Is God calling me to marriage or the consecrated single life?

Hello Everyone,

Here’s my story in brief. I’m currently single and turned 40 this year. I have this very strong desire to want to be married but that doesn’t necessarily mean God is calling me to that. I think about it constantly.

At the same time, I’m not married and my longest relationship only lasted 6 months and that occurred three years ago.

I did pursue the Diaconate as a celibate man but was not accepted to formation. Even then I struggled with the thought of living a celibate life as I would actually try to meet women online while I was in pre-formation for the Diaconate.

My desire for marriage is so strong that I would never again pursue the Diaconate as a celibate man nor the priesthood or religious life or anything that requires celibacy. However, I know there are certain secular orders that allow you to enter in as a single person and if you wanted, you could get married, such as the Secular Franciscans. While I may not ever marry, at least I won’t be penalized for trying, so maybe this is a cross.

I have come to the conclusion that these are the only suitable vocations for me.

Any insight would be appreciated.

What have you been doing to meet someone to marry?

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Well it’s difficult now with Covid-19. But before, I would attend Catholic young adult groups and other non-Catholic events to meet women.

Maybe you should consider online dating to meet more potential spouses.

It sounds to me like you are interested in marriage. I doubt God is calling you to a consecrated single life against your will.

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I second the Catholic online dating. At age 40 and with a strong desire to be married, you’re aging out of the young adult groups and need to meet as many women in your age group as possible who are marriage minded, in order to have a chance of finding one who will be a match for you.

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thats probably the best way and also join any other catholic social events. My daughter did that when she moved to san francisco and she met the most wonderful people Alas she didnt take advantage of two men who were interested in her, she was too young to appreciate the opportunities and later married a non catholic im not crazy about.

You could talk to a priest about discerning your vocation and a vocational director.

Have you considered using https://www.catholicmatch.com/ ?

To be clear, I did feel the calling to the Diaconate back then, but I also felt the calling to marriage. And I could see myself as a consecrated single in a secular order, as I’ve been single most of my life anyway. There are many, many people who desire marriage but never end up getting married, so I’m thinking maybe I am just one of those people. I’ve been on Catholicmatch for several months with no luck.

Several months is not long at all.

I understand this sort of dilemma! When you feel called to Marriage and it has not happened, you can want to find another way to dedicate one’s singleness to God. I’ve looked a little into Consecrated Virginity & still may consider it but also things like being a Lay Carmelite etc.
During the pandemic, I’ve come to realise that, whilst i’m still fertile, I want to put everything into pursuing marriage. Even if time passes & it’s too late for biological children, I’d be happy entering into marriage whenever God decides even if I’m 55+!
I recommend branching out to groups that aren’t age bound. In the UK we have organisations like CAFOD & Life which have local, regional & national groups where you interact with other people at regular meetings & conferences - no doubt there are similar organisations wherever you are from. If there is a Foodbank, homeless outreach etc attached to your church or a Faith & Justice group etc volunteer & connect with other parishes’ groups creating opportunities to work together for the good of the community but also to widen your social circle. Pick things you enjoy & are good at! For me, it’s Music ministry, charitable causes or Youth/Children’s work. I’m studying Theology of the Body online & am in a monthly Zoom prayer group from another nearby city. I haven’t done these things with the intention of meeting anyone, just because I’m drawn to them & because it’s a way of giving back, feeling connected to others & often having fun. It’s been a way of making the most of my singleness & honing the needs to nurture, love & be passionate that I’d have been giving to my husband & children, were I a wife & mother by now.
I’ve been doing this sort of thing for many years & not really met anyone that I could see myself marrying but that changed recently.It’s extremely early days but, if he wants to pursue a relationship with me, then I know he will have been worth waiting for all these years - he’s a good, talented, handsome Catholic man who is active in the church & wider community & the kind of person I’ve been hoping to meet for a long while. I wouldn’t have met him if not for the fact that we are both active in the lives of our parishes & our paths crossed through that. Whatever happens, both of us have been serving God in our own way as lay people & having a pretty rewarding, fulfilling time along the way. Like attracts like. I’d “given up” (I wrote a thread about it!) & a couple of weeks later, I saw him for the 1st time at a Catholic event, not expecting to see anyone in that way.
There is no harm in being on Catholic Match. It’s early days for me & this man may not have a romantic interest in me or vice versa further down the line so I’d probably join something like that too if it didn’t work out. Keep going to the young adults groups but also look for interest groups, retreats, pilgrimages, study & voluntary opportunities etc that you’d want to do regardless & you never know, you might be pleasantly surprised one day too!
God bless you, I pray you find your spouse soon.

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