Why Don’t I Feel at Peace About Being Single?


Dear Mary Beth,

If a person has discerned their vocation and really feels that they are called to marriage and the person is just not being brought into their life, how do you keep your spirits up?  I believe that God wants us to be generally happy and at peace in life, and if this includes waiting on His timing to bring the right person into our lives, why don’t I feel peaceful about it? I am feeling angry and hurt and wondering why God is allowing this hurt to continue in my life? Unfortunately it is now starting to make me question whether or not God could truly exists. God sets rules for living and I have followed them (for years on end). Why am I hurting while others who do not follow His rules seem to get their lives to go the way they want? I just don’t get it and I’m really in a lot of spiritual and emotional pain over the whole thing.  


Dear Hurting,

You said you’re starting to question whether God exists. Frankly, I think you’re right. That’s exactly the question you need to be asking.

I believe that God does exist. But I don’t believe that He is who you think He is. The “God” you’re talking about—the one who automatically provides us with spouses as a reward for virtuous behavior—He doesn’t exist. Never has. Never will.

I know you’re hurting. I’m sorry. I’ve been there, too. Virtually everybody on this site has. It’s hard—very hard—to feel called to marriage, to assume that it’s our future, and then to find that the “right one” isn’t showing up, and to face the possibility that he or she may never show up.

But don’t blame it on God.

He loves you. Madly. Passionately. And He wants what is absolutely best for you. More than just wanting you to be “generally happy,” He wants you to be really happy. In eternity with Him. Forever. That’s His focus. He’s our Savior. He came to save us—not from a corrupt government (as many of his followers assumed), or from spinsterhood (as we singles sometimes assume) or from persecution or famine or anything else. He came to save us from the power of evil, and He left us a Church as an instrument of our eternal salvation. And He promised that His Spirit would be with that Church until the end of the world.

As for this life, He never promised us “general happiness,” or a peaceful life, or a guaranteed spouse, or anything like that. In fact, He pretty much promised that we’ll have a bit of a rough time of it if we follow Him.

You are finding that now. The problem isn’t with God, it’s with the free will He gave to us. When people use that free will in ways that are contrary to His will, other people get hurt. That’s one reason why, in this day and age, so many faithful Catholics are single. Fewer Catholics are taking their faith seriously. And that leaves fewer faithful Catholics for us to marry.

That’s not God’s “will,” at least not in the sense of being what God wants to happen. But He allows it to happen, and people like us get hurt as a result. Being faithful to God has made it more difficult for us to find compatible spouses. That is our cross.

Why don’t you and I have spouses yet when other seem to have received them gift-wrapped from God? I don’t know. Why did God spare one family from the Gestapo, while their neighbors perished in the gas chambers? Did God love the one family more? I doubt it. He loved both, met each in the midst of the evil they were facing, and fashioned a plan to bring them to eternal salvation with Him.

The question of “how we keep our spirits up” is a big one, and probably best saved for next time. But I want to challenge you to spend some time, in prayer, re-exploring who God really is. He isn’t less than the God you’re imagining—the one who fulfills our wishes in this life. He is actually so much more than that. He is the God who has loved you from all eternity, and knew from all eternity exactly where you would be in this moment in your life, and has built a plan just for you—a plan to make the most of this time here on earth, and to bring you to Heaven to spend eternity with Him.

That is why you “follow the rules.” Not because God promises you a spouse in return. But because you love Him and want to honor Him with your life, regardless of the outcome.

You may still marry. You may not. Either way, God will be with you—loving you, leading you and inviting you into deeper union with Himself.

Marriage is a great good. But it isn’t the “holy grail” and it isn’t the ultimate goal of this life. Our goal is Heaven.

Keep your eyes focused on that prize.

 Do you have questions for Mary Beth?  Write to her at marybeth@catholicmatch.com.



  1. Jeanette-1439022 June 26, 2017 Reply

    Well, I am not impressed with this dating site or the men on it. I laugh my head off when I see 50 year old men who have never been married and have slept with hundreds of women and now that their hair is falling out and looks are fading decide that they want a family but they want a 40 year old virgin. Why would a woman want a dirty old man like that when she is clean and good! Why aren’t the other women like him good enough for him? I am so tired of being put on hidden lists by the most homely horrible men who live in tents under bridges probably and want a supermodel. They can stay alone. I can see why some of them are divorced. Instead of feeling rejected, I can see that this is just another meat market where the men are in control. I see that I have a financially stable life and that I am probably better off meeting men
    another more healthy way than just being judged by what I look like when I have so many other fine qualities and have a lot going for me and am a good person. Most of the men on here are really ugly and I was willing to lower my standards to try and meet someone but these homely men have unrealistic standards.

