Am not in a Catholic family, but feel called to family life - how?

I am an only child, father is a non-practicing protestant, mother died when I was young. I am currently going through RCIA at the age of 25. My initial push to go Catholic was being engaged to a girl who became Catholic, though I had been a high Anglican for some time before that and was probably going that way anyhow. Anyway, the girl I was engaged to called things off 4 months ago. Religious differences were part of this, as I was really embracing full obedience to the teachings of the Church whereas she had a much more open spirituality. I think in part this comes down to her being a naturally good person who doesn’t struggle with sin nearly as much as I do, and me being naturally quite harsh and down on myself.

Anyway, I still feel called to marriage, but am finding it increasingly difficult to find like-minded people. As a liberal Anglican as I used to be, I didn’t have too much difficulty fitting in with the beliefs of others, and when my fiancee and I met she wasn’t even Christian, so we have both been saved through that relationship, for which I am thankful. Anyway, now, as a conservative Catholic, I find that, at the age of 25, most like-minded women are already married or discerning for religious life. I feel like I’ve missed the boat.

Also, the church I attend is mostly made up of Catholics of African descent (I’m in the UK, so I’m talking recent i.e. within 50 years, African descent) who have very close extended families. It seems most of them meet their future spouses through friends of the family. As I have no family at church, and don’t share their culture, I am not sure how I’m supposed to become part of this. I have also tried getting involved in the Legion of Mary, who do a lot of good work in the parish, but I am more-or-less the only person under 40 there. Nonetheless, I like my church because of the sound Catholic teaching we receive there.

Should I give up on the idea of finding a wife? I feel like I missed my chance by not trusting and not respecting my fiancee, who really was the only woman I ever felt comfortable with. I still hope that in a few years fate may bring us back together, but I don’t see how as we are on different continents now.

I also feel called to go study for my PhD now, which will be a great opportunity to gain a skill to serve God in the world, but I know that this condemns me to 3-4 years on very little money, and lower-than-average salaries for my age-group for some time after that (in the UK at least). I would like people’s honest opinions here, especially married women, would you marry a man who wouldn’t be able to support you without you working a paid job? Would you rather marry a man who follows his dreams and his talents, or a man who is willing to sacrifice his dreams to make more money to allow you to live comfortably and have all the things that make you and your children happy?

Hi!
I’m an unmarried woman, considering becoming Catholic because I’m dating a Catholic man. My opinion is that I’d rather marry a man with less money now and dreams that are more in line with my own, than marry a man with a decent job that he’s bored in, and no dreams for the future.

My BF and I are both REALLY broke right now - I’m paying for a Master’s degree, and he’s working in a factory. I know that it’s going to be a real struggle to get married before our finances improve. But we’ve talked future, and we’ve talked budget, and we can figure it out.

Of course, I’m probably in the minority, and I’m neither Catholic nor married, so I don’t know what my opinion is worth. But I think doing what you love will make you more attractive to the kind of women you want to attract. Doing something worthwhile will make you the kind of man that the kind of woman you want will want (if you can follow my clumsy grammar!).

Anyway, there isn’t much point in holding off on your dreams to save enough money to marry a woman that you probably haven’t even met yet!

Good luck with everything.

Two observations - First, above you mentioned that you “have both been saved through that relationship.” Remember always that salvation is a continuing thing that can be lost.
Second, YOU ARE ONLY 25!!! Perhaps things are different across the pond, but in the U.S. 25 is not considered too late to marry. Personally, I won’t worry too much about when, where, and how. If God is calling you to married life, He will put the lady in your path. However, having said that, have you heard of catholicmatch.com or other services such as this? I’m sure that there must be Catholic dating sites in the U.K.? Take care and God bless.

When I was studying for my undergraduate, I was certain that I was called to the priesthood. There were certain times when my feeling was especially strong; the vocations director counseling me described each of these as a “tug of the heart.” Many members of my home parish, many of my friends, as well as my parents and family were also pretty sure that I had a calling to the priesthood. The funny thing is that I am now happily married (six years) and have four beautiful children.

I met my wife shortly after I let go and opened myself to the Lord’s will. I would highly recommend opening yourself up at Mass and allowing the Lord to lead you where He wants you to be. I wouldn’t worry about finding the right woman, if you are called to married life, the Lord will bring you and your future wife together. My wife and I discovered that even though we lived in different states, the Lord had placed us in the same building on no less than three occasions before we finally met and got it right!

