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Marriage & Wedding Planning

A recent article in USA Today talked about the marriage rate hitting a 40-year low. While the numbers may rebound a bit over the next few years, the long-term trend seems dower. Although there are fewer people getting married, the singles who do want to marry have been struggling more to meet their spouse. CatholicMatch.com was started specifically to address the increased struggle Catholics singles have faced.

Tools Are Not Enough

I have often explained to people that online dating is a tool to help introduce singles for the possibility of a relationship and then hopefully marriage. Over the years our tool (website) has improved but it has always been limited by how singles use it. It is important for people to take full advantage of improvements in our tool but they also have to look at the choices they are making regarding who God is calling them to marry. For example, just because you buy the same golf clubs as Tiger Woods doesn’t mean you will play like him. Playing at the level of a PGA professional requires much more than just good golf clubs. It requires practice, discipline, resolve and self-examination.

This same dedication is needed when trying to meet your spouse. Finding your match requires much more than a robust dating website, or great parties, or even the best introductions by friends. If more opportunity to meet people was the most important ingredient to finding your spouse, we wouldn’t have record numbers of unmarried people in this world.

Helping Catholics With Interior Conversion

Since we first launched CatholicMatch we have always published articles to help and encourage singles, however it was only in the last 3 to 4 years that we really began to see the bigger picture about the problem singles face. While it seems like everything is a crisis these days we know that there really is a crisis in marriage and religious vocations. We know the connection: The increase in singles directly affects the marriage and religious vocations crisis. As a result we have made significant investments publishing content that would help singles consider the other reasons, besides opportunity, that would hinder them from meeting their spouse.

After more than three years of publishing a daily blog, talking with priests, religious, marriage and family life ministers and young adult ministers, I realized that we need a more concentrated effort. I am very happy to announce that we are officially launching the CatholicMatch Institute for dating and marriage.

The purpose of the Institute would be to provide resources, advocacy and scholarships while providing a platform to promote the work other people are already doing in this area. It would also separate the online dating service of CatholicMatch from the personal development side enabling us to help more singles even if they were not using our “dating tool.” In addition, we felt that the Institute would allow our existing customers who are utilizing our tool to use them better and with even more success. It is like taking golfing lessons or reading Golf Digest to improve your game even though you already have a great set of clubs. Additionally we will also focus on marriage preparation & enrichment. So many priests, staff and volunteers concerned about marriage have asked if we could do more in these areas. In many cases we will be working with others who are already doing good work but just need the channels to have a broader reach. In other cases we hope to develop resources where there is a need and our experience allows us to help.

If we can help more singles better understand and prepare for marriage then the end result should be more healthier marriages. This in turn could reduce the number of divorces and hurting marriages and provide a better environment for God to call men and women to the religious life.

Everyone Is Needed For Marriage Building

This is not a task we can do alone. The United States Bishop’s have developed a marriage initiative and the recent popes have spoken repeatedly about the importance of marriage and family. Thousands of Catholics have met their spouse on CatholicMatch.com, but it is time we did more to support marriage. There are so many passionate people who are working hard to build a culture of marriage. The CatholicMatch Institute wants to help magnify these efforts.

Once you visit the CatholicMatch Institute, make sure to give us feedback on the types of things you would like to see the Institute be involved in as long as they fit into our advocacy, resources and scholarships mission. I will be speaking publicly about the Institute for the first time at the National Association of Catholic Family Life & Ministers (NACFLM) conference in St. Louis. Please share our mission with your local parish/diocesan priest, young adult or family life director and ask for their feedback. We would love to know what things would help them do their job better in helping with dating and marriage issues.

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26 Comments

  1. Carlos-977696 July 16, 2013

    I praise you for your efforts. What concrete actions are taken to help singles? How will this institute get more people together? When talking about game, it sounded like a set of techniques, like the ones taught by dating gurus?

  2. Pat-5351 July 16, 2013

    FYI your link to the institute doesn’t work.

    Sounds like a great idea.

  3. Moire-630682 July 16, 2013

    There’s a good Catholic pickup line – “Hey there, cutie, want to stop the marriage decline with me?” ;)

  4. BIll-154597 July 16, 2013

    I am curious if the Bishops will only pay lip service to marriage.

