Thank you for your question regarding the challenges of finding a good man and my opinion on Catholic singles sites. First of all, I believe Steve Wood has an excellent resource for you, entitled, ABCs of Finding a Good Husband. And for you guys out there reading this he has a second book now in print, entitled, ABCs of Finding a Good Wife. I’ve read the first and it’s full of many great insights into finding and preparing for marriage with the right man.
Steve Wood also addresses the Catholic singles sites in his book. From what I have read and heard I believe this is certainly a valid way for a single person to try to meet someone. Be aware that there is no perfect site – and anyone can play fraud at any time. But I believe the Catholic sites (Ave Maria and St. Raphael) have good reputations. Because their profiles highlight Catholic issues (fidelity to the Church, views on contraception, understanding of the sacraments, etc.) it seems that there is a good chance of screening out the frauds.
Bear in mind that there can be men and women who go onto the site who are not necessarily looking for a committed relationship. It can be disappointing to think you’ve found someone with whom you connect and discover that he or she isn’t serious. Or perhaps there is an intellectual connection, but when you finally arrange meeting there is no “chemistry” there. (Be sure that “chemistry” truly is an important part of a marital relationship – if it isn’t there, move on.) Be prepared to go through some emotional ups and down along the way.
I believe one must enter the Catholic singles site with a certain amount of reserve. Do not place all your hopes into it, but at the same time remain open to what God may have in store for you there. Be honest in your own profile. Pray for discernment.
At the end of the day it all boils down to trust. Do we trust God to bring into our lives the right person at the right time, according to His will? Trusting is a very tough thing to do at times. It is a virtue – based on faith and hope! But like all virtues, trust in God is strengthened when it is tested. The bottom line is that we must believe that God has a perfect plan for our lives. Even though we cannot see the way through the darkness, He does. He will lead us where we need to go if we let Him.
It is very hard to wait for that right someone to come into your life when you have discerned that you are called to marriage and yet God has not revealed to you the person He has chosen for you. I can not promise the way will be easy. “The Way” He walked was not at all easy, either! We have to pick up our crosses each day and follow Him, in faith!
I’d like to share with you about three different situations of women who had discerned a call to marriage.
One of these women felt the desire her whole life to get married and have children. She was certain that this was God’s will for her. But as the years went on, no one was coming into her life. There were many difficult times for her, questioning and wondering if God was listening to her prayers. This woman is now in her early forties and still single. Yet the beauty of this story is that she did not give into a despair that caused her to ever lose her faith in God. In fact, she has blessed the Church, the community and her family with her many talents so generously shared. She has devoted her time and energy to serving God by serving the people around her. Will she ever marry? Perhaps, someday. Whether she does or not, I believe at the end of her life God will say to her, “Well done, my good and faithful servant . . . come enter into your reward!” Because she has saved herself entirely, remaining pure for Jesus through the years of waiting, I know her reward will be great in heaven.
Another woman I know had also discerned a call to marriage. The years when by as she devoted herself to the caring of her sick and dying mother. Finally after her mother had passed on, this woman was left alone. In her late thirties by this time she had sacrificed her younger years – when it might have been easier to find a husband – to serving the Lord as she had tended her mother. But she did not give into despair or regret. God in His goodness sent her an amazing man and they married when she was in her early fifties. They spent almost ten years together before he died of cancer. Though it was painful for her to be on her own again she has often said that the love which she experienced in that marriage was worth all of the suffering, the loneliness and the waiting that she had gone through.
Another woman that I know of had also discerned a call to marriage when she was younger. The years went by and still no man came into her life. She did not give into despair. She held on and lived each day to the full. Finally, at forty, she married the man of her dreams. Over the course of the next several years of her life God blessed her and her husband with seven beautiful children! With God nothing is impossible!
You ask if I believe that there are any good and holy Catholic men out there. You bet I do! Some have come from great families and have led pure and holy lives. Some have come into conversions in their teens, twenties or later and now lead inspiring holy and pure lives. Some are yet to be converted! Often it is the love a good woman that will bring them to that point – but in all cases, it is God’s grace that leads them home!
I am a woman of hope. I believe that God has a perfect plan for each of our lives. I also believe God is in control. No matter how gloomy the situation may appear – God is always watching over us.
When it comes to discerning a vocation it must be done with a great deal of prayer. We have to remain open to God’s will. Though we may think we have discerned God’s call, we may later find out we were wrong. When the dust all settles, we often see that things work out for the best when we let them. Even when we don’t get what we think we want or need, we often find what God had planned for us was even better.
I do hope for you, Maria, that you will find peace with God’s plan for your life. I know that the wait can be long and hard, but remain open through it all for whatever God has in store for you. Trust that if you are praying and honestly seeking to do God’s will, He will be faithful in meeting your heart’s desire. And until the time that He sends someone into your life, be sure that you keep your heart focused on His love. Whether you are married or single, Jesus has to be your number one. When this happens, all the rest just falls into place.
Finally I advice that you ask St. Joseph, patron saint of husbands and fathers, to intercede for you. Ask St. Joseph to open your future spouse’s heart to know you. Ask St. Joseph to preserve your future spouse in purity. St. Joseph is a powerful saint, who faithfully intercedes for our intentions.
We remember all our readers in our prayers each day. We ask that you will remember me, my family and this ministry of promoting chastity and courtship in your prayers as well.
In His Most Holy Name,