In the last year of writing for CatholicMatch, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know so many of the members through article comments, the forums, and especially the personal emails I receive. It’s great to get your comments and questions because it really helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what’s important to you.
Recently, a CatholicMatch member who I’ll call Jennifer told me about a dilemma she was having regarding dating a man who was divorced. Jennifer has never been married and the gentleman she was involved with did not have a decree of nullity when they first met. Although he eventually went through the process, she tried her best to remain just friends with him but as their friendship grew, she developed strong feelings for him.
There was also a significant age difference between them, a factor that was met with disapproval from her family and led Jennifer to doubt her involvement with him at all. She wrote:
“I must make a decision because this man whom I have come to dearly love, even though I shouldn’t, has given up because I cannot make my mind up. Is this God’s way of removing me from the situation or am I just afraid of people’s opinions and my own lack of courage. Could God ever desire such a union?”
After having been divorced myself, I am particularly sensitive to these issues, both on the part of those who are divorced and trying to rebuild their lives, as well as those who have not been married and wonder about issues like those Jennifer described. Especially when strong emotions are involved, it’s easy to become confused about what the correct decision is to make.
- What are the pros and cons of the situation? (make a physical list and see if one outweighs the other)
- If I proceed with this situation, what about it, if anything, will bring me and anyone else involved closer to God?
- If I proceed with this situation, what about it, if anything, will lead me and anyone else involved away from God?
- Is my desire to continue connected to pride or vanity or can I honestly say I am proceeding with humility?