  2. Lusy-1399108 January 3, 2017 Reply

    for me God is above beyond everything in this world.. God want us to “Let Go and Let God” its mean that we should try maximum that we can try and if we are not get it so we should sincere and bring to God and let God do His part. I learned that maybe God want me to learn first about myself and about HIM before we have a spouse and kids… knowing ourselves better is more important things… with knowing ourselves we will knowing what God want us to do in our life… do not hurt for a thing but you can see there many things in our life are beautiful enough… God want us not to focus on our deficiency but He want us to focus on our advantages… that i call “Blessed to be bless “… have a nice day and GBU all!

  3. Leonardo-1061760 December 10, 2016 Reply

    I hope that “Hurting” has found comfort, in Christ, from his or her spiritual and emotional pain. I myself am encouraged by the story of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, found in the first couple chapters of 1st Samuel. Hannah was a woman who was “deeply distressed” because she was childless. One day Hannah was pouring out her soul before Yahweh, in the house of God, and ended up being accused (by the priest, no less) of being drunk! Poor lady! But she prayed. And after God answered her prayer, she said something that makes me cry like she cried: “I am the woman who stood with you in this place to pray to Yahweh. I prayed for this boy, and Yahweh has given me my request that I asked from him.” I hope for “Hurting,” and for myself, that we will be able to say, “I prayed for this… and Yahweh has given me my request.” Of course, Mary Beth is right. We may not marry. We may remain single, childless, etc. We may get sick, or die violently. I agree with Mary Beth that what is ultimately important is that we are united with Christ for eternity; He did promise us that we will suffer as He suffered. A servant is not greater than his or her Master. However, I hope that “Hurting” has found (if not a spouse) someone who will give comfort by doing as St. Paul said to do: “weep with those who weep.” Not everyone reacts to things the same way, whether singleness, childlessness, homelessness, illness, or whatever else. Not everyone has the same measure of faith. For instance, two Marines could walk into the same ambush; one walks out with severe PTSD, and the other walks out with a deep gratitude to be alive. The more painful reaction is not necessarily due to a character flaw, and even so, Christ did not come for those who are well, but for the sick. I understand that anonymous letters are often used as a prop to set up a tract-like article such as the one that Mary Beth wrote here. And while I agree with her theology, I am saddened by her tone. Compassion is more important than theodicy in matters of suffering and doubt. I hope everyone who is hurting like “Hurting” will read the first two chapters of 1st Samuel, as well as reading Psalm 88, which ends by saying to God, “You have removed loved one and friend far from me, and darkness is my only companion.” The fact that the Holy Spirit inspired such a desolate and sorrowful psalm, and then led the Church to include it in the Sacred Scriptures, teaches me to be patient with myself and others in times of doubt and pain. The song that Hannah spoke when God answered her prayer is so beautiful, and so much like the Magnificat that I am convinced that the Blessed Virgin knew the Song of Hannah by heart. I don’t know how the young virgin could relate with the pain of the barren woman; but they praised the God who rescues the lowly. I hope that “Hurting” will pray, even when it is painful to pray, even when those prayers are met with accusations because of their desperation. Perhaps God will grant the request, so it can be said, “I prayed for this… and Yahweh has given me my request.” Or perhaps God will respond in a much more magnificent way. I don’t know who you are, Hurting. But I will pray for you. Please pray for me; I am also single, childless, ill, and hurting. Lord, have mercy.

  4. Abbie-1113042 April 29, 2015 Reply

    I’m going to be honest and say this post at all helpful to a person like Hurting or myself!

  5. Mary-1160948 April 21, 2015 Reply

    Hi,I was a widow for a year and was a person who loved being married.So in tears I cried out to God that he needs to find me a Catholic man to marry again.I would have never thought of a Catholic dating site ever,but God put it in my head,to check online if there was such a site.I kept getting scripture reading after praying to God that he was going to give me someone special.I prayed with complete trust,and that is complete trust that God wanted me to be happy.I am now in love with a wonderful Catholic man I met on this site.If we trust in his will for us to be happy then that is all the faith we need.Soon I will be marrying this wonderful man.

