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Single Living

It’s been kinda fun this past couple of months, hasn’t it? We’ve been talking about red flags and the qualities in a potential partner that should make you pull the plug on the potential and head for the hills. Makes us feel all good and self-righteous and gets us thinking about how wonderful we are and what perfect, fantabulous partners we all deserve.

But then somebody has to go ask a question that brings us right back down to earth. In this case, the question was “what if you’re the one with the red flags?”

Naaaah. None of us here could possibly the problem in a relationship, could we?

Well, according to the law of averages, it would seem that at least half of us would be, given that there are two people in every relationship. (Unless there are just a few “problem” people who are really getting around, which is also a good possibility.) The law of original sin suggests that the numbers could be much, much higher.

I’ve written many, many times about how much I hate the question “So why aren’t you married?” There is just no good “sound bite” answer that seems satisfactory. It’s like they’re asking “So, what are the deep hidden flaws that obviously must repel all of your potential suitors?”

It’s not a polite question to ask others. But I think it’s a very, very good question to ask ourselves, and to ask God. “Seriously, why exactly is it that I’m not married?” Because the truth is that we’re all wounded, and we all bring our woundedness into our dating relationships. And it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that there may be wounds – whether we’re aware of them or not – that are getting in the way of finding our “happily ever after.”

I realize we’re moving into very uncomfortable territory. We much prefer to chalk it all up to “there aren’t any good men out there” or “I can’t find anyone who shares my faith” or “everyone I meet is too this or too that.” And all of that that may be true. God knows it’s difficult to find a partner who shares our faith in a society where so few really practice it. And a lot of people who would otherwise be called to marriage are single today because of that. But I hate the thought of singles chalking it all up to “a good man (or woman) is hard to find,” when in actuality they are in need of healing in some areas.

I’m sure the potential wounds that could hamper a marriage search would be as varied as the unique individuals who make up the singles population. No two people are identical, so no two wounds could be identical. The list would probably run the spectrum from the glaringly obvious (a personality so obnoxious that nobody wants to get close) to the extremely subtle (unconscious fears that lead a single person to chose unavailable or unsuitable people to date, etc.) In future months, I’m going to talk more about what some of those wounds might be. But in the mean time, I wanted to start here, just to get us all used to the idea that there might be more going on in our singleness than just a demographic glitch, and to perhaps get us moving toward some healing.

There are obvious things we can do to try to become more aware of obstacles we face when it comes to marriage. We can listen to the people we date. Granted, they may have issues of their own. But they’ve also had a front-row seat to how we function in a relationship. Whether it’s in the context of an argument or the context of a breakup, that person is going to be offering plenty of “feedback” that could be useful. If you hear the same thing – the same complaints, the same observations – over and over, there’s probably something there you need to pay attention too.

But in the end, there will always be parts of ourselves that won’t be able to see. Don’t despair. Either way – whether we understand what’s going on or not – the solution is the same.

We go to God. We pray for healing.

The first step, if we’re aware of any factor that involves unrepented sin on our part, is to go to confession.

The second step is to go to God and ask for enlightenment. In a spirit of prayer, in a quiet place where we have a lot of time, we ask Him to show us, to the extent He will it, any woundedness that is interfering in our quest for the vocation of marriage. And then we listen for the answer. We continue to listen after prayer time is over. The next day, we go back and do it again. And again, and again. We thank him for any insights we receive. We tell Him we trust Him, over and over, even when we don’t hear answers.

And we pray for healing. Whether we’re clear on what needs healing or not, we ask Him. Because He knows, even if we don’t. We continue to ask him to heal whatever wounds we’re aware of, and those we don’t know about. We take time with Him. We ask His Mother to guide us and to help us pray.

There is a short little prayer that I say every night. I believe it’s powerful, and I highly recommend you say it too:

Jesus, through the power of the Holy spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep. Every hurt that has been done to me – heal that hurt. Every hurt that I have caused to another person – heal that hurt. All the relationships that have damaged in my whole life that I am not aware of – heal those relationships.

