Ten years back I had been twenty-four years of age. I was working in my first full-time lay ministry job at a parish and toying with the concept of going to graduate school. I had been navigating dating as an emotionally insecure young woman. 10 years later, I am a much more healthy and whole version of myself at every other time in my life. However, it has not come without personal suffering and transformation.
I get wed when I was twenty-six years old as well as in many ways I had been nowhere ready. Shortly after I married, I quickly found that my hubby wasn't the man he explained he was. Life was forever altered. 4 years later I experienced a divorce and annulment and located myself navigating new chapters I never dreamed that would be a part of my story.
Why share everything along with you?
Because 10 years ago, before I acquired married, I assumed lots of faulty (even unhealthy!) things about dating and relationships. Certain perspectives I latched onto were the minds that formed my understanding of marriage, which now I realize were not properly formed. I've spent considerable time reflecting and writing on my small personal blog on these ideas, but there are several points I find I keep coming back to.
Here are some things I wish I'd have known a decade ago.
Marriage isn't the ultimate end goal
Sometimes in Catholic culture I feel there's this hidden message that the sacrament of marriage is the ultimate end goal in everyday life. A prize at the finish line, the way you will know you have found its way to relation to relationships. The piece de resistance!
That is not true, but somehow we are able to treat it like such.
You aren't worth less if you're not married, or if your marriage ended. The sacrament of marriage is made up of two imperfect, flawed human beings. Marriage is not a right, or necessarily our destiny. It's a vocation you're called into.
My end goal in this earthly life is not really a happily-ever-after marriage using the “perfect” Catholic guy (that does not exists for men or women!). My objective is Heaven.
Sure, I need to get married again someday. But in the depths of my spirit, I know and believe a truth I certainly did not know ten years ago. Marriage isn't the objective of my entire life. Being married will not assist me to love myself better or fix what's hurting within me.
Let's stop talking and acting like being married is an essential thing this side of Heaven. The most important thing is to be like Jesus and someday spend eternity in Heaven with him.
Go on Plenty of dates
There is absolutely no problem with going on lots of dates with various types of people! In fact, going on plenty of dates with different types of people will assist you to figure out what you are looking for in a serious relationship.
What would be the most important things you are looking for?
How about the stuff you cannot stand it a partner?
What are warning flags to notice?
How would you like to feel in a romantic relationship?
Going on dates gives you practice. Practice helps you evaluate your needs and wants. It may also help you grow in listening skills. You’ll learn how to trust yourself.
As a lady navigating online dating and relationships within my mid thirties, I practiced a lot of new concepts I didn't know ten years ago. Being open on and on on lots of dates for me personally was an important and healthy method to “unlearn” reasons for dating and relationships from my early twenties.
Live your very best life right now
Last winter, my spiritual director distributed to me top tips a Jesuit priest gave her years ago when she ran her doctorate: “You already have all you need to live an attractive, meaningful life.”
Those words were this type of comfort when i nursed a damaged heart from the recent heartbreak, trying to not feel hopeless about life going differently than I imagined.
Even if your season of life feels under ideal, you can still live your best life at this time.
Do not fall for the lie that life is going to be worth living when you have a man or woman to talk about it with. God wants us to reside in abundance, right now, regardless of our relationship status. The quality of our life should not be based on having a significant other or otherwise.
I have had to remind myself of this a lot a year ago. At times, it is simple and fun. Other days, Personally i think hopeless and merely want to pull the covers up around my head. Yet even around the rough days, I remind myself and know I'm living my life towards the fullest right now.
The older we obtain, the more we have to let go of ideas or messages which were not helpful or healthy to all of us in our younger years.
Are there specific pieces of advice you want had as a Catholic single ten years ago?
What would you keep at this time and what would you want to get rid of?
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