With the Lord nothing happens by chance. Remember the words He taught us: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

I hope this helps!

Are you kidding me? Do you know how many young, faithful catholic women are lamenting the paucity of good men in the church??? Gosh, I could name about 15 friends who are beautiful, Catholic, and available, and haven’t discerned a calling to religious life. :slight_smile:

When I reverted, I had the same thought, from the opposite point of view. I thought that I’d never find a husband, because the only men I knew who were “on fire” with faith were evangelicals. I had never known a good Catholic man. Well, not much later I met my husband, who is far more devout and holy than I am. It’s a huge blessing.

And like everyone else is saying, if you’re calling is to be a husband nothing will prevent that from happening, except some kind of radical rejection of God’s will, which I don’t anticipate happening. God bless you - I’m so happy to hear about another man of God joining us in the Church.

P.S. I wouldn’t worry about your aspirations for PhD. Believe me, I know quite a few ladies who are on the lookout for that type of guy. :slight_smile: I’m in grad school myself, and there are a number of wives supporting their husbands through school (it’s a Catholic theology program).

Are any of them looking for a 25 yr-old Scotsman who’s starting PhD study? Can you set me up with an introduction? I’m willing to travel!
:thumbsup:

You are only 25! My DH was 30 when we married…

You will indeed find a good Catholic girl…I know you will! And sounds like she’ll be one lucky gal…

My Dh was 31 when we married, and he had thought he would never find a wife. We now have been happily married for 22 years. Don’t give up hope! Have you heard of Catholic Singles? That might be a good avenue to meet a good Catholic girl. I’d offer you my daughter but she’s already married, ha. You sound like a great person and I am sure you will be snatched up in a hurry. Just follow the plans God has for you and I am sure that you will find THE ONE for you.

First, I just want to say that I agree with what everyone else has already said… if God has called you to marriage, He will make sure that it is taken care of! :thumbsup: I know sometimes it’s hard to trust Him, but trust Him we must! :yup:

To answer your questions… I’ve been married for about 7 months, to a wonderful man who is pursuing his dreams and as a result has been out of work for about 15 months. I couldn’t be happier! :smiley: While it is hard sometimes because money is tight and we are both very busy, I would much rather have things the way they are than have him stuck in a job where he is not happy. Follow your calling and pursue that PhD… the woman meant for you will be more supportive than you could ever imagine!

I briefly skimmed the other posts, so forgive me if I’m overly repetitive. :o

I would feel exactly the same way, if I were in your position. Are you specifically looking for a wife who is your age? As a man, you have the advantage of marrying someone who is younger than you (as a woman, it has been my experience that in general, men my age or older are better suited emotionally and financially to start families sooner, which was a big thing for me). So, if you meet someone who is 20, you may look more appealing as marriage material than a similar guy who is closer to her age.

I would go for the Ph.D. Since you currently have no immediate marriage prospects, increasing your education won’t hurt anything. You can always re-evaluate your situation later, should you meet a woman you’d like to marry. The two of you can then talk about the advantages/disadvantages of continuing education and salary vs. when to have children. If you find someone who is a little younger, she may be a little more willing to postpone childbearing. You never know!

When I met my husband (at the tender age of 15), one of the things which attracted me to him was the fact that he wanted a wife who would stay home with his children. This was of utmost importance to me. It wasn’t about marrying someone who made lots of money, but who made just enough to allow me to stay home with the kids, and who wanted it as badly as I did.

There was another fellow who was interested in marrying me, but one of the biggest things (there were several others) that bothered me was that he had no higher education and no prospects for decent employment (in the short or long term) that could support a family.

My husband gave up his dream of flying for a living (he has a commercial pilot’s license), partially because of the instability of the aviation industry after September 11, 2001; and partially because he didn’t think the first several years of working up the aviation ladder were conducive to starting a family (and having me stay home). I would’ve supported him either way, and made sure he knew that before we got married. He made the decision to have a boring office job as an engineer (no offense to those engineers who love what they do; my hubby is just a pilot at heart :wink: ).

I love him so much that he sacrificed so much for me and our children. I have even sincerely offered to re-enter the paid workforce to help him get back into aviation, but it is so important to him that I’m with the kids (both of us grew up with stay-at-home moms).