  6. Michael L. October 8, 2014 Reply

    I’m 58, and how fast the years from 18-58 went. I joined Match.com recently, and I found many good profiles of women 50 plus. Over 90% were divorced, very few were Catholic, and very few will date men over 55. Moral–you can date and keep looking for a partner in life, but once you hit 50, you will have a very small dating pool open to you.
    I learned too late you cannot put off seeking a partner in your 20s and 30s. The odds of finding a great person after that are very small or almost zero. After 40 it gets really tough to even try to date anymore. You run into too many broken people.

    • Jason O. December 19, 2016 Reply

      Did you ever find anyone? You are right, it is so very hard to date these days.

  7. Julie-740765 August 26, 2014 Reply

    Did Mary Beth ever do a follow up post to this one, as she mentioned “The question of “how we keep our spirits up” is a big one, and probably best saved for next time.”? If so, where can I find it? Thanks all!

  8. Kiz-1124626 August 23, 2014 Reply

    I was feeling the same and found my answers in the depths of my prayers. Then was lead to Psalm 37:4 “Delight your self in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. I then realized God was reminding me to genuinely love him and trust in His plans.

    He made me understood why I was at that moment of questioning and started to bring out the question to me. I thought that it was enough to obey, but suddenly knew and felt my core intention was not what was suppose to be…that we should have the purest of our hearts to seek God first.

    God made me assess my self and I knew from that moment that because my heart was so weary, that I wasn’t ready to love the one God has prepared for me. Because loving God genuinely make us complete, because His love alone is enough. I knew then, that he wanted me to be the best person I could be to also deserve the best one he chose for me. So I find my self always in the journey of being God’s best and continue to be patient and faithful while on the road leading to that person.

    I thank Him every minute of my life not having to give yet my most fervent wish during those times, because I knew I have yet to learn from being fully prepared for a relationship. It is only in God’s time that we become enlighten with all the questions we have in our hearts. The best thing to do is wait. We have been given the freedom to be happy, it will always be our choice, let’s chase it. Cheers to all!

  9. Michael-369664 April 28, 2014 Reply

    I recall wanting to join a singles Catholic group in a church I attended. I was over 40, and they didn’t take or want anyone that old. The age cutoff was 40, and when I asked about that I was told–“we’re trying to get these folks married off, and no one wants anyone that old. We can’t match them up with anyone.” This was in the years before online dating. I found another Catholic church closer to home with no singles group, and I’ve stayed with that, It hurt at the time to feel rejected or cut out, but I know they were right. A forty plus person is going to look and feel out of place in a crowd of 20 and 30 yr. olds.

  10. Joy-712305 April 9, 2014 Reply

    In my own experience, being part of a catholic charismatic community where I met and mentor fellow singles who I share the same desires, challenges, sentiments and activities with has helped me so much in making my single life journey fun and worthwhile. Being able to nurture younger single women through my caring group (as we call a small group in community) wiped away the anxieties and fears of staying single for life. I felt blessed to be a wounded healer myself. Through the activities and experiences with this group, it helped me shift my focus on more important things about being single. And even just the thought that some if not most of the things we do could not be experienced when you’re tied up already.

    Now that I’m presently away from the community because of my job, i still sustain and live my single-hood worthwhile and peacefully because that experiences within community has taught me to be more caring and to continuously mentor and help some ‘struggling’ singles along the way by encouraging them even just through sharing my personal experiences and personal views with them, convincing them that there is actually a purpose for every situation and circumstances that we are in or simply being a living example that life can be great in and outside of marriage.
    It really needs constant prayers to be filled with grace to stay focused and calm, because, time of emptiness and longings for ‘the other side’ would sometimes creep in, I must admit.
    Especially when we’ve reached discernment for the married life already.
    Just some thoughts to ponder, our community founder, also a renowned speaker and writer once said and I quote; “wherever we are is the best place for us right now”. So let’s happily seek and serve our purpose in this ‘meanwhile’ of our lives.

  11. Alicia-987236 March 7, 2014 Reply

    It’s sad that some people feel like being single is some terrible punishment.

    Sometimes it is necessary to find yourself before you enmesh your life with the life of another person.

    Being single can be fun if looked at in the proper way. It can be an opportunity to travel, go back to school, do mission work, become more involved in your church etc.

