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Single Living

Dear Mary Beth,

How can I remain patient when it seems like others who are around my age are married and making babies and I don’t even know where I am in the mix? I struggle with jealousy and envy a lot from it, although at the same time I reflect on my blessings (part-time job, health, blooming relationship). I go to confession about that but feel forgotten with God’s plan when I am still waiting.

-Mia


Oh, Mia, I think most singles feel the way you do at some point or another.  It’s built into us, especially women, to desire a partner and children. So when we see others moving ahead with what we ourselves want, it can hurt sometimes. And it’s easy to start to wonder if perhaps God has forgotten about us.

I believe times like this present a good opportunity to prayerfully examine who God is and how He operates in our lives. Is God primarily the Great Giver of Spouses who dutifully pairs us all off (or at least His favorites) while we’re in our mid 20s?  Does He guarantee each of us a spouse by a certain age – or even at all?

I don’t believe that’s the case. Certainly God has a role in bringing people together for marriage, just as He has a role in every aspect of our lives.  But matchmaking is not His only job, or even His primary job. He is much bigger than that. He is about your salvation, the salvation of the whole world, and the role you will play in that.

You say you feel forgotten with God’s plan. But how do you know that’s God’s plan for you? Apparently God’s plan for your friends right now includes marriage and children. (Although that isn’t necessarily true either. Plenty of people marry at times or in circumstances that aren’t what God desires for them.) But that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to do that right now.

God’s plan is not one-size-fits-all. You are absolutely unique and unrepeatable. And so, the God who loves you has a plan for you that is, likewise, unique and unrepeatable.

So my primary advice to you would be to stop comparing yourself to your friends and using God’s action in their lives as the standard for how He “should” act in yours. Delve into your own relationship with God. Keep your focus there. Ask Him to help you to trust that He has a customized plan for you.  Ask Him for help with understanding it – to the extent He is willing to reveal it to you. (He doesn’t always do that – He also likes it when we walk trusting in Him even when we don’t fully understand what He’s up to.)

Maybe He has a marriage partner just around the corner for you. Maybe He doesn’t. Maybe He wants you to be single right now because there’s something else He wants you to be doing. Maybe there’s something He wants you to be learning in this time. Maybe He wants you to practice trusting in Him. Maybe you’re doing something that needs to change before your marry. Maybe there’s some woundedness in you that is standing in the way of marriage, something that He needs to heal.

Whatever is going on, you will only find peace through Him. Spend a lot of time in honest prayer. Tell Him your struggles. Bring Him your feelings of envy and jealousy. And then ask Him, over and over, to help you to trust in His plan for you.

Because, whatever that plan is, it is where your greatest happiness lies.  After all, it comes from the God who loves you!



Got a question for Mary Beth?

Email it to askmarybeth@catholicmatch.com. She may answer it in her next “Dear Mary Beth” post.

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25 Comments

  1. Dave-104327 October 17, 2010

    Yes Mia, God has forgotten us.

    Dave

    • Anne-606216 October 19, 2010

      Dave, it is natural to feel that way sometimes; were you in earnest, though?

  2. Mike-268257 October 18, 2010

    Mia, look up “Be Satisfied With Me”, a poem attributed to St. Anthony of Padua. It really helps me when I’m feeling “forgotten.”

    Mike

  3. Anne-606216 October 19, 2010

    Very uplifting article. I think this is a universal feeling sometimes.

    Anne

  4. Michelle-495439 October 19, 2010

    I have also heard on a religious program on tv that geing single is also a gift from God just as much as being married. While you are giftedly single God would like for you to become more involved in volunteering in the church, join a bible study or do something good for the community. Don’t be so stingy with your time as to not share it with others. You are a valuable asset to your church and community so why not share it. Just as much as if you were married you would have to share your time and talents with your husband and children for their best interests as well. God exists within you and if you were married or single he wants you to be involved in whoevers life you come across and bring them closer to God. Be an instrument to his peace. Love is in the air by being single but you just haven’t realized it was a gift to open. You will feel so much better about your life after you have volunteered your time and talent to the Lord and his work just as much as being married.

  5. Patrick-606389 October 19, 2010

    Mia,

    God has not forgotten you. If you desire to be married and you “burn” as stated in scripture then you should marry. Now who you married is between you, Christ, scripture, the man, and your own circumstances. Whether the man is your ‘soul mate’ in it’s orginal Hindi/Buhdist tradition (a kindred spirit) or as different from you as fire is to ice — God, according to scripture is on your side. In your life there may come many potential husbands or just a few. But rest assured, God is promarriage, if you burn. All this rigamarole about maybe God doesn’t want me to get married is derived from a scripture that discusses eunichs, Paul says, “I wish all of you were as I am (single), I say this not the Lord,” ” . . . some are made eunichs by men, some are eunichs by choice and others are made so by God.” Now this last reference, made so by God, does not mean that God is going to deprive you a husband and a cover, but rather, God removes the burning that most of us have, which in turn diminishes or in some cases completely removes the desire for union with a member of the opposite sex. (It should go without saying – marriage is sanctioned by God between men and women only). So if in you, is this desire — know that God wants to honor that desire. I would encourage you to “reason with God” about what you can do to help facilitate your desire and God’s. God cherishes even the hairs of your head according to Christ . . . and scripture makes statement, ” . . . you are fearfully and wondefully made.”