    • Patrick-696751 July 25, 2013

      Bill,
      We just need to find a way to reclassify the marriage decline and the plight of single Catholics as a “social justice” issue, much like illegal immigration and universal healthcare. That way, the USCCB will then precede to imprudently spend inordinate amounts of time and faithful Catholics’ money on lobbying Congress to find quick and unjust solutions. Voilà, problem solved.

  5. Joan-529855 July 16, 2013

    Is there a direct co-relation between an increase in divorce rate and a decrease in marriage rate?

  6. Anya-974452 July 17, 2013

    Sadly, cohabitation is on the rise and marriage is in the decline. I do not think this is about tools, lack of ways to find someone, or anything of the sort; it is truly a shift in morals in our day and age, and interpreting God’s 10 Commandments (and all that they entail) to “fit our lifestyle.” There are many, many, many articles that show that “The New Normal” is co-habitation. One such article is found here: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/new-normal-cohabitation-rise-study-finds-1C9208429

    • Jennifer M. July 20, 2013

      I agree with you Anya.

      I am finding it hard to maintain my Catholic heritage as more and more employers are looking for weekend workers and online education opportunities fail to offer time for religion and family (missed a lot of church in order to be able to complete writing assignments).

      Several of my “peers” drink, smoke, and think it is “okay” to “sleep around” — how do we compete with that mentality?

  7. Dave-146273 July 18, 2013

    I am all for stopping it! =)

  8. Maria-92259 July 18, 2013

    I’ve tried many ways to value and find people with same beliefs and values…without leaving behind the chemistry part,the attraction,the first impression that is always getting in the way….Internet profiles always looked to me biased…in real life,I just stare at the parade of aging parishioners that attend mass…very frustrating.I also tried volunteering and ended with nice ladies whose relatives are already married (or tired after a divorce)…I like your idea of supporting committed Catholics for a future marriage,also would like for you to consider the re education of Catholics about the use of contraceptives and abortion that is supported and promoted among Catholics out of ignorance and apathy…promoting the future practice of Natural Family Planning (NFP) will give a different perspective about commitment,marriage,sacrifice and respect to Catholics interested in building strong and healthy families.A fact that a “Couple to Couple League” educator taught to us in our Respect Life Ministry, is that once a couple shows interest on NFP and starts following the steps, they get married (if not married yet) and the rate of divorce drops significantly.

    • Marie-1035263 May 5, 2014

      I agree with Maria… education is needed on parish and diocesan levels. I teach NFP and am currently struggling with my diocese, trying to get them to accept and/or promote what I teach. It’s an uphill battle… although on the up side several parishes are interested. But it needs to be talked about and promoted by the clergy, especially the bishops. It’s time to put family life back on the priority list.

  9. Randy-731243 July 19, 2013

    I just give up on everyone! It’s gimme, gimme, gimme!

    • Grace-1088854 May 5, 2014

      Randy please don’t throw in the towel. We need kind, caring, loving, strong, intelligent men such as yourself to fight the good fight and persevere till the end. Try praying for the ” I want-Gimme ” people, and pray for the strength to endure! (My strength is in the joy of the Lord Nehemiah 8-10).

  10. Michael-856880 July 20, 2013

    To Whom it may concern;
    This is an age old alternative life style that goes back to the late 1960′s. Living together is a type of “marriage” or lifestyle that avoids committment and doing your own thing. If my memory serves me right, the Pope back then was trying to reach out to young Catholic couple to give marriage its rightful place, marriage is not a dirty word., and committment to your loved one like Christ’s love for us.
    It means stablitity for the man and woman and children
    Today those children of cohabitation are now married adults with children of their own.
    As I remember at that time until this present day, the idea of freedom and do your own thing, no such thing as Jesus and the heck with the Church, religion is dead and so is Jesus, how in GODS name did Catholics expect marriage to survive.
    Many single people today pursue careers, are being politically correct, marriage vows are destroyed by infidelity , and young people want to their own life style.

    This has been going on since 1968 or before, if you want to be serious about finding a companion for marriage, both men and women put down your pride and bucket list and know it will be a challenge and I pray with my heart that the new young people today will take Christ to their hearts and and open your hearts to a new someone
    Whether this is your first marriage or remarriage, no one says it will be easy, but if your heart is good and Christ centered Christ will reward you
    I also congratulate those brave contributors to this column for speaking up
    If The Catholic Institute is angered by this contribution sorry, but there is some truth in what I say.

    • Zulma-987344 July 26, 2013

      Like the way you express your thouhts. Totally agree with you.

