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Stop looking for marriage, start looking for love

It's very easy to idealize the sacrament of marriage. As a society, we tend to focus on a perfect wedding day, followed by decades of wedded bliss.

We tell ourselves that marriage will be work, but it will be worth it. And of course, these grand plans benefit from a haze of idealism and (for many of us), the unknown reality that is married life. 

While daydreaming isn't a terrible thing, it often makes us focus on the wrong things. 

No, I'm not saying you should not get married. Rather, I'm talking about a mindset. Sometimes as a Catholic, we put so much emphasis on marriage, that we forget what actually leads to marriage. If you're searching, don't search for a wife or a husband. 

Instead, focus on looking for a lasting, meaningful connection and sustainable, deep love. 

When you're thinking of a partner who qualifies as 'marriage material', we tend to think of a set of specific criteria. When dating (or even just meeting people), it's easy to quickly start to compare against criteria in your mind. The weakness of setting criteria is that it skews perception.

It can be very easy to 'write people off' when comparing against a criteria, because the minute a single box does not get checked, it is human nature to hyper focus on that single unchecked box. Conversely, you may be a very easy grader, and you might grade a prospect too easily. 

The inverse of writing people off would be overlooking critical shortcomings in that person and in your reaction to that person. Equally poor decisions. 

Love on the other hand has no criteria because it is a feeling. There's no real way to list out reasons as to why you love someone, except that you just love them. As such, there are no list of criteria. Once you have this loving feeling, and (god willing) the other develops the same feeling, then an ideal and sustainable marriage will follow.

Marriage will still mean work and sacrifice, but having a strong foundation of love will make everything easier. 

So, get rid of your list, don't worry about checking boxes. Instead, focus on a meaningful connection and balance those critical items after you gauge your connection. You'll be glad you did. 


  1. Well said. I would add that recently single people that have not yet move past their previous relationship also tend to have this "check-in the box" mentality when there interesting in dating.


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