I’m just wondering if anyone can give some advice that can help a best friend of mine. I’m just not sure what to say to her at this point, because I don’t think I’m objective anymore.
She is a wonderful, practicing Catholic and beautiful inside and out. She got engaged last week to an equally great Catholic guy. She was absolutely thrilled, as were their families and friends.
They have kind of a long history. They are in their late twenties now, but met about seven years ago in college. After dating for a short period of time, they broke up when she had some life-changing family issues happen that took all of her time and energy. They remained friends and eventually that friendship became a very important one. She dated other people but he was in the back of her mind.
Eventually they developed feelings for each other again. However, he was exploring the potential for entering the seminary and so they held off dating. For… quite awhile. At least a year. After much spiritual direction (for both of them), he decided to enter the seminary. She was heartbroken but determined to move on and support his decision. So, she went abroad for a year. She earned a masters degree at a Catholic university in Rome. They were out of contact (purposely) for a year.
He had a wonderful first semester in seminary. But, the second was not so smooth and he became very depressed. He came home for the summer after his parish assignment (which did not go well–he found it very lonely and depressing). Two of their good college friends were getting married this same summer–to each other. My friend and this guy were slated to be the maid of honor and best man. So, they began spending time together during some reception planning.
Unbeknownst to my friend, he had already decided after much turmoil and further spiritual direction to leave seminary for the time being. She reconnected with him after the final decision was made. They continued talking and a few months later were officially dating again, with the support of both their spiritual advisors.
He applied for grad school and was accepted a few states away. She followed (with the advice of her spiritual director and his) and they have lived separately for the last year and a half, continuing their relationship and discernment. He has continued to wonder about his vocation and had much anxiety about making the wrong decision. Yet he has loved her and stayed with her and continued spiritual direction.
He came to the decision recently that it was time to make a decision. That moving forward with my friend was his true vocation and calling. So, he proprosed… had some anxiety beforehand, but moved through it and voila, they are engaged.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I guess he told her he’s beginning to have second (tenth?) thoughts about the priesthood. She of course was literally ill to hear this–they just got engaged, after all. Of course he is not making any decisions–he is very, very slow to make decisions as he is careful to process his thoughts and spend time with a lot of prayer. But, it must be torture to wonder and worry how your fiance feelings about marriage to you.
She insists she wants to know all of these daily fluctuations so she isn’t hit with a bomb if he ever breaks off the engagement. I find myself hesitating with what I want to say and what I should say. Privately, my husband thinks she needs to walk away and let him figure things out without her constant support and availability. She has waited for him for SO long. However, I know she would NEVER do that… which kind of worries me. She is afraid that if she walks away and he doesn’t come back to her, it will be because she left. I think she would blame herself and have a constant “if only” complex.
Anyway, I just don’t know what to say to her at this point. I find myself worried about her wanting to marry a man who can’t quite decide he wants to DEFINITELY marry her, you know? But I don’t know if saying that is appropriate–I’ve said things like that before and it was very hurtful to her. Are there other men out there who experienced a lot of doubt or worry about which vocation was truly his to have? He is equally torn up about this.
I don’t remember having any doubt about my impending marriage after engagement, and neither does my husband. Does anyone else have a different experience? What finally happened to push you in a direction?