People say stuff. Stuff they’ve read in Hallmark cards, heard in movies, or from some “spiritual” aunt.
It’s the sort of stuff that’s become cliche and to which, they tell me, the proper social response is a head nod and a ‘mmmmm’ sound of agreement.
One of those cliche’s is, “There’s someone out there for everyone.” It comes in a variety of forms: “God has someone out there for you.” “Everyone has a soulmate who’s especially for them,” etc. etc.
I see no reason, Biblically or otherwise, to think this is true (maybe you do and you can enlighten me in the comment section). And given the spiritual and moral climate in which we live, I suspect many people—especially Catholic women—if they wish to remain faithful to Christ, will have to remain alone. Until death. . . . How you feeling?
. . .
Now, by “alone” I don’t mean without loved ones, I mean what people usually mean when they say, “I don’t want to die alone”—without a spouse.
I read an article about the marriage crisis in China, Where The Boys Are, that said, due to a cultural preference for boys (the girls are being killed in utero), there is now such a severe gender imbalance that unmarried men will soon outnumber unmarried women by an estimated 40 million. In other words, there are many men who may wish to marry but who probably won’t be able to (at least if they remain in China).
In the United States and other western countries, I think the opposite problem is happening.
Due to the fact that many men have been emasculated and juvenilized by porn, there now exists a huge imbalance such that unmarried Catholic women who are willing and ready to marry have outnumber unmarried Catholic men who are neither willing nor ready by a huge proportion.
If you’re a single Catholic woman in your 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
And Yet All Are Called to Love
St. John Paul the Great wrote in his encyclical letter, Redemptor Hominis, “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.”
Beautiful, yeah? But notice he didn’t say, “Man cannot live without a spouse.” or “Man cannot live without sexual intimacy.”
Some Advice . . . For What It’s Worth
If you’re a young adult woman terrified of dying alone, my encouragement to you would be threefold:
1. Remain faithful to Christ, even though you may be tempted to despair, or to lower your standards. Christ promised to bring you life, and life to the full (Jn 10:10). He did not say you’ll find this life when you find your “soulmate” . . . whatever that is.
There are many people who are living celibate lives to the full. Beautiful, joyful people. I had the privilege recently of meeting the daughter of St. Gianna Molla. This is the daughter St. Gianna gave her life to save. You cannot meet Gianna (named after her mother) without realizing immediately that here is a woman in love with Jesus Christ. She radiates peace and joy even though she has never married.
2. Speak to any Catholic woman you know who is married and, if she’s honest, she’ll share with you the cross that marriage and motherhood can be. I don’t say this to minimize the cross of the single life, not at all, but marriage is freaking tough, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was discovered that married people experience the same degree of loneliness and frustration as single people. And I’m not talking about marriages that are on the rocks, I’m talking about faithful Catholic ones. I think any Catholic woman worth her salt would tell you, “it would better that you remain unmarried than that you marry a man incapacitated to love you.
3. Find yourself a good spiritual director. The Church needs you now! The Church needs your energy, your intellect, your feminine genius now. Discern with your spiritual director how you can best make use of your gifts to build up the body of Christ instead of falling into the trap of waiting until marriage before you begin to serve.
Now with all that said, let me back-pedal a little. I’m not saying you won’t end up happily married. There are many good Catholic men out there and certainly if it’s the Lord’s will, He will make a way. So this isn’t an article about why you should just give up all hope on ever being married and join the convent already! If it’s come across that way it’s to counteract the contrary view that’s said far too often (at least in my circles) without qualification.
If you’re a young (or not so young) woman discerning marriage, one book I’d highly recommend is Jason Evert’s book, How to Find Your Soul Mate Without Losing Your Soul.
PLEASE, especially if you’re a single woman, share your thoughts below.
oh, and BTW, IHateMattFradd.com is open if anyone wants to start a blog.
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