    If God wants it to happen, it will happen (whether we like it or not lol). I guess we just need to trust that it is all for the best in the end…

  12. Rose-1030878 March 4, 2014 Reply

    Answer with full of wisdom. Thank you for your article because i have the same dilemma sometime. This article is a wake up call for me. May God bless you abundantly and for us single ladies, God love us more than we can imagine. Cheers!

  13. Anthony-931830 February 26, 2014 Reply

    I agree that it is a great response; however, I think that it still is difficult being single and alone. I think we need to remember that it is ok to feel sad about this. People get sad all the time about life events, and that is perfectly normal. I think we must not forget that. We must not say it is wrong to be sad or upset about being single. I get very depressed about it, actually, but I am not mad at God at all. It is not His fault. I ask God to help me with my pain.

  14. Regina-911983 February 26, 2014 Reply

    Very enlightening and spiritually uplifting! Very helpful comments too. I have to keep reminding myself that “worry” is an insult to God. Keep reading the psalms!!!!

  15. Emily-156637 February 26, 2014 Reply

    Sheesh, being single is being compared to being taken away by the Gestapo! That is depressing.

  16. Angel-613532 February 26, 2014 Reply

    Mary Beth said it all but I would add a rational human factor on why people do not want to marry now a days..just turn on the TV, TV is pure vanality…go to the streets, same thing…celebrities are the “models” nowadays, everyone persuing to be “rich”, infidelity, DIVORCES EVERYWHERE and so on…you name it…men are scared , women too…the society is screwed down…you talk about God to someone, people laugh at you (that in the US) , in Europe you can get even physically attacked because you tresspased the “human rights” of the person you talked about GOD (what ridiculous!!)…Girl..I hope you find a good husband…but remember you have to get on your knees everyday with him praying the rosary, otherwise the devil will make you fail, AS REAL AS THAT,….and if you get a “bad boy” in your rush to get a man, you will certainly suffer because he will make you suffer…and do not blame GOD for that!..unless you are like the old women saint like St Monica who suffered all things under the hands of her husband and all she did she prayed for him to convert, and yes he converted when he was lying on his bed, few moments before death……I will tell you a real story… there is a Colombian mystic, named Marino Restrepo…this man…has a amazing testimony in what is it on the “other side” (other life) …he saw Jesus, because he was dead and gave the gift to return to this world…in his testimony he says…”IF YOU COULD JUST SEE THE HALF OF WHAT I SAW..(JESUS) BELIEVE ME, YOU WOULD SPEND YOUR WHOLE LIFE ON YOUR KNEES, BEGGING TO GO TO THE OTHER LIFE PRAyING FOR IT.” …I know it is difficult to be alone in this world, I have no girl, but God is the main goal here…I believe it..Joe, the comment above seems to believe it too…good luck and pray

  17. John-1046049 February 26, 2014 Reply

    It’s hard to admit but I think for many years, I was basically stuck in a negative paradigm of disappointment. I would pray, go to church, say novenas, and quote unquote do all the right things, and then basically have bad luck in the dating world, at which point the devil would fill my head with all kinds of negative thoughts, like it’s never going to happen for me, I’m too old, this is my cross, etc. etc. and it was a wonderfully miserable place to be. Sound familiar??? I also allowed that negative thinking to keep me in two very long term relationships that clearly were not right for me…which was totally crazy. Then one day, I stumbled on Joyce Meyers book The Battlefield of the Mind and also her book Change Your Words–Change Your Life, and I realized that despite being a devout Catholic and a person blessed with great faith, I was defeating myself with my own thoughts and words. Now instead of saying what I’m “feeling” I say what God says. No matter what my circumstances, or what I have or don’t have, I speak blessing over my own life, by quoting and meditating on positive scripture verses: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want; I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me; It is not right for man to be alone and I’m trusting in you Jesus to bring a holy woman into my life; etc. etc. My dear Mom used to say, the devil’s greatest tool is despair but in God there is always hope, so let’s all put on the armor of Christ and stay hopeful as we joyfully love and serve everyone the Lord brings to us! And whether we get married or remain single, we will be victorious in our Love of the Lord!

  18. Joe-786218 February 26, 2014 Reply

    Nowadays, I no longer worry about it as I’ve turned that over to God along with other worries. I’ve had a good life no matter what… I choose to be grateful for that and not to be upset at what’s not in my life.

