Do you like to be in control? If so, one aspect of of online Catholic dating that is probably appealing (consciously or unconsciously!) to you is the ability to be a little more in charge of your love life than you would be in more traditional ways of finding love.
You can log into an app and simply enter in some search criteria to bring up a list of potential matches who have all the qualities you want in a date. Some of us might find this more appealing than trying to meet someone in person and not knowing much about them.
But despite how good this control can sound, there can be a problem with it. After all, love doesn’t always work the way we think it should.
Relinquishing control is hard
For those of us who are type A planners with an in-control kind of personality, letting go of control in the important things in our lives is hard. This can be especially true when it comes to our love lives.
Even for those who are of a less-type A personality, it’s definitely possible to know exactly what you want in a spouse or to have strong preferences about the type of person you want to date.
We have idealized thoughts about how our love lives should go. We watch romantic comedies and Netflix shows where everything is over-romanticized perfection, and we want the same things for ourselves.
But in Catholic dating, we have the understanding that God knows better than we do. We know that God has a plan for us, even when it seems like nothing is working.
It’s not too challenging to know this intellectually. But it can be a bit more difficult to actually start living out this belief that God is in control of our lives.
Be open to an unexpected match
So what is a single Catholic to do, since online dating platforms are pretty much designed specifically for this shopping for a spouse kind of mentality?
One obvious thing to do would be to make sure you’re open to meeting someone in real life who might not necessarily share a ton of things in common with you or meet all of your desired criteria.
In my own life, I had basically nothing in common with my husband except the Catholic faith and a few mutual friends when we met in late high school. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we probably wouldn’t have connected if we hadn’t been open to God doing unexpected things in our lives.
Beyond a mere attitude of openness towards those you meet in person, it can seem a little tricky to put this openness into practice in any other ways. After all, it would feel really weird to put into an online dating search some qualities that you don’t actually like.
But the new Catholic Singles app update actually has a feature that can help fill this gap in Catholic dating sites.
The unexpected match feature of the Catholic Singles app will match online dating users with people who don’t actually meet all of their search criteria, but who just might be the man or woman God is calling them to discern a vocation with.
Though most online dating sites fail to strike a good balance between these two aspects, the unexpected match feature could help you find that special someone who is the perfect mix of commonality and opposite.
Surrender your love life to God
If you really want God to take over your dating life and help you find a spouse, try telling him this in prayer.
Sometimes we forget the simple and obvious step of actually taking the time to offer difficult situations in our life to God. Even if you have a solid prayer life, it can be easy to forget to ask him to guide you in this area.
But God knows much better than we ever could just what we need in a spouse. He knows where we are mistaken and looking for the wrong thing, and he knows what qualities in a spouse will help us to live holy and happy lives.
Catholic dating really should revolve around God as much as possible. So make the effort to bring God into your dating life more deeply.
Ask him to lead you to your future spouse, and try to make an effort to be open to surprises in this area.
Bring this special intention to prayer frequently. Consider praying a novena for this intention, or perhaps take up praying the Prayer of Thomas Merton each day, as it’s particularly relevant for singles:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.