Being a Catholic single person, I have received a lot of free (and sometimes!) unwanted advice over the years.
You are a catch, the right man will come along someday.
Have you tried online dating?
Check out the singles or young adult groups at church. That would be a great place to meet someone.
Ask your friends and family to set you up.
Don’t be so picky.
Just keep praying and God will have him enter the scene at the right time.
Here, I internally sighs and rolls my eyes.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, knowing their intentions in offering advice likely comes from a loving place. But sometimes in life, you have to throw out the messages or advice that are unhelpful and leave you frustrated.
In Catholic and more faith-based circles, I have heard that last comment (just pray to meet someone) come up on more than one occasion.
We know from our Catholic faith that we are called to be both people of prayer and action. Both are important and we cannot have one without the other.
Similarly, in Catholic dating, we need both to be people of prayer but also of action.
Here are three principles I have found helpful in my life helping me to dispel the myth that just praying to meet
“the one” will automatically produce it.
Start living your best life right now
Your life does not begin when you meet your wife or husband. Hopefully you are already living a beautiful life right now. Try new hobbies or interests, make time for the things you have always wanted to try but never took the jump. A full life is not determined by your relationship status.
Live your best life today, try all the things.
Go on that road trip.
Join that cooking class, book club, or running group.
Learn that new hobby.
Take that trip or buy your first house.
Yes, pray you do God’s will and for your vocation, but keep living a rich life while living it to the fullest.
Be a person of both prayer and action. Both are needed and one is not more important than the other.
Put yourself out there
Our life of faith requires us to be people of prayer and action. The same thing can be said in our dating lives.
Here too, we need to be men and women of both prayer and action. Dating requires just that, to go out on real dates. We have to put ourselves out there.
I have gone on some pretty horrible dates, but then I went on some wonderful dates. Dating will probably consist of a little bit of both, that is part of the journey. Not everyone who does online dating necessarily has a good experience or meets their spouse.
If you feel like dating is like constantly running into a brick wall, it is okay to take a step back and take a break.
But on some level, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. If you are struggling with the online dating platform you are using, think about adding another to add some variety.
Dating can be both thrilling and daunting at the same time. It is okay to have lots of different feelings and thoughts about the process.
Be brave and keep putting yourself out there. Show up as your authentic self, confident in who you are.
Allow yourself to be surprised
Last spring through the entire summer, I began to say a little prayer each day as I drove to work: “Jesus, would you just come surprise me in every area of my life?”
It came about from a time of really pressing into my desire for marriage someday but also knowing it is not something I can force to happen. My insights and time with Jesus in prayer led to that question asking Jesus to come surprise me.
Each day I drove to work and came close to the Lord, asking. Then, I would go out live my life, be open, and show up. That prayer reminded me that the adventure of life is that, a beautiful adventure.
The Lord began to do some new things in my heart, my writing, and yes even in my dating.
I do not share that with you as a fool-proof way to land a serious relationship.
But being that vulnerable with Jesus in prayer, took a lot of pressure off myself. When I realized I was not in control or forcing things to happen, Jesus showed up and surprised me in more ways than I could imagine.
I challenge you to be bold and ask Jesus that same question, “Jesus would you come surprise me in every area of my life?”
How do you handle being a person of both prayer and action when it comes to your dating life?
What is working well (or difficult) for you?