But, Lord, if there is anything that I need to do – if I need to go to a person because he is still suffering from my hand, bring to me awareness of that person.
I choose to forgive and I ask to be forgiven. Remove whatever bitterness may be in my heart, Lord, and fill the empty spaces with your Love. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

I think that, with God, healing is often a long process – like peeling away layers of an onion. It takes time, dedication and consistency in prayer.

Which strikes me as a good reason to start now.


(This post has been read 349 times)

70 Comments

  1. Phillip-369494 February 1, 2010

    Thank you for that refreshing insight…

  2. Tanya-63933 February 2, 2010

    That prayer is really something! I am going to use it. Thanks so much!

  3. Kathy-355103 February 2, 2010

    So true! Great advice!

  4. OfeliaMaria-440979 February 3, 2010

    Thank you for sharing this and for the prayer as well. God bless

  5. Michelle-318845 February 3, 2010

    Thankyou!!! I wish I would have had this article a few months ago. I have learned that we have to look at ourselves as well- so that issues aren't brought into a potential relationship. Sometimes I have to remind myself that when I am ready to meet someone- God will let me know.

  6. Kristen-540967 February 3, 2010

    A beautiful prayer – thank you!

  7. Bonnie-305136 February 5, 2010

    Great aritcle. I will get started on self examination and reflection during Eurcharistic Adoration. Love the night time prayer and reflection.

  8. Amy-406690 February 6, 2010

    Great Article!!!!

  9. Lucy-41785 February 6, 2010

    Great prayer. Thanks!

  10. Carlo-533750 February 6, 2010

    Thank you for this beautiful article ! I'm learnig that only God can heal me and help me to find the right way in my life. God bless.

  11. Jim-397948 February 7, 2010

    Very good article…Just saw the move…FIREPROOF

  12. Martha-328318 February 7, 2010

    I throughly enjoyed reading this article. I will download it and read it over and over again. Thanks for this beautiful article.

  13. Caitlin-380825 February 7, 2010

    That really touched my heart. I thank God you!

  14. Melinda-536794 February 7, 2010

    I'm going to say that prayer every night. Thank you!

  15. Jim-149694 February 8, 2010

    Wow! Marybeth! Best article ever! We each of us need to sit up and pay attention to this idea. Thank you for suggesting this concept. The prayer you suggest is wonderful. Thanks!

  16. Megan-21150 February 8, 2010

    Great article, Mary Beth! So true. I'm pretty aware I have my own wounds to heal before I can be healthy for a relationship so thank you much for your advice!

  17. Amy-56598 February 9, 2010

    Amen. I pray for God's will for all aspects of my life. I had not thought of praying for healing to remove the obstacles so that God's will can fill my life. Thank you!

  18. Melanie-256494 February 10, 2010

    Needed to read this. Thank you!

  19. Paul-285874 February 12, 2010

    Today I was set-up with a woman who someone else thought would be a great fit for me. This was very awkward and embarrassing I'm sure for both of us. I work at the church in the maintenance dept. The woman that set us up is in the choir, the woman i was set-up with is in the same choir. the woman i met was very nice but no sense of fashion she lives with her mom and dad. My first thought was she has been over-protected her entire life. I am sorry but my advice to this chat room is NEVER let yourself be set-up with someone this is God's job not your friends or your family. Meeting someone should be a natural good-feeling experience. I sometimes wonder if Catholic-match is healthy or just a big scam just like the set-up i wish i could forget.

  20. John-10533 February 12, 2010

    Much needed advice, thanks…keep it comming :)

  21. Rose-459209 February 13, 2010

    Mary Beth,
    This was great! I am ready to start! I look forward to the rest of the series!!
    Peace!

  22. Mary-25961 February 14, 2010

    Mary Beth,
    What a wonderful article – I find that until we look at ourselves and willing to work on this first we will never find that "perfect" person. Prayer is definitely a key but until we look at ourselves and be willing to seek counsel to change the things we cannot change ourselves, but sometimes with a little bit of help can, we will find that the imperfect person is the perfect person for us. WIshing you a Valentine's Day that not only brings smiles to your lips but in your heart as well.
    It was wonderful meeting you last year at the Conference, Labor Day weekend.

