One of the many roles that a priest takes on is that of a Matchmaker.It’s not something that we are trained for but then what are we trained for?! “All things to all people” #St Paul. I was approached once by a girl along with her mum. “Father, I want to get married but I can’t find a boy (Where are all the catholic boys anyway??) You are always with young people. Do you know any boy who is God-fearing, well-educated, with a good job, preferably no unmarried sisters…lol!…doesn’t smoke or drink, and who will love me and put me before himself?” I looked at her and her mom with a straight face, “Well, with that description, I guess I’m the only one available!” No wait, I’m already a priest ?
Well, here are 10 pointers to all those who are seeking a spouse.
- First of all, let’s make one thing clear. Being single is not a crime!In fact the Catholic Church has three states of life or vocations: marriage, religious and being single. All of us know people who have stayed single and devoted themselves to the care of their families or in other tasks. They witness God’s love in their daily life. So get married because you want to, not because you have to.
- Pray! If you are to get married, then God has chosen someone for you. But if you don’t pray, you are not using half of your strength and your chosen one is going to take that much longer to find. Don’t go on to the following steps unless you’ve done this first.
- Let your friendly neighbourhood priest know that you are looking for someone. Except me of course (I have a terrible phobia of match making).
- Let the ‘Aunties’ in your family and neighbourhood know too. But please be specific about what you DON’T want. This will save you much time and trouble.
- Attend every wedding you possibly can and gather the courage to ask the singletons there for a dance. Go around, socialise. Get out there and meet people. God is not going to FedEx your beau to your doorstep.
- Have you checked out all your ‘FRIENDS’ on Facebook? Is there someone there with whom you can reconnect?
- Buy The Examiner every week at from your Church bookstall and look up the Matrimonials section. If you know (1) What The Examiner is (2) That I happen to work for The Examiner and (3) You feel that this is cheap publicity to make you buy The Examiner…then you can be forgiven if you decide to skip this step. You can maybe look other publications like Tabor too!
- Register yourself at online marriage bureaus and of course, the ones run by parishes. It’s a great way of meeting people. (Helpful Hint: Stay away from the ‘Thou art holy’ types. If the guy or girl keeps insisting how often they go to Potta or that they are deeply prayerful and that they receive visions or how many priests and bishops they know, walk away! There’s something fishy there.) And don’t forget to unregister yourself once you are married…unless you want to keep receiving proposals!
- Now this is important: Of course you will have a list of expectations about your future spouse but also mark out those that you would be willing to be flexible about. Remember: the perfect spouse doesn’t exist! You yourself are not perfection personified. Also, just because he or she satisfies all the conditions I mentioned in my opening para doesn’t mean that they will make a good spouse. Being a good spouse means so much more. You will have flaws, he will have flaws. Unless you find that too objectionable, accept it and move on.
- Lastly, when you are meeting someone, don’t GIFTWRAP yourself. Present yourself as you are, the real you. Don’t be eager to impress or oversell yourself. Be kind, courteous, humble and be yourself. People love that.
I’ll end with this: Marry for love. Don’t just rush into marriage because the years are running by. Don’t settle for someone just because you can’t find anyone else. It’s a mistake. Your heart will tell you when you’ve found the right person. And yes…when you’ve finally found someone, do tell your priest. He will be happy to pray for you’ll and bless you’ll.
Fr Joshan Rodrigues is from the Archdiocese of Bombay, India. He is currently studying Institutional and Church Communications at the Pontifical Holy Cross University in Rome. Travelling, reading and social media are his passions. His drive is to make Church teaching more accessible to younger audiences and he holds G.K. Chesterton, Bishop Robert Barron and the Venerable Fulton Sheen among his role models for this task. Also do read Fr. Joshan’s Music in Catholic Land