending a ton of time going out in groups and making everyone think you’re in a great relationship when you might not be. Dating is a time of serious discernment. Focus on the time you’re spending with this man. Do you enjoy the time spent together doing absolutely nothing? Does he make you laugh? Does he encourage you to pursue things that you know to be good (faith, acts of charity, relationships with your family, chastity, etc.)? It does not matter what the rest of the world thinks. You know the difference between right and wrong. You know how to tell when a guy is a good man and when he’s really just a boy. Trust your instincts!
- Spend time around people who help mold you into the person you want to be. Set high goals for yourself. Always be seeking ways to make yourself better, to accomplish things you set your mind to. Yes, dating is fun and it’s always nice to feel desired and wanted... but that’s really not what life is all about. Pray for your future husband (after I had a particularly ugly break up, I prayed that God give me a man like John Walker, the cutest, smartest guy I’d ever met but with whom I was stuck in the “friends zone”. God answered that prayer in the most incredible way!).
- Be wary of the “friendlationship zone”. I think this is one of the trickiest things girls face today when it comes to dating. They’ll start to be friends with a guy, fall for him and then be anxious about why he’s not moving things to the next level. I would say that if a guy has gotten to know you and is still not pursuing a dating relationship with you, it’s completely fair to ask him what his intentions are. You don’t have to reveal that you like him, but it’s unfair for him to drag you along and enjoy your company and send mixed messages about his feelings for you. A man who wants to pursue a relationship with you generally will without too much help!
Please pray for me, as I will for sure pray for you!
Truth and Charity, so go check her out!
Mary and Liesl met through a mutual friend and are lucky enough to be friends in real, real life! They share a love of Yellowcard and Switchfoot, cooking, writing lists that end up being normal numbers (like five, not the above six), and lighting candles (which was discovered as they were the candle-lighters in said mutual friend's wedding!).