The dedication to our family that he has is truly Christlike; he would rather be temporarily unhappy at work (I say, “temporarily,” because he is constantly on the lookout for another career opportunity) to earn a comfortable living because he truly believes that having me home is what’s best for our children.

Hope I helped you, at least a little!

Thanks to everyone for their advice and encouragement. I think I will go ahead and follow my dreams. 3 years isn’t so long to spend studying, and in the meantime who knows who I could meet in an open environment like university life. I know that once I graduate with my doctorate I’ll be able to get a job that gives me enough money to support a family and equally importantly to spend time with them, which is better than working 16-hour days and making a fortune doing something that I know deep down is contributing to oppression and inequality.

Just one thing though, I still don’t feel that I could ever make that commitment to anybody else. After the way I felt about my fiancee, anyone else will always be second best. I don’t know if I can honestly make the ‘forsaking all others’ commitment to another woman without feeling depressed and resenting her for keeping me forever from the only one I can ever really love with my whole heart. I don’t know if we’ll ever be back together, but I have to try some way to win her back, maybe in a year or two when we’re both a little older and wiser and the past isn’t quite so painful.

You are a human and as such are only capable of imperfect love; if and when Christ introduces you to your future wife, ask and trust Him to perfect your love in each other.

"If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:26

Through God, anything is possible! Me, I’m going to be living on very little money for a long time (college, then med school, then residency where I make just enough to buy food and very cheap rent) and if I meet the man for me before I’m stable financially, so be it. God will provide. A friend of mine told me that God wants us to follow our dreams because He did give them to us and He wants us to serve Him happily. He told me this because I told him that I struggle with my vocation because I feel pulled to become a nun but I also have always wanted to marry and have babies and the thought of not ending up with a family makes me sad. However, I realize that if God wants me to become a nun, I’ll be happy in that and He’ll give me everything I need and more. For me, it’s definitely a surrendering issue.

Hi DL82,

There is a marian youth movement I think you may feel confortable in. Try Schoenstatt.

Here is their web site:

Official: www.schoensatt.de
Youth: www.schoenstattyouth.com

I believe it exist in UK as well.

Try it! our Blessed Mother may have one of her wonderful doughters reserved for you :slight_smile:

in Christ.

I met my husband when he was 28. We both thought we were crazy and God was forgetting us. It was when we stopped looking for each other and started looking to God that we found each other. Turned out we had worked in the same building for a few months, gone to the same church and crossed paths in a couple different wasy but never met.

Follow the path God has for YOU and when He is ready for you to meet your future wife, you will.

It’s easy for us marrieds to say since we are on the other side. I remember those feelings VERY VIVIDLY and don’t want to discount your sadness or frustration. It’s hard to do but enjoy the time you are at in your life. Enjoy single life, the carefree life it brings. In time you will have time to enjoy other aspects of likfe but for now maybe this is where God has called you to be!

Best of Luck!

Is it ever right to be care-free? I think one of the reasons my fiancee and I didn’t see eye-to-eye was that I wanted to get stuck into security, getting a job, being a father, owning our home, getting involved in charity projects, right away, while she wanted to explore, travel, and generally experience more of the world. I’ve done some travelling, and would love to travel more, but I don’t feel that it’s doing the work of God to go jetting off around the world. I don’t believe I’ll experience Him any more strongly for having experienced living and working in a different culture. There’s plenty of work to be done here in the UK to last a lifetime.

At the same time, I quite like the idea of going away to work in Canada for a year, or maybe travelling around Europe doing some English language teaching for a while. I know it wouldn’t really contribute to my career plans or my calling though. Can we ever justify such frivolity? We must give account of every moment before Christ on the Last Day, can I justify going away to have fun just by saying that He hadn’t given me anything obvious to do in the meantime?

Full-time study feels kind-of frivolous too. I know the money is there to support me doing just that through research council grants, but I could work full-time and study part-time over 6 years instead of 3, and be contributing to society at the same time as preparing for my future career. I did it through my Masters degree, and though it killed my social life, I know I could do it again if I had to.

Right now, I’m not doing anything, I’m in a state of flux, doing a bare minimum at work and spending all my spare time applying for PhD programmes. If I abandoned the idea of funded study and threw myself back into my work, I could re-establish a rythm where I could contribute something and have a kind of long-term security. Where are the rights and wrongs? I’m still unsure.