    • Aizel-870799 February 27, 2014 Reply

      Hi Joe, same here! Just be thankful and enjoy what you have now rather than feel miserable for what you don’t have. Besides, waiting for God’s best and perfect timing can be fun

  19. Dominic-981542 February 26, 2014 Reply

    From my teens till 35 i suffered loneliness , I was a damaged human being and could have taken my life at any one time .
    At the age of 19 i met a nice girl after two weeks with her I walked out on her because of my inner problems with out any explanation given to her as to why.
    i wouldn’t even know what to say if i tried , though no promises were made to her and the fact we were young , Its been haunting me in the last few years when it comes to my memory even to the break down of crying from the inside.
    Though it was out of my control to know and do better , i hate my self for it,

    I went through the pain of loneliness as years went by later , to an increasing terror of pain within like as if I was bleeding from the inside , i did what was right by treating women like my own sisters , and saw how women had no understanding for the value of being respected without sexual intent , after a few broken hearts later in my life i gave up altogether .

    In my late thirty’s i had a beautiful experience of Jesus coming into my empty space and i no longer felt I needed a soul mate , i also found he was a hard friend to live up to as his interest in me was for my very own salvation which I’m still working on till this day .

    What i discovered from all this is how nave we all are towards our selves and most of all towards the opposite sex , as some of you may have heard me drop hints about woman towards men .

  20. Ann-69118 February 25, 2014 Reply

    Well I feel a lot more at peace with it than I used to. It’s not really not my first choice but given that guys aren’t much interested…especially on this site unless they are far older and divorced I’m more resigned to it than welcoming.

  21. Rachel-992204 February 25, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for posting this article it definitely shed some clarity on my current situation.

    While I agree with many of the points made, I still don’t feel ok accepting singlehood as a possible vocation for the rest of my life. In Genesis it’s explained to us that God created Eve because it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone and that they should be “fruitful and multiply.” We were not made to be single.

    The only rational explanation I have to this is what was mentioned in this article about free will. I definitely think that free will has caused us to have a harder time finding a spouse nowadays, but this is still a difficult concept to accept, knowing that as faithful Christian Catholics we are meant to carry out God’s will by continuing the cycle of life.

    • Liz-609023 February 25, 2014 Reply

      I must admit that sounds strange coming from a Catholic. The Adam and Eve story is only an analogy, and of all the denominations this is where the single life option is more offered – a convent/ monastery or as a priest or at Communities lay people are allowed to be single if they wish to be celibate. Free will was given. No choice about it. I don’t think free will is the cause of our problems exactly. That’s the modern world, the secular world, the evil of it and the freedom that came with it.

      • John-1124697 November 3, 2015 Reply

        The RC Church never taught that the story of Adam and Eve (from Genesis), was an analogy.
        It’s an important part of understanding why Jesus came to undo the sin of Adam…and Eve(she never got it easy).

  22. Patrick-341178 February 25, 2014 Reply

    If you dont feel at peace being single, consider that a blessing rather than a curse. I know many people get to a point where they are like ” I know longer care” and am just going to continue being single than really pursue a spouse. I admit this really seems to affect 35+ year old men more than women. I am in a young adult group in my parish and too many of the members seems way to content on just living a simple, single life. While there is nothing technically wrong with that, I wonder why more of them then just dont pursue religious life than some endless singlehood.

    The nice thing is with few exceptions, that vast majority of members of this site, wouldnt pay a monthly membership just to be perpetually single. Just remain an active member and try as best as you can to give any men that contact you a chance. One thing that I have noticed in my life as single man, is although women rightfully complain that too many catholic men are just way too content being single, that unfortunately too many catholic women put up too many walls when it comes to being pursued. From personal experience, it is very difficult to just get a date on this site, and when I do, it is extremely difficult just get a second or third.

    So, just keep yourself out there, keep going on dates, and feel good that you arent content being single. I think that means God does want you to get married.

    • Joseph B. January 25, 2017 Reply

      I’m a 35 year old man and I admit I’ve adopted the “i don’t care” attitude where I’m no longer actively pursuing marriage. The only reason lately I’ve stayed on this site is for the blogs lol! But you’ve given me food for thought. Thanks.

