“Out of Your League,” Catholic Edition

Round Two for Single Catholic Dudes

My post on advice for single Catholic guys struck a nerve. Good!

Few of the guys who commented liked taking this particular medicine. Most of the women were cheering. Well, rather than easing up, I’m gonna double-down in this post and offer more advice for the guys. First, consider the following:

The “Out of Your League” Phenomenon

I know three guys right now who are either married or are about to be married to young women who are by all rights completely out of their league.

Maybe you know someone like this. The guy isn’t exactly Brad Pitt, but the young woman is quite lovely. What gives? How’d that guy get so lucky? Three qualities:

1. Perseverance

These guys don’t give up. Maybe they ask their future bride out and are shot down. Or they go out and there’s no chemistry. No matter. They keep at it. They don’t go away. They just keep showing up.

They’re those scrappy kids on the basketball team who win every rebound and steal the ball frequently and are diving on the floor to get a loose ball.

It may take months, or even years, but eventually the young lady realizes, by God’s grace, that this man is the one she has been looking for. He was there all the time, but she didn’t know it yet.

2. Conviction

These guys typically also have some strong conviction to an ideal or ministry: pro-life, politics, Catholic evangelism, whatever. They’re out there at every march yelling out the prayers and carrying flags. They work full-time on their mission or spend much of their free time on it.

Young women, especially those who share the same passion, are naturally drawn to this quality. And unsurprisingly it can lead to more–a powerhouse couple even!

3. Boldness

These guys ask girls out. They even ask girls out who are out of their league. They face their fears and courageously go for it. They want to make sure that if God has someone for them, they are going to find her! And they do, because they do their part in boldly asking girls out.

Conclusion on the phenomenon: This may or may not be your thing. It may be totally against your personality. That’s fine. It wasn’t really my cup of tea. But I did glean some key tips from observing these guys and worked on improving them in myself. They were legitimate areas where I needed some help. Maybe it will help you, too.

Spiritual Formation

Many of the men (and women) who were critical pointed I that I didn’t mention prayer, the sacraments, spiritual formation. They were right to do so, as in my haste I forgot to mention that the entire preceding pages of the book are on these subjects. Katie and I both discuss it, so rest assured the topic is covered extensively.

In fact, the practical tips I was giving assume you are striving daily to follow Christ and become a saint. It’s a given in my life and in my wife’s, so I assume it is a given in the lives of most faithful Catholics. Thousands of books have been written on spiritual formation, and if you need recommendations, check out anything by St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Teresa of Avila (among many, many other great saints!).

You are seeking the spouse that God has for you, but God expects you to do your part: brush your teeth, cut your hair, dress in clean and attractive clothes, learn some social skills and get out there and ask a girl out.

No Formula

Related to this, there is no formula to “get” a spouse. Some people left comments accusing me of implying this. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone is different; every couple is different.

The goal isn’t to “get” a spouse. The goal is to answer God’s calling for your life, the call that will fulfill you and help you do your utmost for the Kingdom, by God’s grace. But that doesn’t preclude the need for a short list of basic things you can do to help improve yourself, both at a natural and at a supernatural level.

Women Aren’t Around Here

What if the faithful single Catholic women are nowhere near you? What if they don’t go to Mass that you can see?

Firstly, visit some other parishes, go at different times, and see if indeed they are really nowhere to be found. Maybe they all mostly go to the parish across town and go to the 11 am Mass not the 9 am one. Maybe you will find a few incredibly faithful ones at daily Mass.

Look for the single Catholic groups and join them. Or, as my friend Nick suggested, start one!

At the same time, maybe you live in a smallish town with two parishes and there really are no good matches for you. That’s possible. It was the case for me and Katie: when we began corresponding through CatholicMatch and Ave Maria Singles, she was in Podunkville and there was very little chance of her meeting any single guy who even could meet her at an intellectual level, much less a spiritual one. Fortunately for us, both of us opened up the door to online Catholic sites “just in case” that was how God had chosen to bring us together. And lo! it was just so.

The other option if you live in Nowheresville is to cut bait and move to a bigger place that has a happening Catholic scene already going on. Get Outta There! No shame in that. Do whatcha gotta do.

Conclusion

Finding your spouse is a mystery known to God alone, Who reveals it to both of you in the fullness of time. It’s beautiful and exciting. So many factors go into it that no list of steps or tips can possibly suffice to serve everyone in their unique situation. But there are good ideas that are worth considering and figuring out whether they might work for you, not to “get” a spouse but to help you grow to become a more integrated, mature human being, closer to the person God made you to be, and therefore closer to knowing His will for you in every area of life.

Round Two: What do you think about these tips for finding your spouse?