  23. Brian-252799 February 14, 2010

    Great Article.

  24. Barbara-449855 February 14, 2010

    Mary Beth, YES! We must ask for Gods healing and help us with our character development. Can't leave the work of the Holy Spirit out of this. Barbara

  25. Tiffany-66114 February 15, 2010

    very good article. This rings many bells for me. Thanks for adding to what I have already been thinking recently.

  26. Michele-152686 February 15, 2010

    What a GREAT article – thank you so much!

  27. Seida-6172 February 16, 2010

    We could also consider personal therapy ;)

  28. Mary-460589 February 16, 2010

    I found the prayer this iarticle ends with truly inspiratational

  29. Jacqueline-198 February 16, 2010

    This article has come at a very apropos time for me, I'm so happy that I read it, I actually printed it out so I could do the prayers nightly, perfect for Lent too as we are travelling our own deserts.

  30. Maclean-483042 February 18, 2010

    This is a beautiful article, thanks for sharing and I have printed out the prayer which I have started parying every night before going to sleep.
    God Bless

  31. Leah-7813 February 22, 2010

    Thank you for this much needed prayer, especially for Lent. God bless you, Marybeth!

  32. MarthaIsabel-108850 February 23, 2010

    thanks for the article i am healing myself

  33. Elizabeth-291115 February 28, 2010

    It is extremely fitting that I found this article today. It's just another confirmation of what has been in my heart these last few couple of days. Thank you for the wisdom from this article.

  34. Cristina-510210 March 2, 2010

    A couple of days ago, a friend of mine pointed out my flaws. Today, reading this article, has helped me to understand my friend's point of view better. Thank you, Mary Beth for that beautiful prayer that you have written to share with those of us on Catholic Match. It is very inspirational and I hope to pray it every night from now on.

  35. Bomika-544377 March 4, 2010

    Thank you for the article. I love the short prayer and say it every nite before goin to bed :)

  36. Polly-543212 March 5, 2010

    Thank you for this beautiful article. I believe this is God's answer to my questions. I seem to have unknowingly perfected "How to lose Guy in 10 days!"( I made this a personal joke for myself). I have copied the prayer and will look inwards to start healing myself first. Again, thanks and God Bless!

  37. Mary-285153 March 12, 2010

    We're all on a journey, and I only fully started learning to appreciate that and remember that I need to focus upon my relationship with God and growing myself, not waiting or delaying till somebody comes along and changes my life. This is such a good article. AMEN TO IT!

  38. Christiana-418905 March 12, 2010

    Thank you for this amazing article. I am going through some very rough times and this just helps me see so much more than I'm realizing these days. Amen!

  39. Carlos-167015 March 14, 2010

    yeah thats tough to admit but in order to be w someone one needs to heal. However one can grow and learn as well from the other person. To close oneself like that is sometimes counterproductive.

  40. Pablo-558020 March 18, 2010

    Thank you for this reflective piece. I have always struggled with my flaws and have found that sincerity in our willingness to change is crucial. I love the prayer and will definitely be using it from now on with my daily talks with God.

  41. Laura-524207 March 19, 2010

    Thank you for such a wonderful article and prayer. You really inspired me to be a better person and to start making some changes in my life. God bless you

  42. Dolores-556576 March 19, 2010

    I just clicked on the link….and there was the answer….I need to enter that threshold of hope! I forgive and go; but self forgiveness? I am going to pray that meditation!! Thank you!

  43. Sabrina-427169 March 20, 2010

    Thank you for the article, this article has given me much peace. I'm touched by your words, and I am thankful that God has given you the gift to touch others also. God bless!!

  44. Leah-344221 March 23, 2010

    You write so well. Salient, useful points for daily living. I'm glad that you bring to our attention even those uncomfortable issues we may be avoiding. Isn't that what life is about in general? Spiritual growth that leads us to the Lord. One of my favorite quotes a friend had shared with me seems appropriate here. "Through breakdown comes breakthrough."

