Should You Write Letters to Your Future Spouse?
Many Catholic singles have heard of the story of Crystalina Evert, a popular chastity speaker. When she was a teenager, she experienced pain from empty sexual relationships. One day after a retreat, she decided to make changes.
To fight off the temptation to return to her old lifestyle, she wrote a letter to her future husband. Over the years, she continued to write letters. Her story includes a journey of healing and mercy. On the day of her wedding, she gave her husband, Jason, the letters.
At first glance, the story is romantic. But is writing letters to your future spouse always a good choice?
Maybe you’re thinking about writing letters to your future spouse. You may already be writing letters. Either way, you should think about these four questions from Ana and Daniel Glaze. They recently discussed the topic of praying for your future spouse in a video on their YouTube channel, That Catholic Couple.
1. Do letters to your future spouse cloud your expectations?
“When it comes to the idea of praying for your future spouse, sometimes you create a list of virtues that you want in a future spouse. You start asking God that your spouse be molded into having these virtues,” Ana says. It’s not bad to pray for a virtuous spouse. But if it’s approached in the wrong way, taking that list of virtue to prayer can set up false expectations not only for marriage, but also for your future spouse.
Diligently taking this list of virtue to prayer and writing them in letters can lead you to believe that the person you’ll marry is supposed to be perfect. After all, you’ve spent time praying for them to be kind, compassionate, and confident. Shouldn’t they have these virtues figured out by the time God introduces you into each other’s lives?
“The key in this is ensuring that your expectations stay healthy. If your expectations turn into expectations of perfection and the reality is that sometimes you’re not going to meet the perfect person. But that’s okay, because reality far exceeds w hat you expect,” Daniel explains.
If God is calling you to marriage, you’ll marry a messy human being. Even if we claim to have it all together, not a single one of us is perfect. Ask yourself if writing letters to your future spouse causes you to idealize who they are. If so, it may be a good time to take a step back from letter writing.
2. Are you overlooking the present because of letters to the future?
If you’re looking forward to the vocation of marriage, a season of singleness can seem like pure drudgery. You may write letters because you’d like to escape the reality of your current single status. Writing letters to your future spouse can seem romantic. But if those letters are inhibiting you from being present to your current vocation, they’re not helping you.
“I have known so many young adults who know that they’re going to be married and have completely overlooked the smallest decisions in front of them,” Daniel explained. Writing letters to your future spouse can put such an emphasis on your future vocation that you miss out on your current season.
“If we are only focusing on praying for what could be our future spouse, we could forget and overlook the relationships around us and teh decisions we need to make in the short term so that the long term can be as holy as it can,” Daniel continued.
God didn’t invite you into this season of singleness without reason. Maybe he’s calling you to be a good friend, sibling, aunt, uncle, or co-worker. But you could be missing out on these opportunities. You may be too focused on what’s to come instead of what is happening right now.
3. Are letters to your future spouse encouraging you to idolize marriage?
Marriage is a good and beautiful vocation. But marriage should never become an idol in your life as a single adult.
“The only thing I wanted at one point in my life was marriage. No one or anything could break me from that notion,” Daniel remembers. “It became essentially an idol in my life. Anything I did was always about me getting married.”
Maybe thinking about who your future spouse is and what they’re going through right now consumes your day. Prizing marriage above all else means that you could also prize marriage above God and his will for your life.
“I’m not saying that praying for your future spouse you’re going to turn marriage into an idol,” Daniel clarifies in the video. “What I’m saying is that if you have an unhealthy obsession about who your future spouse is going to be, you will inevitably turn marriage into an idol and that’s not what we’re supposed to do.”
If you already write letters to your future spouse or are considering adding this practice into your life, take a second look at what is motivating that desire.
4. Are these letters stopping you from praying for your vocation?
“Instead of praying for our future spouse, we should be praying for our future vocation,” Daniel explains. “Though the majority of us are going to be called to marriage, there are going to be a few of us who are called to religious life or consecrated life.” Instead of idolizing marriage, we should be open to God’s will in our lives, regardless of the vocation that he’s calling us to. “We should be putting all vocations on an even playing field because that’s what proper discernment really looks like.”
It may seem like a ridiculous question. But your letters to your future spouse could be harming your own vocational discernment. Idolizing or fantasizing about what marriage could look like in your future may be keeping you from discerning a call to religious or consecrated life.
How to pray for your future vocation in a healthy, wholesome way
It’s not wrong to pray for your future spouse, and it’s definetly not wrong to pray for your future vocation.
However, it is important to discern if certain ways of praying for your future spouse or vocation are helpful or harmful.
If you haven’t started praying for your future vocation, you should start! But remember, this shouldn’t be a prayer petitioning the Lord to introduce this woman or man into your life right now. Instead, let your prayer be a prayer of daily surrender to the Lord and his plans for your future marriage. Pray that, if you’re called to marriage, your future spouse strives for holiness, and then continue to strive for holiness yourself, too!
Chloe Langr is a very short stay-at-home-wife, whose growth has probably been stunted by the inhumane amounts of coffee she regularly consumes. When she is not buried in a growing stack of books, she can be found spending time with her husband, geeking out over Theology of the Body, or podcasting. You can find more about her on her blog "Old Fashioned Girl."