  23. Stephanie-660142 February 25, 2014 Reply

    Perhaps her vocation is not marriage as she is convinced. If God is not guiding her to “the one”, perhaps at this time His will for her is something else, something she would have little time to do as a married person running a household. Maybe mission or volunteer work is her current calling or exploring the world to open others to a Christian light. Perhaps He knows she needs to focus on financial security because He knows she will need it later. Perhaps following one of those paths will lead to what she has been looking for. Perhaps what she wants is not what God has planned for her. Just because we want it does not mean it is what we need. He knows your heart. He made it! He knows where it belongs. Instead of asking why hasn’t God given it to me, ask what can I do with what God has given me? You may be pleasantly surprised at the result. God bless you and lead you to your peace.

    • Liz-609023 February 25, 2014 Reply

      That’s a great comment. We should all think about that!

  24. Sharon-942543 February 24, 2014 Reply

    Fantastic advice Mary Beth. I know a girl who prayed to St. Joseph & everything she prayed for she got : a free trip to UK to see the Pope (2010), a free trip to Medugorje, a job, then last time I met her she was praying to him again, this time for a husband. Well guess what?? she met a lovely guy & got married a year ago. I asked her for the novena & she sent me a link to a 30 day novena to St. Joseph. I have prayed it a few times since but nothing I have prayed for has happened yet!!! Makes me wonder why she got everything & I didn’t but there you go, I can’t give up trying because I don’t know what God’s plan is & maybe the next time I pray the 30 day novena is the time I will meet my Mr. Right, it it’s God’s will for me to marry. I guess you just have to keep trusting that God has a plan for you, for me, for all of us & that girl I mentioned was just fortunate.

    • Liz-609023 February 25, 2014 Reply

      Don’t forget, If your prayers aren’t being used they’ll be stored in heaven for something. God has reasons for everything. I envy that girl too. I’m still single.

  25. Claire-1063088 February 24, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Mary Beth for your very enlightening article.

    Needless to say I have been struggling with being single as well..I just find it very hard to accept that if one is neither called into the marriage or religious life and you’re left bring single..is that a vocation as well?

    I sometimes feel that God has abandoned me..I shall wait but hopefully I’m prepared for any eventuality!

  26. Alma-953915 February 24, 2014 Reply

    I get that we don’t love God as a genie and all, but part of the problem too is the fact that we’ve all set too high standards for even other Catholics to try to meet. How does this site have so many likeminded Catholics, and hardly any dates or successes? The standards are too high for anyone, but God to meet. We are not God! I think people are taking it too far with the goal of getting each other to Heaven, as literally expecting the other person to be a scholar in theology already, who attends Latin Mass on a daily basis. Those profiles scare me away, because it expects too much out of a person, like perfection; only God is perfect. What happened to just starting out with going to Mass and praying together, even if it’s just a small prayer? Over time, it can grow to Adoration and attending Latin Mass together and all, but to expect it right off the bat like that just seems delusional. Unfortunately, I notice less and less holy unions happening, because of this arrogant attitude of having to meet all these spiritual requirements in order to give someone a chance.

  27. Hope-1049882 February 24, 2014 Reply

    It is very hard to keep contextualizing my singleness, year after year, not as a deprivation but as a chance that few others get to grow spiritually, particularly to lean on Jesus as a spouse, as the most handsome, wonderful, caring, manly man who ever lived. To love him and to live my life entirely with him, faithfully. When I feel lonely, I try to turn that feeling right around as soon as I’m aware I’m slipping into self-pity. And I say to myself, “When I do have a husband, these solitary moments to go deep with the Lord are going to be harder to come by, so let me embrace this moment fully now, in gratitude that I have this space.”

    As the truth about what Mary Beth wrote sinks in more and more clearly — that there are fewer true practicing Catholics and the pool of candidates is just smaller, like it or not — and when I realize that even this depressing fact is not going to cause me to compromise on these life-giving Catholic values of chastity and virtue, even if it means I never share my life with a man — When I let all this really sink in, and realize that many of us ARE going to be single, I ponder the collective power of all of us together. Could we use our collective singleness to help strengthen the Church’s commitment to the sacrament of marriage? It sounds grim, but what I’m trying to say is, Could we be the remnant of people who have watched the culture turn secular and (in my opinion) not healthy, and devote ourselves to activities that reinforce the reason why the Catholic faith is so bullish on marriage? I’m not expressing myself very clearly here, but what I’m saying is that I’m very glad to be part of a group of people that holds to a high, traditional standard, even when it looks like the secular, materialist world is “winning” (which it’s not). Is there a way to get together and give value and voice to our views and thus help strengthen marriage as a worthy goal for the next generation of Catholics?