  45. Clifford-432544 March 25, 2010

    that is by far the most powerful prayer i have ever heard just upon saying those words as i read began to tear up my eyes and lighten my heart

  46. Glenn-504740 March 26, 2010

    That is a great prayer, and I love the whole idea about healing, it is so important not to take it to your next relationship!!!

  47. Melisa-538847 March 28, 2010

    WOW….Such spiritual words have been shared. I will include this in my daily conversations with God. Thank you for your article.

  48. Sandra-202758 March 29, 2010

    Great prayer, MB.

  49. Claire-302384 April 5, 2010

    Thank you, Mary Beth…this is so powerful!

  50. Ping-488604 April 7, 2010

    Your prayers are something that I wanted and supposed to say. They are just the right words to say and makes me feel strong in my heart. thank you!

  51. Colette-382154 April 9, 2010

    Thank you, this is really great.

  52. Michael-537189 April 13, 2010

    Mary Beth you are right. I am truly touched by that prayer.

  53. Tim-563513 April 16, 2010

    Thank you for the great article. Listening – listening to others, and listening to ourselves – is so hard to do, yet as you point out, is vital to our growth and to our relationships.

  54. Eva-410316 April 22, 2010

    I can say that prayer and meditation has helped me heal thyself. My divorce left me dazed and confused on top of hurt and dispair. I was fearful and resentful of my ex. I went to a healing ministry retreat called the Beginning Experience and learned that it was okay to moarn a divorce but this was the building blocks to forgivness not only for myself and the part I played in killing my marriage but also to forgivness of my ex-husband and for the part he played. It's been two years since then and I have prayed everyday for healing and forgiveness and now I can truly love myself for who I am and I have also forgiven my ex. I still love him as the father of my child and he is a good man, but faithwise we were simply not compatable and at this stage in my life I am not willing to give up my faith like I had during the marriage. I am at peace and am always looking outside the box at myself improving what I think may need to be improvement on and enhancing the good points I already have. Hopefully my good points will be perfect for someone to be in my life, someday.

  55. Virginia-430305 April 22, 2010

    Amen! MB Prayer is our weapon to healing, "awesome prayer."

  56. MaryBeth-382377 April 23, 2010

    I think before entering a dating or LTR it is important to be at a solid place in your life. It's about sharing with another, not needing them but loving yourself and being at that place so you can bring your love to share with each other.

  57. Paul-574081 April 30, 2010

    I am new to the site, and feel the reading was dead on, I sent it to an old friend and commented even if I don`t meet anyone here, can see how I could grow from the process.

  58. Silvana-576371 May 8, 2010

    Hi, I am glad I read this article… I was listening to Christian radio, and someone said (on the topic of being sigle) – Stop looking for the right one, and BE the right one.
    Thank you.

  59. John-362098 May 9, 2010

    I think that one of the weaknesses we ought to look at is if someone writes to us, whether we are interested in the other person or not, do we have the basic courtesy to send a response saying either thanks or thanks, but not interested. Do we give the other person the basic respect they they are a normal friendly person, or do we automatically assume they are covered with red flags and evil weird motives and ignore them? When a woman does that to me, my view is not only "too bad, I'll just meet someone else" but also "here is an insecure person with lack of empathy and courtesy for other people". I had a woman write me about the same subject recently, when guys didn't write back to her, in spite of the fact that she was educated, had a successful carreer and was very attractive. I told her the guys were probably feeling insufficient compared to her achievements. I think little things like manners count, and they are so basic. Are there that many weirdos and bad people on Catholic Match? If so, then maybe it ought to be shut down or better screening ought to occur. What do you think Mary Beth?

  60. Nancy-571188 May 13, 2010

    I love what you said about healing. I turned to see if you were watching because what you said is all me. I appreciate you and the gift the Lord has given you of council. I wish I were blessed like you to deliver a million women and men who are living unhappy lives because of druggin their past in their mindsets and into their dating world and May God bless you.

