If you are reading this blog post it is likely because you are looking for a spouse. Looking for a spouse — especially a Catholic one — can be made easier by dating websites such as CatholicSingles.com. Hopefully this post will give you some things to think about as you consider looking for a spouse.
So how should you pray, and what should you pray about, when looking for a spouse?
What qualities should you pray for?
One of the most powerful scripture verses that can guide Catholic singles when looking for a spouse is to pray about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
This scripture is a guidepost from the Lord about who He wants for you. No wonder it is one of the most used scriptures during wedding ceremonies.
Spend some time meditating on this passage. When you see the individual who personifies how Love is described in this passage, then you will know that you have found the right person.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Specific
The incredibly inspiring story of Immaculee Ilibagiza, in “Left To Tell” shows the power of prayer. It also teaches us how to pray. In the book Immaculee prays for her future spouse and describes what she prays for with very exact specifications—and the Lord delivers.
The Lord wants clear instructions. Try it and get ready to be amazed at how the Lord answers your prayers, and even adds more than you could have imagined.
Ask what does the Lord want for you
Of course this means you have to be open to seeing life through the Lord’s eyes and not your own.
“For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
One thing I have learned is that the Lord knows what we desire in our hearts. But He also knows what is best for us, which may not always be what we desire.
We need to discover for ourselves what it is that the Lord wants for us, and who we are. It is only when we discover our own authentic selves can we figure out who will be a good future spouse.
Let Go of the Expectation of Passion
“We become what we love. Who we love shapes who we become.” – St. Clare of Assisi
Now of course passion is important and hopefully there is an attraction between spouses that is more than just fleeting. But passion often dissipates quickly and people may mistake passion for love.
Oftentimes our desires cloud our best judgment and make us unable to hear the Lord speak to us clearly. Our own desires may get in the way of what the Lord wants to give to us.
A perfect example of this is beautifully articulated in the trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter. It is the Pulitzer Prize winning historical narrative written by Sigrid Undset. Though the story may be more of a female genre, I would encourage those who are looking for spouses to not pass this book by. It clearly shows how avoiding prayer when discerning relationships and placing all hope in one’s desires and passions can have very long-term and negative consequences.
Of course the Lord can make things beautiful in the end, but the road will likely be challenging, and not always filled with joy.
But Also, Don’t Be Selfish
This is similar to letting go of passion, but it is a separate challenge. The items I have already listed are focused on self -self through the lens of the Lord’s eyes.
However, too much focus on self makes us lose sight of the bigger picture. The goal is to build up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. If this is the goal, then our personal desires are so much smaller than this bigger goal.
Focus on the bigger picture. View the world from the eyes not only of the Lord but through other’s eyes. You may be surprised by what you see! We all see things differently. If we are selfish then we can only see things one way.
Seeking a spouse to build up the Kingdom of Heaven is less about you and much more about others and the Body of Christ.
Pray for a Spouse who Seeks God First
The romantic ideal is that you will find a spouse who you cannot live without, and who cannot live without you. This is not what an ideal marriage looks like.
Instead, marriage can best described as a triangle. God is at the top. The closer each spouse moves towards the Lord, the closer the spouses will move towards each other. The further each spouse is from Lord, the further the spouses will move from each other.
By praying for a spouse who will put the Lord first, you will not only be praying for a spouse who walks with the Lord, but also for someone who will be committed to a holy marriage.
Seek a Spouse who Complements You
No—not compliments you. Of course it feels good to have someone who admires you and is willing to praise you. But what I mean here is to pray for someone who is unlike you.
This may seems strange. You might assume that if you think alike and act alike then a marriage would be easy and unified. While this may be true, and there may be many spouses who are like twins, allowing yourself to be introduced to new ideas will allow you to find a spouse who complements you.
Let’s face it none of us are perfect. We each have our own gifts and talents. You may be a sanguine—someone who is outgoing and adventurous. Or you may be a phlegmatic—someone who takes their time with decisions and is careful not to make mistakes. The old adage that opposites attract remains true today as ever.
Put two sanguines together, the house would never be clean and bills might not get paid. However, put a sanguine with a phlegmatic and you will have fun, but not so much fun that you neglect your responsibilities.
If you are interested in reading more about the complementariness in relationships I would encourage you to read The Temperament God Gave You.
Pray for a spouse who is open to life
You may be thinking that you need to find someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with before thinking about having children, but in reality if you are feeling called to the vocation of marriage, then you are also being called to be open to life.
Unfortunately, today’s culture and medical community have closed the doors to life through artificial contraception. Based on the Catholic teachings in Humanae Vitae, artificial contraception is a grave sin and should not play a role in a Catholic marriage.
Many may find this church teaching challenging. A future spouse who has bought into the lie that you can have sex and avoid pregnancy through artificial means is not open to life and risks bringing selfishness into a marriage.
Pray for a Praying Partner
If you are able to cultivate a strong and steady prayer life, you will also be able to detect those around you who have a strong prayer life as well. Seeking a spouse who already has a deep prayer life will help form the basis of a strong marriage.
I know it probably doesn’t need to be said but most important you need to spend time in prayer. Developing a relationship with Lord will help you to discern the Lord’s will for you in your life.
Set aside a specific time each day during your prayer time to allow the Lord to speak to your heart about His plans for you and your future spouse.
Prayer should be the cornerstone of any marriage, so preparing yourself ahead of time will put you ahead of the game.