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18 Responses to “Out of Your League,” Catholic Edition

  1. Sarah says:

    More great advice! I was unmarried all through my 20′s and began seeking a Christian/Catholic spouse in my late teens (really felt it was my calling). So that’s 10+ years of searching haha. It was hard and seemed every obstacle existed at some point. Anyway, it got to a point where I was convinced I would not meet Mr. Right locally. The chances were pretty slim given the very poor faith formation among the young in my area. So, I too kept the door open to AMS where I met some great folks and yes, considered moving although in my case God kept shutting that door. So imagine my surprise when I met my now-husband at my local parish! We had grown up in adjacent neighborhoods and would have attended the same school if he hadn’t been home schooled. In fact, our parents knew each other, and we’d been attending the same parish as young adults for a few years! I just didn’t meet him until a few of us took initiative to start a “Young Adult’s” Group. Suddenly, young adults seemed to show up out of nowhere! Many of us found our spouses through this group, and the next few years were flooded with new friendships and fun weddings.

    Now, I don’t know if I am truly “out of my hubby’s league” haha, but he is an introvert who did NOT let his quiet ways get in the way. He took a lot of initiative with me even when I wasn’t initially interested. It took 6 months after meeting to even get me on a date. (And yes, his attendance at the National March for Life during that 6-month interim – where he attempted to be my ride – was noted :)). Perseverance does pay off!

    • Devin Rose says:

      Sarah, this is great! Thank you also for confirming my own anecdotal experience. It’s actually a running joke with my wife and I that she was “out of my league”–and it’s only a partial jest to say so. :)

      That is also good to hear that starting a young adult group brought people together who otherwise may not have met. Very cool.

  2. Augustine says:

    I’ll just add a warning note about the girls out of one’s league: he may find himself too enthused about the girl and, perhaps unconsciously, decide that he’s got to charm this one for she’s the prettiest girl he could ever meet. In doing so, he might fail to get to know her well or overlook many of her traits, both potentially leading to an unhappy marriage.

    Definitely, one’s prayer and sacramental lives are of utmost importance in order to discern if one is the spouse that God meant for one. If one’s not solidly grounded in God, one might end up making another a god, and men in particular can easily fall in this trap about a pretty girl.

    +JMJ+

  3. Brent says:

    Remember:

    “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” -Proverbs 31:30

    If you are looking for an “out of your league” woman, look for an “out of your league” Godly woman.

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  6. Trista says:

    Another piece of advice for men: when pursuing a woman, if she does turn you down, please persevere with kindness. I cannot tell you how shocked I was when I (very nicely) turned down one or two Catholic men, who then responded very harshly and tried to bully me into a date! Saying things like, “You owe me a chance” or “I read on your blog that you went on a date with a stranger, so I have NO IDEA why you won’t go out with me” does not endear you in the eyes of the lady.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Trista, yes that is a good point. Don’t be a Mr. Collins and ignore the lady when she tells you that she can’t stand you in no uncertain terms!

    • enness says:

      Yes! If for some reason (and there can be many, or none — nobody ever said it was fair) you are NOT her Mr. Right, with strategy #1 you do run the risk of being annoying at best and, at worst, looking like a stalker. Be careful.

  7. TheInformer says:

    Isn’t the assumption here that single men WANT to get married?

    What exactly are the advantages? I am not yet convinced although I do acknowledge the obvious: intimacy, caretaker when you’re seriously ill, possibly children. Otherwise, what’s your argument for getting married.

    I live a celibate life and it’s fantastic!

    A few years ago was a website nomarriage.com, which has since become something else. Anyhow, the guy said that EXCEPT for deepest most genuine religious and philosophical grounds, no man should marry. Furthermore, he should look for the best quality women from: Asia, South America/Central Am. etc, and Eastern Europe. His argument was that Western Women were so corrupted by ideas of “50/50 marriages” and competition with husbands and self actualization, that they were nearly all unsuitable women for decent marriages and a guy ignoring this would set himself up for years of irritation, frustration, and suffering. FOR WHAT? Further that many/most were psychologically unbalanced and on some kind of pharmaceuticals for neurosis etc.

    Having worked in a woman’s world for many many years, I’d have to agree generally. That’s prob why so many of these guys spend YEARS finding that rare “diamond” among the herd.

    • Lynea says:

      “The Informer”: I almost hope that you meet a tiny, Korean woman who comes from a “traditional family” who you will marry and then will boss the heck out of you. –Cheers! :)

    • Dave says:

      Each individual is different. There are plenty of beautiful, godly women around. Marrying outside of one’s own culture has pitfalls as well, many of which won’t be noticed until you are already married. Try to give people a chance.

  8. Sarah says:

    TheInformer – I don’t think Devin is assuming all men want to get married (or are called to marriage). If you read his blog regularly you can see that as a Catholic, he encourages men to discern many callings (including singlehood and the priesthood). I can’t tell what your background is, but Catholicism teaches us to find our life purpose, not just get hitched.