I don’t feel that I should really have a single moment when I’m not accountable. That’s why I loved being with my fiancee, she kept me busy. At the same time, she wanted me to switch-off from time to time, and I never can. How do we get the balance right? It’s really hard to know as a single person.

I try to spend my spare time reading about my PhD specialism or reading Catholic books, and to take time to pray the LOTH from the Benedictine Diurnal each day (not all of the psalms, just one per office, i.e. whole psalter every 3 weeks). I can’t make any commitments to do any volunteer work because of my uncertain future. What else can I do to stay accountable for the time I spend alone? It’s easy for temptation to get in the way. Recently I find myself wasting so much time watching TV and surfing the net.

Why not combine frivolity and serious future planning? I don’t know if this works for you, but here’s what I’ve been doing. I felt the way your fiancee does - I wanted to get out there and see the world. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, as long as you’re young enough to play catch-up with your career later. I’ve learned another language, and that could help me a lot with future jobs, if I choose to use it. The world is a lot bigger than just England (or just America) and there are some incredible opportunities.

I moved away from Canada four years ago, to work one year as an English teacher in Korea. The job I first got I hated, but a few months later I switched to a job that I loved, and now, four years later, I’m still here and very happy. I have enough work experience to call teaching my career, and I’m doing a Master’s degree online after work (instead of watching TV and surfing the internet so much). When I’m ready to leave Korea (next year, I hope) I’ll be able to convert my experience and education into a meaningful career at home or in another country.

You’re 25! If you want to be financially stable and stay in England all your life, now is a good time to start, but your fiancee isn’t ready for that. You have enough time to adjust yourself to her, if you’re willing to do it. Or maybe you need to let her go overseas while you stay home preparing for a stable future, and hope she comes back to you. Whatever you choose, good luck.

I understand the feeling behind what you are saying but let’s be realistic, there are times when we aren’t contributing to a cause. You have to eat, care for mundane things like cleaning the house, doing laundry, and sometimes you jsut want to go to a concert or movie. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Have a plan, be determined and know that you want to make a difference but you also have to know that what God wants for you may not be what YOU think HE wants for you. Personally I believe that one of the HARDEST things to do is discerning God’s will for your life. But we can’t just stop everything and determine what it is. Maybe the path He has for you will only be determined one choice at a time. You can’t make all future decisions RIGHT NOW! That would be foolish! You need to be adaptable and open to hearing God’s plan. PRAY! If you feel you are wasting time watching TV, go to adoration you’ll definitely get more answers there than watching TV! Do small volunteer jobs, soup kitchens, church, somewhere in your community. You don’t have to go be a missionary in Zimbabwe to be of use.

It all sounds simple as you type it out but it’s hard and I don’t mean to minimalize how you feel. I think maybe you are getting ahead of yourself and trying to hard! Maybe if you slow down you will be able to see your path more clearly!

You’re in my prayers!

I want to comment along the same lines as others who have posted regarding AGE…
I just wouldn’t dwell too much on it. Your search for a like-minded woman doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to your age…

I began dating my husband when I was 19… and he was 29. We were married at 22/32… and couldn’t be happier!

Pray for your future spouse… whoever it may be! She will need many prayers in her path to finding you!

Thank you all for your advice.

One breakthrough in the last 24 hours. I have been accepted to join a research team, fully funded with a pay stipend, to do my PhD at Glasgow University. There is a team there looking at Religious Education and different models in religious and secular schools (here in the UK, RE is a core part of the curriculum in all schools, and some Catholic/other religious schools are funded by the state). It’s a huge project, and could be really prestigious, it’s also philosophically rich, and will hold my interest for 3 years I am sure.

Glasgow Uni is also responsible for the development of Catholic school teachers for the whole of Scotland, and the Education department has a strong Catholic ethos, which I didn’t even know about until I got there. Talk about providence intervening!

So that’s the next 3 years of my life sorted, I know where I’ll be living and working. I will then have the opportunity to get involved with whatever projects come along in that city, whether fun or serious, and with whatever relationships may develop. I will also have something to keep me grounded, and maybe enough time to get to know my ex fiancee again in a new context.

It’s a big step forward. Thanks for your advice and prayers.

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