  61. Paul-530770 May 19, 2010

    Great words of wisdom! Both have to look into the mirror, be honest about all things, take responsibity and deal with who you are, where you are and make changes. It always starts with a humble heart. Some times are hearts are made of stone…Holy Spirit give us a new heart! Jesus, I Trust In You!

  62. LuciaAnn-372384 May 21, 2010

    SO very beautiful and so very true. The healing will come, I know that for a fact, God is amazing and to all of you who have the wounds, please do pray them away for we all deserve to be loved and to give love freely. amen

  63. Chris-577148 May 28, 2010

    I FOUND A LOT OF TRUTH IN YOUR COMMENTS. I THINK IN MY OWN LIFE I HAVE HIDDEN FROM WOUNDS BY STAYING IN MY OWN SHELL AND TRYING TO HIDE FROM IT BY WORKING ALL THE TIME AND STAYING SHELTERED

  64. David-586621 June 1, 2010

    Wow, what an insightful article. I know I can certainly use healing. I love that prayer!!!

  65. Katie-548992 June 13, 2010

    I'm going to do this every night. Thank you!

  66. Sandra-413601 June 14, 2010

    Very good article-and appropriate. I get asked a lot "I'm surprised you're single-Why hasn't anyone scooped you up?" I usually say "I can tell you haven't talked to my ex-husband." I think your article is right on. And the prayer is perfect. I'll have to borrow that. Thanks so much. Hope to read more of your massages.

  67. MaryBeth-382377 June 17, 2010

    Yes, I believe the first step before dating is to be at a very solid place. The goal is to be able to share love with another — to come from a solid place of peace, happiness and trust.

  68. Flor-593144 June 18, 2010

    Yes, as reconciliation is part of what Lord Jesus brought to us in order to enter into heaven..healing is part of our daily lifes in order to take always next steps and do not frustrate God´s plan in our lifes. As an example of healing and honesty I needed to live with myself after my last relationship I know after that process now I am ready to see without any chain or bad memory into my voacation of marriage and I see clear what to expect and give with the person I meet or decide to have a serious relationship… all our life depends in forgiveness and humility to see and assume the reality as it is…knowing what we can do is the most important..if we are expecting just to receive from the other as much as I give so we are not ready for knowing another person and not even for marriage…a Priest these days in a mass said in marriage you can become happy even if the other person does not show you her/his love or tell you in your face sometimes the love he/she does not feel…and this can happen if you just know God loves you and you love him…this process will make you love who is next to you…and that can give you hapiness..good article =)

  69. Julia-592990 June 25, 2010

    A very wonderful article, thank you Mary Beth. I know I am wounded, I've joined a couple of retreats for healing, here in Indonesia. But our woundi s like garlic, has many layers. So I can't say that am all healed, cause there are many layers, so am in process of healing stage. I also know that the reason I haven't find a husband, is because of my wounds. And I thank God for being in this process, cause He is making me ready for my future husband. I believe, when He send me 'the man', He will make everything perfect. He will be ready for me, as I am ready for him. He would even make our wounds be a blessing to our relationship. That I believe. And for that, I love God soooo much. God bless you Mary Beth, in all your writing. Amen

  70. Lana-585159 June 27, 2010

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Especially for the prayer.
    I believe in worshiping through music as well and as a result of searching the word "Heal" I stumbled upon a song ttiled "Heal Me" by Aaron and Jeoffrey. The lyrics are pasted below. Search for it on youtube and enjoy.
    It's another "good to see you" Sunday morning
    Oh I hardly hear the words roll of my tongue
    Looking in myself for signs of something that's long gone
    Oh I stumble through a verse that says you love me
    As the voices echo my thoughts drift away
    And I close my eyes, ashamed I'm feeling nothing
    And I pray, I pray
    Heal me, heal these eyes, hear my mind
    Breathe a breath of life
    Wake my soul from this sleep
    Give me back the joy of when I first believed
    Heal me
    Oh I lose myself to one more day's indifference
    When my eyes are everywhere but fixed on you
    I don't have the strength to overcome this distance
    But you do, you do
    I don't wanna waste another minute
    Taking all your love for granted
    I just wanna feel your Holy Spirit rushing over me

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