    Also, I find the implication that men should look for “eastern women” to be insulting and stereotyping. And not really supported. I used to manage the marriage and parenting sections of a website and used to interact with readers all over the US as well as read studies on these topics. Culturally, American women are actually rather traditional in their desires to get married, stay home with their kids, etc. In a college course on family relationships, our professor once asked us to raise our hands if we were women seeking a “traditional” set-up of staying home with our kids. Bear in mind, we were all their to get our undergrad degrees. 90% of the class raised their hands, and he said, yep, that’s the response he usually gets. I agree that there are many dysfunctional aspects of feminism in our culture, but give women a little more credit. We’re not all man-hating and selfish (and there is no utopian society with “perfect” women). Sheesh. And bear in mind Western men are also… Western. If our culture is a disaster, then they’ve been affected too and might have some serious issues too that maybe these “eastern women” might not want to deal with (or are we assuming that Western men are God’s gift to humanity?).

    It also doesn’t really fit into the Catholic culture Devin is writing for in this piece… us Catholic ladies look for equal *dignity* in marriage but typically not for some 50/50 men-and-women-are-the-same type arrangements. And I’d caution for those cultures that DO encourage a sort of patriarchal arrangement that at times, that can go horribly wrong (I’ve seen this even in super traditional Catholic circles where men are demeaning and unfair to their wives). So yeah, I am not impressed with this advice. We should all seek out marriage to give 100% of ourselves to another person in love (both men and women).

  9. Lynea says:

    Well, I had joined a Catholic Youth Group in my 20s, and was utterly scandalized by how UNCatholic these people were. I even got threatened by the leadership (2 leaders) for being too “traditional Catholic” and “Pre-Vatican II” (I was ignorant of so much of the Church’s teachings, that I had no idea what “Vatican II” was at the time). My way of life (chastity) was something that was a threat to their agenda, and they assumed I must have had an agenda as well. lol (This was Quest North and Quest South out of Buffalo, NY, by the way.) YEARS later, I joined a Catholic Young Adult group in the midwest, and was told that hanging out with the few, more pious people would brand me as “unpopular”. I persisted for a few years in hanging out with the people I admired, and then was phoned up by a leader in the group and asked to leave the group because I was “too old” (by that time I was 32), and young men looking for a spouse only want someone in their 20s. So I quietly obeyed, and was branded by the people I admired as having left because of the “Latin Mass” (which I had already been attending). I was not allowed to become a religious because I had a little debt after major lay off in my area, and weakened health. Now, 10 years later from having left that group, I find that the few single men that are around, are looking at women in their 20s, or are intimidated by someone who really believes everything the Church teaches.

    I think guys who are in their mid 30s and older, who don’t have a vocation, ought to ask themselves if they are really taking their spiritual life seriously. Don’t think that if you marry an “Eastern woman” (as the comment was brought up earlier) that she will necessarily not try to be your boss after you are married. That spirit of feminism is not limited to Western culture, but goes much deeper to the philosophical realm. The only way to truly weed that potentiality out, is by checking the orthodoxy of the person, not just merely on the surface, but on some of the more hidden areas. For instance, if a woman doesn’t have a holy fear of God, or she doesn’t care about trying to grow in the virtues, she may not be able to take correction very well, or wish to strive to put God first and her husband second. Now, all those cultural aspects of many of the Eastern societies may traditionally have yet customs that are rightly ordered towards family values, such as submission to one’s husband, HOWEVER, those customs are merely on the surface and quickly to be dissolved if and when the underlining philosophies are, never-the-less, worldly. Unless, of course, you meet an Eastern European or Asian woman who is Catholic AND lived in cave with her traditional family until shortly before she met you. In other words, love of the Christ and His Bride and the values that are traditionally held by the Church are what a Catholic single man should be seeking in a woman, rather than prejudge a woman simply because she comes from “Western society” and/or a non-traditional family background.

  10. Augustine says:

    Unfortunately, we are fallen men and women. Suffering from concupiscence, we are overcome by fear, especially of each other. This fear breeds mistrust and it leads us to keep a safe distance between us. Yet, in our loneliness, we need each other’s company. In our wounded nature, knowing that we weren’t meant live in fear, we harden our hearts and find solace in pride. In this loneliness, we only get closer to others if we can control the other in order to calm our fears.

    Men and women may differ, but in how they tend to control each other and it doesn’t change much among cultures. If anything, different cultures differ mostly in the modus operandi and degree. For sure, some cultures are more poisonous than others, and affluent cultures tend to be more so. But unless a spouse comes from Shangri-la, the spouse will still be a fallen person, prone to the temptation to control the other out of fear.

    There is no way around it: we are fallen men and women and unless we abide by the cross of Jesus Christ and by His Church, we will forever suffer from the effects of original sin, living by pride and fear, trying to have dominion over others, especially those closest to us, to suit our own selfish drives. “Do not be afraid,” is of the essence.