Dear Michele: What Do We Value in Another Person?

Dear Michele,I was in an accident about 4 years ago and as a result have some difficulty in walking. Now, because of this disability, I feel very unattractive. Although my ability to love, care, being there for others has not been diminished in any way, I feel my disability is a major impediment in finding a mate and developing a meaningful relationship. I recently joined and love your responses.
God bless
S. H.

Dear Michele,
I met a guy who wooed me and said such wonderful things to me and sounded real. He was calling daily and said he missed me if it was 24 hours. We hadn’t met in person yet as he was from out of town. Then, he asked me about taking a loan out of a bank to invest and double my money. He suggested $500,000 and I told him I couldn’t do that. I haven’t heard from him since. I am very hurt as I realize that he clearly was interested in getting a woman who had money. How these people are going to miss the right person because they are so worldy in their values. How can a person put a price tag on the value of another person! That is so against God’s will and offends Him. Do men only want a woman who has money, or will give them sex, or are beautiful physically? Where are all the good men? It’s the value of the heart that is important and not the external and materials. I have met very few in my life that are godly, good men. What do you think?

Hello S.H. and C.A.,
I’ve included your letters together because they emphasize such an important point – what is really important in looking for a mate? What do we truly value?
As Catholics, we know that each person is endowed with inherent dignity, made in the image of God, handcrafted by the creator. We come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Unfortunately, the gift of our diversity is sometimes lost in our “must be perfect” culture. We see images of beautiful, young, fit men and women, and begin to worship people and their bodies. And the real confusion comes in when we think that only “perfect” people can be happy. There are a lot of rich, beautiful people who are miserable in their relationships and likely very lonely, just take a look at the front page of the tabloids to collect the evidence.
So what can we do? I hear these questions from both men and women, where are all the good ones? First, we can collectively widen our list of desired attributes. This means being open to people of different ages or backgrounds, shapes and sizes that we may not have been in the past. Why? Because on your 25-year wedding anniversary, the only thing that will matter is the character of your spouce and the deep, intimate friendship that you share.
Second, we can hold out for what is truly valuable not just in another person, but in a relationship that is meant to image the love of God. Sounds like both of you are already on the right track. Keep looking for qualities of integrity, responsibility, fidelity, and authenticity in your dates. They don’t match up? Then don’t waste your time. They can’t see past what you have or don’t have? Then don’t worry, in the end they won’t have much either. Stay the course and know that dating in a God-centered, value-ladden way may be more difficult, but the rewards can last a lifetime.
God bless to you both. I hold the confidence that your perfect mates are right now being prepared by our Heavenly Father, who loves you more than you will ever know.

Michele Fleming, M.A.