Guest post by Jacinta Boudreau.
Dear single Catholic girls, pining for your wedding day, for that baby bump and (of course) that “forever man”…
I’m here to tell you that being “the single one” is not as bad as it may sometimes seem. I promise.
Marriage is more than a moment or a day,
Marriage is FOREVER
Unfortunately, people today have been taken for fools when it comes to this word; especially since it has been proven how bad people really are at sticking to one thing for more than a few months, never mind fully committing to heartbreak and persistent sacrifice for the rest of their lives!
Love songs that get stuck in your head and make you want to happy-dance all over the kitchen, croon about “forever” and “the rest of our lives”, but do they really mean it? Do they really understand what that means?
Divorce rates among Celebrities say otherwise.
Films and Instagram photos freeze certain moments in time between two people that make everyone itch for a piece of the pie; but life isn’t a constant stream of filtered happy moments. Human beings actually do more things other than laughing, gazing into each other’s eyes and so on.
No, seriously. Marriage is forever. FOREVER. Think about it…
All the beautiful quotes about the vocation to Marriage, romance, love and babies cannot summarize what it really means to be married and raise children with one person. NO backing down, NO way out, NO changing your mind no matter what.
Think about what the word, “forever” means. If you look up the word in the dictionary words like, “Endlessly, Permanently, Constantly, All the time, Eternal, Incessantly” and “ON AND ON” will appear. (at least on WordHippo.com ^_^)
Think about what these words truly mean. Now think about spending them with only ONE person.
Only one person to live with for the rest of your lives.
One person’s failures, problems, issues, ups and downs, mood swings, and bad attitudes to deal with; for the rest of your lives.
One person’s health problems, aches and pains, sicknesses.
One person’s family and extended family and all the luggage they bring with them.
One person who will not agree with everything you believe, say or do.
One person who will not understand everything you believe, say or do.
Think about an entire lifetime from birth till death. If God has called you to the Vocation of Marriage and raising Children, your entire life leads up to that. Your future spouse is out there for your entire life until you meet them.
Think about the gooey love songs, movies, photos on social media, and TV shows.
Now think about the Divorce rate.
It is said that “In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50.” and that is followed up by a “40 to 50 percentage” of those married couples divorcing.< >Wow. Pretty unsettling isn’t it?
Perhaps “forever” doesn’t really mean, “forever” in today’s culture? Perhaps, just perhaps, “forever” means choosing to live daily, in the moment, and working hard to stick it out through life’s ups and downs. Life’s highs and lows.
Marriage is Uncertain
Sure, it’s fun to daydream about your wedding day, your married life, your future kids…
A Pinterest board just for your future someday is filled with ideas that will create the “perfect” wedding. Another Pinterest board for what your future children are going to wear.
Another separate Pinterest board for all the fun things your children will have.
And, of course, a board for what your future home will look like.
These are not bad things (I am guilty on all charges), and in fact, is it good to keep an open mind for the future if you know your vocation. And a little planning doesn’t hurt anyone.
The point here is: your wedding day will last a maximum of 8 hours. All that time spent on the details, the Pins on Pinterest, the daydreams, the intricacies, will be over and done with. And it’s over. Forever.
Obsessing over these things though, is probably one of the worst things we could do. Putting so much pressure, hope and excitement onto singular and specific times in life is never a good idea. Because we do not even know if we will live through the next night!
God’s plan for us in life is usually proven to be very different from our expectations, and obsessively laying out intricate plans, hopes and dreams for the future can lead to serious let-downs.
If we, rather, take each day as it comes, and thank God for the ups and downs, perhaps the chances of getting disappointed by major life events won’t hurt so bad. At least they will be easier to sail, if it was not our life’s desire that just crumbled in front of our eyes.
Surely it is a known fact that marriage is not a constant honeymoon. The whole uncertainty of life itself should be enough to prove that.
Marriage is Serious
Marriage is defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church as:
“1601 The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”
The Catholic Church has always promoted Marriage as an important Life Decision; a decision to work tirelessly to get your spouse and children to heaven. Period.
If you read any quotes from the Saints and Popes on the seriousness of raising children (ahem, raising SAINTS), and the importance of raising them to be holy, can be a little overwhelming.
And taking into account the perseverance, steadfastness, moral character, patience, and qualities needed to raise a family that is needed in marriage, it becomes less of a “Nice Daydream” and more of a serious “Life Choice“.
