I can add a very recent encounter that I hope will lend encouragement.
I am just in the door after a wonderful evening at my friend Mike's and his new bride's home. They invited about 30 of his friends -- and becoming her friends -- over for a beautiful dinner. Mike is in his early 60s. We've been acquaintances for more than 10 years. He's been an eligible bachelor around town -- accomplished, financially stable, cultured, articulate, possessing a wry sense of humor, educated, and very generous with his heart to his friends and community. Over the years we saw him through several of girlfriends, but we all agreed none were right for Mike. He happily went about his life, traveling, taking up yoga, lovingly taking care of his mother in her last years (with the help of his three sisters), and generally being a wonderful member of our little community. He kept his private life low-key, so none of us were privvy to whether he was seriously "looking" or content to remain a bachelor.
Suddenly, "A" was on the scene. She was a totally different kind of woman from the other ones. He told me one day that the part of her that set her apart from the others was that she loved being Catholic and, being very traditional, even made the sign of the cross when they drove past a cemetery. We don't know the full story, but we think they met online (not this site, as far as I know). She just was perfect.for him, and we all knew upon meeting her that she was Mike's match. Many of us attended their small, beautiful wedding last March. She has brought such joy to Mike's life. He was a happy person before, but since marrying "A," it is as if he has come into full bloom. He radiates contentment and tangible love. He is just so tickled to have found her. We are all crazy about her.
The proof of how "building a life together" is really the point of marriage -- as opposed to meeting requirements on a wish list -- was when I walked into their home tonight. I'd done some gardening work for Mike over the years, and had been in his house, It was always comfortable, neat, and reflected his tastes, but I always thought it would benefit from a woman's touch. Well, "A" has certainly contributed that. LIke Mike, the whole house glows with warmth, attention to detail, and love. She managed to add her things -- some paintings she did and many other touches -- without totally altering it (something I've seen in other relationships). Mike's home has become THEIR home. This dinner was the first party they've thrown together, and I couldn't stop grinning with the pleasure of seeing two people so rightly matched, so fully themselves and so totally together. It boosted my hopes that people who are past the blush of youth can find real love and build a life together. (She is my age - mid-50s.) With "A," Mike attends Mass weekly (he always liked being Catholic and talked frequently about it, but it took getting married to a person for whom going to church was just a natural part of life to get him back in the swing of regular attendance.
I don't know if Mike (or "A") had a wish list. Maybe as I get to know her I will feel it might be appropriate to ask for the details of how they found each other. I do know that I have had to admit, through trial and error, that I am not the best judge of what I need, and that I have to turn it all over to Him who gave me a wonderful life, led me to His Church, and has a plan for me. I finally feel I have a foundation on which to build. Most of all, I want to find a partner with whom to promulgate the life-giving ways of our faith - to be small parts of the "new evangelization," and to help people find their way to this nourishing and beautiful faith.