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.