A day in a white dress with pictures, bridesmaid colors, or a permanent profile picture that is no longer you but you and your “significant other”, is in no way enough to compensate for the days of trials, errors and disappointments that marriages holds.
What compensates for it is the fact that GOD WILLED it. That you and your future spouse were CALLED to help each other save their souls, and raise future citizens of Heaven.
What compensates for it is finally meeting the one that God literally created for you to spend the rest of your life with; the one with whom you will battle the every day, the world, (and probably your relatives) with.
The Eucharist and the Grace given in the Sacrament of Matrimony is what compensates for it.
The ability to take part in God’s plan for children, raising little ladies and gentlemen, and teaching them to love God and His Church with such a passion that even death or martyrdom could not break them away from it.
Marriage is a Vocation
The priesthood and the religious life are vocations, a calling from God in the deepest recesses of our hearts and souls to become all His, forever; to serve Him in the best of their ability.
Marriage is also a vocation; a calling from God to a MAN and a WOMAN to take part in His plan for their lives, on earth and afterwards.
The St. Josemaria Institute wrote about this on their website:
“Marriage is a vocation; it is the vocation to which the vast majority of people are called. It has two clear purposes or, as the Catechism says, a “twofold end… : the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life” (n. 2363). It is a call both to faithful love and to fruitful love.
1. The first purpose is that spouses grow together in goodness, and in that openness to goodness which prepares them for heaven. This means specifically that they are meant to grow in loving God (the first commandment) by means of growing in love for each other throughout their lifetime.
2. The second purpose is that they carry on God’s loving work of creation. In other words that, as co-creators with God, they bring children into the world and rear them in the setting of family love, so as to prepare them for a life that can lead to Heaven.
These essentially linked purposes are clearly indicated in the scriptural accounts of the creation of the sexes and of the institution of marriage.”
So if you are feeling “left out” because all your friends are dating, getting married and having babies, don’t. Embrace the time you have, thank God for it, use it to become holier, to grow closer to the One who loves you more than any man ever could.
Some DO’s and DONT’S
Devote yourself entirely to Our Lord; cultivate your personal relationship with Him and His Church.
Put yourself into the hands of Our Lady (or even better, BECOME A SLAVE OF MARY!)
Learn all you can about Catholicism; dive into the ocean of beauty, truth and perfect-ness.
Go to MASS, daily if you can.
Go to regular Confession (once a week is great!)
Go to Adoration often; if you are a writer, use a journal to write what is in your heart to the God in front of you.
Live your life; devote your time and energy to helping others, living healthily and CATHOLIC-lly (that’s totally a word…) and becoming a Saint.
Have a few exceptional hobbies: join the nearest 40 Days for Life group or start your own, start a parish Rosary group, join the Choir, start a blog and encourage others to become Catholic, start a YouTube channel with the same undertone, use your gifts to honor God and promote the sanctity of Life.
Keep busy. This helps. A lot.
Keep yourself grounded; plant your feet at the foot of the Cross and remind yourself of God’s plan for you and ultimately for the salvation of your soul. If you look at happenstances and situations in your life with this filter, life will become very different; and much more do-able.
Become holy-er; becoming a Saint is the goal, not marrying the nicest guy with the cutest dimples. Daily do something that brings you closer towards sainthood. If you marry, it will be all the better for you and your husband
Find your passion: it doesn’t have to stop at falling in love with Christ and His Church. Work for a Pro Life (anti Contraceptive mentality) cause (just spiritually adopting a child in danger of abortion for 9 months is something!). Volunteer at a Crisis pregnancy center. Or even start a group in your parish that supports those with same-sex attraction, like COURAGE.
Find your vocation; sometimes marriage isn’t in God’s plan. Take a year off and devote yourself to praying and asking God to help you find your vocation!
Confine yourself to social media; it just makes things worse. I am pretty sure everyone online is either dating or married with kids. (lol I’m kidding)
Feel sorry for yourself; It’s okay to be single. Some of the best people are! God’s plan is in the works and He knows exactly what will make you the happiest (and holiest) in the end!
Be desperate; letting yourself be wooed by the non-Catholic (or Catholic not serious about his faith) just because he listens to you, and pays you attention. Pray for him, and guard your heart. God has a plan.
Be one-track-minded; life isn’t about getting married and living happily ever after. Life is about getting to HEAVEN and living happily ever after.