Dating in the modern world can be difficult. Even though technology offers us many tools to find romance, meeting a person you want to spend time with – and possibly the rest of your life with – can be a challenge. Recently on St. Joseph’s Workshop, Fr. Matthew Spencer discussed Catholic dating, as well as the question that is on the mind of many who are looking for a spouse: Where did all the good Catholics go?
Fr. Matthew said:
“You look out and you see Catholic online dating sites and you see all these people and you try to pick out the perfect match for you. And it’s getting harder and harder. And part of that is because people are practicing their faith less, and that’s true. Part of it is because it’s harder to find people that are living their faith in a stronger way. The data shows that too, very clearly. But there’s another part of the problem here, and it doesn’t have to do with all those people out there. It has to do with you. It has to do with your criteria in this search.
You have come to expect that you can have so much control over what you get in life because of all the options, because of all the choices. And now you expect to find that perfect person who will satisfy the deepest desires of your heart, that person who will match your dream, the person who will fulfill everything that you want – the perfect hair color, the perfect eye color, the perfect figure, etc. You think that it’s out there but we forget – that’s not what a vocation is about.
You and I have become so accustomed to be able to tailor every decision in our life that we’ve forgotten that we sometimes have to be comfortable with the people that God puts into our life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say you have to just lower your expectations and say, ‘Well, that’s it. I can’t find anybody whose faith is important to them, so I’m just gonna accept what’s in front of me.’ That’s not what I’m saying. You do have to keep your expectations up, you have to keep your expectations high. But you have to prioritize those expectations as well when you’re talking about dating or you’re talking about friendship, or when you’re talking about getting along with people in your life.
Maybe instead of looking for perfection out there, maybe this journey has to begin (or at least continue) with some introspection in your own life. Maybe part of the problem is inside of your heart and inside of your own life. Maybe it’s me. Or it’s you. And maybe we are wounded, and maybe we need to focus on our own healing first. Maybe we need to focus on the mistakes that we’ve committed and the sins that have affected our life.
Look at the options and the means you have to find the person out there! You could find somebody halfway around the world these days that you may have never bumped into before, and yet you’re still not happy with that. There are so many people out there and yet you’re still not happy with any of them. Well, maybe it needs to start with healing ourselves first, looking into the mirror and saying, ‘What are the things I need to work on in my own life? What are those areas where I am imperfect? Where I can grow, where I can be that example of conversion and of growth in the spiritual life to other people?
That will change your perspective. I guarantee it will change your perspective as you continue your search for the person God desires for you in your vocation. All of a sudden it’s not about finding perfection out there, it’s realizing that perfection is this process that God is taking us through. God is leading us from glory to glory, leading us one step to the next to perfection. And therefore we don’t need to find the ‘perfect spouse’ so much as we need to have our priorities in order.”
Listen to more wisdom from Fr. Matthew below:
St. Joseph’s Workshop with Fr. Matthew Spencer airs weekdays from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Pacific on Immaculate Heart Radio.