    The first marriage was conceived and peformed in the mind of God, evidenced by Adam and Eve. ‘It is not good for man to be alone.” Now there are still a lot of men of God who are alone out there, some of whom I am sure would just love to sweep you up in there arms and love the “smithereens” out of you. Smile. As opposed to all this chit chatter about only one — I think it is clear that love and commitment are choices we make. Now perhaps, God has only one person for you — but scripture does not support that concept. Your one and only occurs once you commit to getting married and say, “I do.” That man is your one and only. Until that time, I would encourage to hang with happily married women and men of God who are supportive of you. I bet you will discover in communicating with them a variety of stories of how they met and why they are still married after 25 or fifty years, and all of them will say, it was not always easy. And some will even share that they had no intention of being together – they felt barely a spark when they first met. But out a growing frindship, decided, to make this person their lifelong love. Enjoy your single brothers in Christ for who they are, what God is doing in them and through them.

    And I will rest on scripture in this: If you want to get married, desire to be married (burn as it were) – until that is removed — God wants you to be married as well afterall, it is no coincidence that being a Christian means to be married to Christ. Relationships are beautiful in Christ – but there not devoid of hard work and tons of grace.

    Be well young lady — get thee a husband — Christ is on your side.

    Sincerely,

    your local Eunich
    (Hopefully my ship will come in and I can support a wife) Smile — lol.

  6. Jorelyn-541365 October 20, 2010

    NO, i believe that theres a time for every things under heaven look at Sarah in the bible she’s 96 years old but yet,God has blessed her, the right time of God hes will be done not our will co’z if we follow our will mostly end ups to divorced, if God is with us no 1 is against us……. co’z the love of God isn’t the foundation of their relationship.we thankful that we may have life and abundant blessings a life that brings us joy every morning when we wake, how great thou art of Gods LOVE for us, theres nothing impossible with GOD

  7. Catherine-135441 October 20, 2010

    Another thought to add on this topic: it could be that the person God intends as your spouse is not ready yet. Many single Catholics are coming to that conclusion and in turn are starting to pray for their future spouses. This is probably the best advice I have been given in regards to fulfilling my vocation to marriage. The Church teaches that God intends the majority of people to marry. The fact that there are sooo many singles these days is an indicator of things gone wrong, of people not having the skills, attitudes and basic human virtues needed to make a marriage work. It’s not that God has forgotten us. It’s that a great many people have grown up in a society that does a very bad job of preparing people for marriage or for anything else for that matter.

    Prayer is the answer. Yes we do our part by trying to meet the right person and of course by trying to improve ourselves. But in the end, when you’ve done all of that, pray. Pray specifically for your future spouse. Prayer is the one thing you can do to help that person whom you haven’t even met. I truly believe that God will take those prayers and apply them to the one you’re supposed to be with. No, God hasn’t forgotten us. It’s just that we, and God, (and the church as well) have a lot of work to do in this area.

    • Anne-606216 October 22, 2010

      Very well put, Catherine. I like the way you think.

  8. Chelo-461155 October 20, 2010

    Mary Beth,
    those were really nice thoughts…
    Mia, keep also in mind that there are still plenty of single women on the same boat instead of comparing yourself with those who have found their partners and have a family…
    everyday I have to remind myself that God is good and He only wants the best for me..I know in my heart that in HIs heart He knew I have asked earnestly, then I surrender. Let’s pray for each other! : )

  9. Deanna-558852 October 23, 2010

    I have often felt like Mia wondering if I have been forgotten or did I miss a sign somewhere. Patrick, thanks for your perspective. Mary Beth’s comments worried me that maybe I won’t ever get married (again) but your use of scripture supported comments makes me feel a little better. And thank you Catherine for reminding me to pray for my future spouse. I did do that before and thought that “the one” had been delivered but in the end wasn’t but I’d rather wait for who I’m praying for than the one I’d settle for.

  10. Diane-481644 October 31, 2010

    Mia,
    Everything happens in its own time. If you were to marry very young, then there may have been a possibility that you would have ended up in a bad marriage, with abuse or a husband who cheats on you or worse. I think that, from what I’ve seen around me, many are unhappy now, after marrying very young. I’m not saying all, just that there is a very high divorce rate and many seem to be unhappy in their marriages, mostly because they don’t have God. God may have been protecting you from that. Maybe you are ready for marriage, but the one that God has set for you isn’t ready yet or needs to work something out in his life or he hasn’t found God yet, taking religion and marriage seriously. You don’t know. I used to get so worked up that God forgot me, but now I am seeing why some guys just didn’t work out at the time and I’m grateful that I was protected. It does get to be upsetting though, but God’s time is not the same as ours.
    Don’t try to hard or think too much about it. Let things flow when you do talk with guys and go on dates. I have a friend who gave me some good advice. Sometimes we pray and pray for certain traits in a spouse and where we would like to be and God sends people in our direction. We sometimes don’t notice or tend to think too hard and look too far into things without trusting that God has everything covered and more. That could cause us to ruin good opportunities, by not trusting in God completely and just being ourselves and forgetting about our want for marriage. God will make everything fall into place. I know that sometimes it seems like you ask for a great guy for so long and it might even be hard to believe that things will happen when you finally seem to connect well with a guy. We have to believe in what we are praying for and visualize it for things to turn out good. Just remember that God wants you to trust him. The devil wants you to insult God and not trust him. The opposing force will try in every way to get you to not trust in God. I think that many of us have been there, feeling the way that you do. Don’t give up and don’t give in to the devil’s negativity. You are better then that. A squeaky wheel does get oiled!!!!!!!!

