I just don't want to get married


From a Catholic perspective, is it ok to just not want to get married?

I am a 30 year old woman. I have had a couple of relationships. I am attracted to men. I’m happy and not going through any particular issues. I do not think I am called to the religious life, or to any form of consecrated life. I am very dedicated to my work, but enjoy a lot of things in life - friends, socialising.

I am currently having spiritual direction, which is a great gift which I am very grateful for. My SD keeps saying I should be open to marriage. The fact is, I just don’t want to get married. I am perfectly happy and I grew up in an environment where I knew a lot of successful women who were not married (a number of the teachers in my school, child carers, family friends). I really think I am receiving the fullness of the Christian life right now and I actually have not put myself in a position where I would find a spouse for a few years. I don’t think anything is lacking in my life.

Much of the secular media can now tolerate my position. I want to know if this is “ok” as a Catholic, to just say, "no, I’m happy and I have no intention of getting married, and no, I don’t even think I am ‘open’ to it, because I have made my decision. I am getting guilty thoughts that this is somehow self-willed or sentimental. It kind of stresses me out when my SD keeps correcting me to be open to marriage and I’m worried it is pride or this could be a lack of peaceful trust in the Lord.


Caveat – thoughts expressed here are only my personal opinions and have no authority whatsoever behind them.

I see being “open to marriage” as meaning maybe not being ready for marriage right now, but down the line, when one meets someone, and the fireworks go off, then maybe a marriage would be in the offing, but not before. Meanwhile, it’s like being, say, being open to eating a juicy steak. Yes, I wouldn’t mind eating one, but I don’t have one in the house, and I don’t feel like getting dressed, driving downtown, buying a steak, bringing it home, firing up the grill, etc., etc.

You say you don’t want to get married. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that at all. You can not-want to get married, while at the same time being open to the possibility that someone might come along to take the “not” off the “not-want.” Meanwhile, you can continue to live your life, do your job, and enjoy your social life with your friends, and trust God for whatever comes up down the line. When your SD talks about being open to marriage, you can honestly say that you are open to it, even if you’re not actively hunting for a MA-YUN to fill an empty void that you’re not actually feeling, at this time.


Presuming, of course, that you are striving for the virtue of chastity and not trying to “get the milk for free”, there’s nothing sinful about not being married. What your spiritual adviser might be cautioning you against is spiritual pride where one says, “My life is perfect the way it is and if God thinks I’m going to let him change it he can just bugger off!” One should always try to be open to God’s will. It may be that His will is for you to remain single and serve him in some other vocation.


Well stated.


Dear happylibrarian,

Perhaps you would enjoy reading this;

Called to Singleness



You have a Spiritual Director - so perhaps your Priest is the best person to discuss all this with.
Compendium** issued by Pope Benedict XVI

342.** Are all obliged to get married?**


Matrimony is not an obligation for everyone, especially since God calls some men and women to follow the Lord Jesus in a life of virginity or of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. These renounce the great good of Matrimony to concentrate on the things of the Lord and seek to please him. They become a sign of the absolute supremacy of Christ’s love and of the ardent expectation of his glorious return.



Consider the religious life.


Consider a “third order”.

Many many saints are “third order”.

Absolutely no shame in that calling, and we all need your prayers in that calling


Not everyone can marry anyway, due to mental or physical issues, or lack of sexual desire, so there is not a requirement that all marry.


OP you are great! You know yourself, have thought this through; please be at peace and yes, you are living the fullness of faith.

I was much the same at your age. Just marriage never entered into the frame of my life and that was fine. Some of my relatives did not understand but in those days a daughter who stayed home was a frequent situation.

I do not ever see not getting married as renouncing anything. Just we are each different and live different ways to the same end.

Be happy and at peace. If there is anything to be different, you will know. I did. Stay open and happy


I don’t think there’s an obligation to marry. However, I think it could help to pray, what is God’s plan for our lives. Each vocation is a type of self giving and for the sake of others. Marriage involves laying down your life for a family and being united with a human being. Consecrated life involves giving oneself completely and exclusively to God. It is all done freely. For this reason, many say that an uncommitted single life is not a vocation, even if its enjoyable. You said you do not feel drawn to consecrated life. It doesn’t mean you need to marry right now, but maybe being open to it for the future? Maybe you’d feel differently when you meet the right person. I think its a good prayer to surrender to God and ask simply for His Will, not our will. The mission and vocation He has for us is unique and is not just for our sake, but for the sake of other souls too. :slight_smile: God bless you


The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives the most general meaning of vocation.

1699 Life in the Holy Spirit fulfills the vocation of man (chapter one). This life is made up of divine charity and human solidarity (chapter two). It is graciously offered as salvation (chapter three).


That is very debatable indeed and I would question it ,. If you love and live for Jesus then that is fullness of faith, Maybe because so many of my generation in post war England could not marry , or even when there are no suitable men which does happen. And indeed some of the good folk who helped me and many others were unmarried women whose singleness left them free to do more. It is also only in recent times that eg teachers and nurses were allowed to continue working once they married. Single life is not in any way “uncommitted”. Mine certainly never was; we are committed at baptism and then confirmation. I could be insulted! ( Am not but the implication is there)


I didn’t mean that all single life is uncommitted, but that in the cases its uncommitted, - then it would be good to make some commitment. I’m referring for example to a person who is single just so they could be more free to “enjoy life”, go out, etc. I believe a vocation is a call to love, God and neighbour. Devoting oneself to enjoying life and not wanting responsibilities, or career advancement for the sake of ambition, or money, would not be ways to love IMO. What I’m talking about is taking on some responsibility for love of God. Like consecrated life, marriage, missionary work, evangelism, helping the poor, etc. Something not just for self. Often in these cases there would be some commitment to God to do these things and live for Him more exclusively.

I’m not saying you are like that or anyone. I’m a “single” person myself and I’m not planning to marry. I don’t see it as a way of avoiding responsibility, simply taking on another one. :slight_smile:


You are seeing singleness as for self? Ah no! And I would never judge anyone to be doing as you say. We none of us can ever see the heart of anyone else. We who are of Jesus are fully committed. What anyone else chooses is their choice. Never ours to judge. An in the OPs case, a full and living and wholesome commitment, like so many others throughout history who never married but gave their whole lives to Jesus

“Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC was a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, and … Milnes, but after a nine-year courtship she rejected him, convinced that marriage would interfere with her ability to follow her calling to nursing.”


I didn’t speak about anyone in particular. I was saying that a single life can be selfish, or not. If its selfish, then it shouldn’t be. If its not, then that’s good. I wasn’t referring to any particular person, but hypothetically. People can discern their own hearts with God’s grace, as I must too.


Is this what you want because of secular culture or because of you think it is the best way to serve God? I am around your age, and I am unmarried. Every time a woman comes along, either she wants me for some reason, other than, you know, wanting to actually be with me. I am not sexually active, somehow the women I know, both Catholic and not, (and yes, there are exceptions) tend to be. They tell me things like “they don’t believe in marriage” or being more trouble than they’re worth. Maybe you won’t get married, but I find your social life to be a pretty lame reason not to get marred.


Never ceases to amaze me the way we all and each interpret posts via our own situation and character and character rather than being open to the person writing, I had to check that this was the same thread… And the way our " idees fixes" puts guilt and false “obligations” on people. OP; are you OK? I grew up among many unmarried women who were leading through their careers rich , giving and above all constructive lives. Which can be very hard when married and with children. I am amazed there is still such a blinkered view of women, Had i not fallen prey to illness, I still probably would not have married and would have had a fulfilled and giving life. Marriage is not mandatory.


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