    • Grace-1088854 May 5, 2014

      Please tell me you are single and ripe for dating, because youseem to embody the beleif system and character I want my new husband to be to hold!

  11. Jennifer M. July 20, 2013

    Some of us are “forced” to work due to a lack of a soul mate.

    Now we have to deal with a sluggish economy, layoffs, and loss of financial life-lines.

    So tired of having to “pretend” that I am not Catholic.

  12. Joy K. July 23, 2013

    Love this!

  13. Elena-1001912 August 24, 2013

    I am so very grateful for the resources that ARE offered by the Church to support couples discerning marriage. This year, I completed FOCCUS with my fiance in the Archdiocese of Omaha. It brought to light, gradually, impediments to our union. I am so very grateful to God, the church and to my fiance for showing me that we should not marry. I am a 37-year old woman and am aware that marriage and children may not, in fact, be God’s plan for my life. I await further instructions from Him. Please remember me and my ex-fiance in your prayers.

  14. Melissa-1018034 October 15, 2013

    well was raised Baptist. married for 19 years an divorced for 11 now raised my child on my own its been very hard .I pray that there is help some where morals r leaven this world.

  15. David-1048866 January 8, 2014

    There is really no reason for any man to marry in the current legal climate. I know so many older men who have been ruined by divorce, who live in abject poverty, while they pay their wife’s bills. Usually the wife is playing the harlot every weekend and living large. These men lose all contact with their children and basically lose everything.

    Doing the right thing in this society gets you punished in a worse way than the average murderer. Why would anyone want to do this? In my area, 90 percent of the divorces are filed by females who don’t have any reason for divorcing a good man, except for vague “eat pray love” reasons. What’s worse is that the man is usually shunned by the church, while the wife is painted as being a perfect, innocent victim. Seen it with my own eyes, too many times to count.

    Being single allows you to keep all your money, and focus your life on the things you like. If you want to change the decline of marriage, you need to start changing the culture and give men a reason to want to marry. From the looks of this article, you don’t have the guts to even address the problem.

    • BIll-154597 February 25, 2014

      David: sadly you appear to be right. The way marriage is sounds like ‘Good Bye, Good Men’ but the politically correct social justice people will not mention that. It almost seems like some Parishes prefer single mothers due to ‘social justice’

      I fear that the USA and Western will need a Roman Empire collapse to realize how far it has fallen.

    • Grace-1088854 May 5, 2014

      David you sound so bitter and discontented. I wish I could send you reassurance that “doing the right thing always does pay off in the end” and there are sweet sincere woman (catholics) who want only to please their husbands to be and practice domestic skills. Seriously! This type of women is worth the search and the wait. Guys, guys, no more throwing in the towel and having a celebrated pity party. The church envies you, admires your self control and knows that as individuals they do not posess the grace of character that you have developed and nurtured. Hold on. A new re-birth is on it’s way. We are experiencing the labor pains as you read this. When hearts turn to Christ, the institution of marriage will flourish. in the meantime since it is a hard road, get your support here in this forum. Hold on to your towels, gentlemen. You will reap the rewards of patience and perseverence soon. Hold On!

  16. Amy-719608 May 9, 2014

    Hello All!

    I have a success story… I’m getting married in 3 months, and met my fiance on CatholicMatch!!! I know God is using this website for his glory, keep on going everyone! Pray and hope, our Church is on an upswing of success. God wants only goodness for us.
    Jeremiah Ch 29:11-13 For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart,

    Our Lady of Good Success, Pray for us. 2 more of my friends met their beloved on Catholic Match too!!

  17. William-974531 June 8, 2014

    I just want to find the person who God is intending me to be with not just for awhile, but for life.There are so many problems in this world and so many Divorces I just want my meeting with the women I’m seeing to be something that’s going to be for life. I’m not wanting my heart hurt I have had that pain and will not go through that again.I know there’s a girl out there for me.I want a kind gentle Hearted women who doesn’t want arguments, but who will talk things out and agree with each other on a the solution.I’m all alone and I’m missing loving a girl. I have a beautiful place and I’m willing to share my life and Home with someone. I haven’t got much money but have all the things everyone else has but not High maintenance. I’m comfortable except my Heart is empty of being Loved and sharing my love.If there is anyone out there in the Jasper Indiana area or even further who would want to begin a relationship I’m so ready.Finding Love is what God has intended for me.

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