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Dating & Relationships

Excited about finding the right one for you and getting married? I hope so! Marriage is wonderful and the dating and engagement period are exciting times, even if it is the second time around. But here’s an important question to ask yourself: Are you ready to truly give all of yourself to the right person or are you simply ready to be married?

There’s a big difference between those two ideas. Here is a little story that helps to illustrate what I mean:

A beautiful young bride rode silently to the church in a white limousine. She was gorgeous in her new gown and veil, with perfect hair and flawless makeup. As the chauffer drove her away from the house she grew up in to the church where she would be married, her smile waned. She thought, “Am I making the right decision?”

Guests were arriving with expensive gifts. Chefs at the local restaurant were preparing the luncheon for the reception and hotel personnel were inspecting the honeymoon suite in reserve.

The bride rode silently with her family, who were also in the limousine. Her father finally spoke up, making one last attempt to change her mind about the wedding:

“Honey, please, let’s turn around. We can go anywhere you want. I don’t care about the guests, I don’t care about the money . . . Just, please, give it one last thought.” His wife and younger daughter exchanged glances in silent worry.

Despite her doubts the bride instantly became defensive. “Dad, why can’t you just be happy for me?” 

Her father mumbled under his breath. He had seen troublesome signs in the couple’s relationship and knew they weren’t likely to endure the pressures of marriage. What would happen when things got tough? But he recognized the hopelessness of changing his daughter’s mind and bit his tongue until finally they reached the church.

That was when the bride came alive. It was a total transformation from the girl who sat quietly just minutes before. She emerged from the limousine like a princess from her carriage. Her bridesmaids, who had been gathered at the side of the church waiting for her arrival, rushed to her side and immediately began to fuss over her, tending to her every need. Indeed, she felt like a star. The photographer began the photo extravaganza, flashing away while the florist rushed in and out of the church with decorative flowers. 

As their daughter was whisked away to begin the “happiest day of her life” her parents held each other’s hands tightly and watched from afar, praying silently that their daughter’s life would end up, somehow, okay. 

 
This scenario, according to many people I’ve spoken with from Catholic tribunal offices, is all too common. Couples, especially young ones, are getting married without the proper intentions or understanding of what a marital commitment actually is.  They are more in love with the idea of being married than they are with each other, largely because they don’t know each other well enough.
 
The USCCB’s For Your Marriage website lists the following as “must have conversations” for those considering marriage:
 

After going through a divorce many years ago, myself, I can confirm these are critical issues to discuss. But what’s even more important is remaining true to yourself about what your values are and what you will and won’t accept in a relationship.

Fr. Paul Scalia, pastor of St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, Va., says that during marriage preparation he hears couples say, “As long as we love each other, Father, we know everything will be fine.” But he laments their understanding of love is not what it should be. Love means putting your spouse first which can be very difficult to do when you are not getting along or there are health issues or financial difficulties.

If you have these conversations early on and grow to love each other unconditionally then when you do get married, you can weather any storm. These conversations are tools in and of themselves that you can use to find out if you are meant for each other, and hopefully a deeper, more personal and exciting love relationship. 

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10 Comments

  1. Johnny-700926 September 10, 2012

    I always want to get married not from the definition of “fantasy” and “happiness”, but to provide several essential stabilities to my future wife, kids, and myself. And all of these stabilities will define myself as a good husband. However I cannot assumed the fact that my future marriage will be in good shape without any credible strategies, supports, and information. That being said, I have been researching, surveying, and learning other’s experience in their marriage. And it helped me very much! From there, I can see my marriage becoming much more realistic and a challenge as well.

    And I hope the rest of the Catholic endusers feel the same way from me? Thank you for reading my comment =)

  2. Stephen-725391 September 10, 2012

    Been there personally and DID IT – unfortunately that was almost 40 years ago but the Church ……

    and it drags on ……

    • Stephen-725391 September 10, 2012

      That is – didn’t have those conversations because NO BODY thought about it – not even the Church ….

  3. Vincent-871640 September 10, 2012

    I don’t think “Conversation” is the key ingredient. “Communication” is vital! After 3 very short marriages when I was Very young (18-28), I was ready to give up on the idea that for every person their is a mate. Then, in 1982, I finally met my ‘soulmate’. Debra taught me the importance of honest communication. When couples keep things inside and don’t honestly talk to their spouse, a very tiny, insignificant thing can become a Huge problem! “A mountain out of a mole hill!” right? we’ ve all been there. It is just as important to ‘listen’, as well. Communication is a two way street. Talk And listen. The divorce rate would go way down! So, we musn’t confuse one for the other…and without honesty it is a moot point. Forgiveness is the last ingredient. After a 30 yr. marriage and 6 children, I finally thought, I found the magic key. But, in 2011 Deb divorced me — don’t ask . . . .

  4. Tessa-694373 September 11, 2012

    People…this is common sense…you should know and want the answers to these questions before you get married…unless you are settling and just want to get married and it doesn’t matter who you marry…which is just plain sad, stupid, and desperate..

    It is better to be alone and lonely sometimes then be miserable because you married the wrong person out of desperation…or worse because you settle

  5. Meesch-691047 September 11, 2012

    marriage is a beautiful sacrament… the only “team sport” sacrament! Get on the same page and common understanding/approach and you’ll succeed :)

    • Meesch-691047 September 11, 2012

      more importantly… WHEN do you have said conversations

  6. Esther-532964 September 12, 2012

    This was a good article to read. I agree, someone who loves unconditionally, is hard to find. There are many selfish people in the world. We all have to pray to God, please help us find our destiny.

  7. Helen-869828 September 17, 2012

    I think it is easier to profess unconditional love during engagement and on the wedding day, but when the couple started to unveil the skeleton in the closet then that’s the time to prove the love that being said during the wedding ceremony.
    According to a book entitled “The Love Dare” there are different types of love, phileo and eros are more responsive in nature and can fluctuate based upon feelings. Agape love, on the other hand, is selfless and unconditional. So unless this kind of love forms the foundation of marriage, wear and tear of time will destroy it. Agape love is “in sickness and health” love, “for richer or poorer” love. It is the only kind of love that is true love. That’s because this is God’s kind of love. He doesn’t love us because we are lovable but because He is so loving.

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