  11. Miriam-15652 October 31, 2010

    At the age of 36, I have realized how blessed I have been being single. I have been able to do things that maybe my “married with children” friends aren’t able to do. I’ve been able to give my time to causes that are important, to be active at church, to travel, to be the “cool aunt” to 14 nieces and nephews…WOW! How fortunate for me! And if God wants me to one day have a husband, then I’m going to leave that to Him. So, I suppose what I’m saying is, “Live your life. Love your life. For at this moment in time, you are where you are supposed to be.”

  12. Claudia-635473 November 3, 2010

    @ Dave maybe U’r mistaken even once God never forgotten us, Maybe he just tested us how deep our patient to wait, I had been experiencing hurtful for the last few months but even i never ask God why?
    We need to pray more and search more…

  13. Jen-3409 November 11, 2010

    I like the response of Dave-104327. cool..you made me laugh there. But hey you were once married so God has not forgotten you. What about me here still looking forward to getting married someday or soon?

  14. Jose-650721 November 16, 2010

    Good article!
    I don’t believe that God ever forgets us-He made us after all. But neither do I believe that He has set and controlled everything that will happen to us-if this were true then we would no longer have free will. This does not mean He doesn’t know what will happen.
    We make choices-just as the angels did when some rebelled against God, just as Adam and Eve did when they defied God’s order not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had planned the best for them, wanted the best for them, set the path for their joy to walk with Him, yet they chose another path.
    I believe God allows us redemption-to rise again-to find again, and hopefully stay on, the path that leads to Him.

  15. Debra-651556 November 24, 2010

    I, too, feel the same way. I envy married couples or singles with partners. I am too picky, but I do feel God is working on the one I want. I have been alone for four years. My children are grown. Yes, I wonder and feel the same way you do, but we must have patience.

  16. Maria-257382 November 29, 2010

    Great article. Very uplifting. God hasn’t forgotten us.

  17. Pratap-489198 December 7, 2010

    i want marry with u this the voice of holy sprite..can u understand & hear if u can then call me -09167588144…………….

  18. Joe-327698 December 7, 2010

    There is no God….Just go on a bunch of dates and put this fantasy of a old man upstairs who cares about us to rest….

    • Mary-528597 December 10, 2010

      God has not forgotten me. Sometimes, just letting me move along “uneventfully” can be a good thing. One time, I ignored His traffic signal and veered off, but He put me back on course. Thank you for always watching over me.

  19. Mike-189484 December 20, 2010

    No God hasn’t forgotten us, but we need to use the tool he gave us. I think finding a spouse is like finding a good job. If we are having a hard time finding a good job, we probably need to take a good look at ourselves and see where we need to improve. Same with our spouse hunt, we need to take a good look at ourselves and see where we need to improve. Easy to make a list. Then go at it…….

  20. Caryl-146651 December 24, 2010

    Thanks for your wonderful advice!!! God bless you for teaching us Mary Beth!

  21. Shawn J. May 6, 2013

    Mia,
    I can speak for a lot of men who have the same feelings. Remember a few things.

    While we are “complete” in God, He knows that we long to walk this life with another person. HE created that desire. HE also said (even when Adam walked daily in His presence) “It is not good for man to be alone.” Adam was not alone. God walked with Him! But the Lord knew humans need each other, and He created it that way. When people talk about the “gift of singleness,” I believe that means a state of absolute contentment with that state of life. I don’t believe this is a status a loving God bestows upon us and then asks us to get used to the idea.

    I believe He wants us to use our season of singleness to give Him our undivided attention so that we can become the persons He wants us to be (the best preparation for marriage), and to serve Him. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about two people who found each other while they were both using their spiritual gifts in some form of ministry to others!

    Having waited so many years for this in my life (and still waiting), it’s easy to believe that God has forgotten me (or that I did something wrong, or that I’m not loveable, etc.) But I remind myself that I cannot let bitterness make me into a person He wouldn’t want to give to someone else in marriage! I also know that, as a believer, a spouse comes directly from Him, and I pray for that when all I want to do is give up! [Prov.18:22]

    Know that He is good and knows the desires of your heart, pray for them and believe in His promises!

    • Tamara C. September 19, 2013

      Great post Shawn. If a man as articulate and deep as you hasn’t found a spouse yet, it just proves that God really does have a specific plan for our lives and that it doesn’t mean we’re defective . God has an intelligent, special lady for you already in the making.

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