    • Julie G. March 14, 2014 Reply

      Hope, this is a late reply, but I couldn’t agree more with what you said: we need to collectively give our singlehood as a sacrifice for the culture. I’m not sure how to do actively do that, but if you guys get a forum together to talk about this, please could me in!

  28. Jon-1060512 February 24, 2014 Reply

    Nice response Marty Beth.

    I feel the same way as Hurting at times. I am sure God exists; but I question whether or not he is punishing me by not sending Miss Right my way. Aha! May be He is saving me the trouble of going through a divorce, paying alimony, paying attorney fees, depression, etc. 🙂

    I will wait; and may be someday when He deems it appropriate, I will find my Miss Right.

  29. Leanne-387609 February 24, 2014 Reply

    Great response. Sometimes when I feel angry or left out with God, I have to remember that God gives us grace each day to live out our Christian lives.

  30. Deborah-1018849 February 24, 2014 Reply

    Thank you all for reconnecting the true purpose for God in our lives. When we are lonely and hurting it is easy to forget when you are in a fog of despair.

  31. Luz-1055440 February 23, 2014 Reply

    Bitter medicine but good for the soul, and unfortunately, Easier said than done: needing so much a third party (a couple) to fight loneliness will push them away. A priest recommended to me during confession to pray for the gift of gratitude… For all the beauty and blessings I do have…
    So that it helps me to remove the focus on what I don’t have…
    Because what I don’t have May take the place that should be God’s only place, meaning: the space of all my thoughts and energy…
    So pray for a change of focus, pray for a sincere desire within the heart to change all current wants fly the only want that can satisfy for Eternity, the desire for fullness in God…
    God bless,

    • Jennifer-309886 February 27, 2014 Reply

      I’d really appreciate more advice on how to keep going when one feels called to marriage but it still hasn’t happened past the age of forty. I love working with children and have done so on and off since the age of 16 however now, I see the likelihood of having my own children disappearing fast. Even the option of adoption may be tricky if I’m still single and over the age of 45…
      How does a person who feels called to marriage keep journeying through single-hood long term with the threat that it might never happen hanging overhead?

  32. Bill-424918 February 23, 2014 Reply

    Mary Beth, thanks for your comments. Wow – great advice! (Thanks also to the person who posed the question – I think we’ve all experienced at least some of these feelings at one time or another.)

    One practical thing I might add — from what I can tell, most Catholic churches are just not setup very well for people to get to know one another on a Sunday. We have the quick “Hi, how are you?” before Mass starts, and the noisy coffee and donuts setting after, but no Church I’ve attended ever offered a small group on Sunday where we could get to know one another, share testimonies, ask for prayer intentions or just discuss how things are going. Most churches offer these at some point during the week, but by then you’re preaching to the choir and you’ve missed a great opportunity to build the community.

    We should take a page from the Protestant playbook. Most of the Protestant churches I’ve visited offer a Bible Study or some other small group on Sunday. These groups are great ways to get to know one another. Anyway, it just seems like a huge opportunity missed. Too bad we just don’t naturally expect to meet with a small group on Sunday to talk about how we’re going to put the readings into action, etc. and then go worship in the sanctuary.

    Plus, I think there would be a whole lot less Catholic singles having difficulty meeting a mate! 🙂 Church should be the natural place for us Catholics to meet. And IMO it just isn’t…

    • Kris-308900 February 25, 2014 Reply

      Very well said, Bill. I agree that church should be better geared for getting to know each other. I have belonged to parishes that had active Young Adult or Single Adult groups, but few parishes have many activities like that for over 35ish. I make a big effort to meet people at other Catholic events in the Diocese and I am involved in several Catholic and Christian ministries. However, I think each parish should make it easy for people to meet each other. Not just singles, but that definitely helps singles connect with each other.

