Flattery will get you everywhere. Actually let me set the record straight on a few things becuase I am by no means qualified either.
1. I was terrible at dating for a good chunk of my life I was dating the wrong way, focused on the wrong things, allowed to much stuff to get into my head and did not allow my faith to dictate how I carried out my relationships etc. So I am the last person in the world who would ever offer dating advice other than to simply tell people how I screwed up all the time.
2. I have ZERO training in anything related to dating or relationships or marriage. So I speak with no authority and running a dating website DOES NOT make you an authority in any of these areas.
3. Despite my constant inability to date well I had many good examples of how marriages are to be and how hard people have to work at them for success. This is probably what kept me from making a really huge mistake because I at least had some real life examples to compare myself/situation to.
4. I was my own worst enemy. For so long I thought my problem was not meeting the right person (this was somewhat true) but mostly it was that I was not ready to date well and that I could not get out of my own way in order to meet and develop a relationship with someone. The Church does not teach that God gives us "soul mates" at least in terms of how people typically define them. Thus it is quite possible God had put several women in my path that I could have married and carried out His will with but I was either not ready or didn't want to be ready. Fact is I stunk at dating and my idea of how to move from meeting to dating to marriage was completely wrong.
5. I was fortunate to have a friend who also happens to be a psychologist (but not the weird new age secularized kind) who made me look at myself and made me come to terms that I was the primary problem not the women I was meeting. Because I needed fixed I was unable to discern who God's will was for me because I was not tuned in. I allowed my own distorted view become the driving force. I was to selfish, to picky, to distracted, to prideful, oh... and to selfish to even have a chance at figuring things out. Lots of people think marriage readiness is the most important thing. I actually think dating readiness is more important. If the process for getting to marriage is screwed up then you are probably not going to be able to figure out if you are marriage ready. At least I wasn't able to.
6. When you find someone who makes you better and loves you unconditionally despite all your failings don't over think it. I almost did and that would have been stupid. Of course that is easier said than done but I was fortunate.
7. While I am not expert on dating, relationships, marriage or anything related to those areas God didn't make me totally useless. I have always had a good knack for observation and reading people. As such I have been able to offer some thoughts here and there based on those observations over the years of working on CatholicMatch. While I know it is not popular if I have to say my most basic observation would be that singles get in their own way and sabotage themselves more than most of us ever realize. We have a difficult time seeing it because we don't really like to look at ourselves in an objective way or simply can't. That is why if you have a close friend or friends who are willing to tell you the hard things about yourself, take advantage. (Try to make it someone not single.) This is especially true the later in life you are. If I had one major regret about being single it would be that I wasted to much time and allowed to much anxiety into my life worrying and feeling depressed/frustrated with being single. I wish I could have that time back and would have made it more anxiety free.
8. Unmarried people often view marriage as the goal rather than a transition or transformation. I have observed many and probably fell into this trap at times myself thinking, "If I only could get married I would be happy." or "If only I could find the one my life would be great." or "I love my life but I am missing the person to share it with." From my observation this is such a huge trap and I wish more people in the Church understood that unmarried Catholics need direction here along with dating readiness.
9. I never intended to do this as a job (nor did my partners) it was a fluke, luck or providence or a little bit of all three depending on your perspective. But I can tell you that given how long I struggled with being single and wanting so badly to get married helping unmarried people has become a passion. Most days we focus on the "meeting" part and as a business grows you spend more time administering the business then working on the things you love and care about.
But I feel (and so does the rest of the staff) that we have a responsibility to do more to help singles beyond just giving them opportunities to meet and we feel we have and obligation to raise awareness in the Church about the unmarried issues that it faces. While we cannot be experts in all these areas ourselves we can spend the money and time in bringing people together who are. That is why we keep expanding our blog and are getting into publishing more books/pamphlets etc not to mention have begun make efforts in working directly with Church officials to bring more issues to the forefront. There is a real focus on helping the marriage problem in the Church but we think the best way to fix that problem along with strengthening existing marriages is to help Catholics get to the point of marriage and get their via a healthy and more faith-filled path.
Ok I quit cuz I hating writing and I like odd numbers.. :)