  33. Gerard-Marie Anthony February 23, 2014 Reply

    Great Job Mary Beth!!! We must be careful as Pope John Paul II says in his Theology of the Body not to make the icon (marriage) into an idol (the center and purpose of our lives). You said this marvelously in your response. We must also remember peace is a gift from God and we really have to clear the hurdles from within that keep us from receiving this; namely trying to make God into our own image, instead of remembering we are in His. Meaning He (God) is love…unconditional and pure. We don’t have to please Him for the sake of a reward (of our vocation or future spouse) but remember the words of the great Fulton Sheen, “God is not something extrinsic to us, like a reward, but is intrinsic to us like an flower that blooms.” God and His plan are within because He has put His Spirit and love within us. If what we desire is love, we need to look within, trust, and nourish the gift to let it grow. I leave everyone with these words from 1Jn. 4:16-19 which build on Mary Beth’s beautiful response to keep our eye on the true prize, the only love that will fulfill us:

    We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
    We love because he first loved us.

  34. Lynea-297530 February 23, 2014 Reply

    “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” — St. Augustine of Hippo, an early Church Father

    • Liz-609023 February 25, 2014 Reply

      That’s true. Every mystic, like St Catherine of Sienna, (brides of Christ) will tell you the same story.

  35. Tara-916139 February 23, 2014 Reply

    This is such a fantastic reply, Mary Beth. Thank you for making some really good points, such as:

    “That is why you “follow the rules.” Not because God promises you a spouse in return. But because you love Him and want to honor Him with your life, regardless of the outcome.”

    What a great reminder that God is not there to simply answer our prayers and to reward us for trying to follow His will for our lives. I have naively and selfishly thought this way for so long, and that isn’t a true picture of how our God loves and cares for us.

    I have also learned that life involves much suffering, that things are never ‘fair,’ and that I need to thank Our Father for every cross I am given, focusing on Him rather than on comparison to others.

    Meg, I really loved all that you had to say, as well! St. Therese just spoke through you, so I must thank you for that 😉 Something I have realized with carrying heavy crosses is what a real blessing they are, as they so often force us straight into God’s arms. Were we given our every desire, would we feel the desire or need to run to Him as frequently as we do? ‘Blessed are they who are poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.’

  36. Frank-780947 February 23, 2014 Reply

    There’s no doubt there are a lot fewer Catholics following the rules….which makes it discouraging.

    • Liz-609023 February 25, 2014 Reply

      I agree with you. It’s very sad. You even see it on the profiles on Catholic Match.

  37. Bradley-266389 February 23, 2014 Reply

    This post actually has described my relationship with God, and my being single right up until a few weeks ago. A woman I had liked romantically since 2007 had just got into a relationship in early 2013, and engaged at the end of 2013, and I was very angry. Moreover, yes, I had been following Church teachings, and living a morally-upstanding life, and I was being bombarded with pictures of couples in my Facebook news-feed of childless couples who are my age, and the latest thing they had for dinner together (along with a few of those red “equals” signs that came up around March 2013–from couples identifying themselves as Catholic, no less). Moreover, something even more terrible happened at the end of March which I will not go into.

    I definitely began to question whether God exists or not. However, I found something to focus on. I decided to become Grand Knight of my Knights of Columbus council, listen to Father Mike Schmitz’s podcast (see http://www.umdcatholic.org/homiliesmain), read some Scott Hahn books, and basically follow St. Paul’s advice to the Philippians to “…fill [my] mind with those things that are good…” (I seriously underestimated the goodness of that advice for a large part of my life). Now, my devotion to going to daily Mass doesn’t feel like a chore, and I fear being single a lot less. I have even begun thinking of ways to serve my work-community better, like starting up a series of journal-club meetings (I am a physicist).

    So, if you are feeling down because of your single-hood, definitely try and listen to inspirational things. In this age of the Internet and information, such things are literally at your fingertips. I repeat: the replacement of feelings of despair and loneliness with feelings of inspiration are literally a click away. Don’t make the mistake I did, and wait until you’re 30 to fill your head with good things, and stop feeling sorry for yourself! 🙂

  38. Meg-920823 February 23, 2014 Reply

    Very well spoken, Mary Beth. It reminds me of the song “I Beg Your Pardon. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.” Another perspective comes to mind too: God sends Crosses to those He loves the most. I imagine Jesus looking at us with His eyes half-closed due to His injuries and He asks, “Will you help Me carry this Cross?” How can we look away and say “But I wanted a nice, happy life…”

    This is so hard to remember when it gets tough though. 🙁

  39. Obianuju-794337 February 23, 2014 Reply

    Wow, what an excellent reponse! God bless you, Mary Beth.

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