As far as basic vocations (married, single, religious), I feel very strongly called towards the married life. I have these longings for a spouse to be fully committed to and children to raise in the faith. But I always have this lingering fear that what if God’s plan is different? But if God wanted me to be single, why would he give me these desires? I know I’m young (I’m 20) and have no real reason to be afraid, but I go to a small Christian school and a lot of my friends and classmates are engaged or married and here’s me never having been on a date. Or maybe it’s just the fear of graduating this spring and not knowing what my life will be in 8 months…
Did anyone else feel this way when they were young and single? They say when you stop looking is when you find somebody…and I shouldn’t feel like I have to look because God knows where he is… I just don’t want God’s plan to be that I get married in my thirties… and putting provisions on His plan is not fully trusting him at all. God’s plans ARE the best ones… so then why am I afraid of them?
I don’t really have any Catholic adults to turn to and I guess I’m just looking for some sage advice
I recall that St Therese wrote that she didn't believe God would give her the good desires she was drawn to have, unless He intended to fulfill them.
You are wise not to date until you are ready. Why do so until the right man comes along at the right time. :) A lot of mistakes are made by rushing ahead.
It's lonely to be different, and also not to rush into dating and marriage unless you are sure you have the best person for you. However the fact that you are willing to wait shows the strength of the grace God has given you.
Conditions? But you do have to uses your own good sense and discernment, gifts that God gave. So it isn't just God working. It's us with God...but I'm sure you'd know that. :)
I pray you will be able to take each step as it comes. We pray, 'give us this day our daily bread' not the whole year's bread today. What a pile of stale bread we would have!
I was interested to learn that the Church has taught for millenia that Christ offers the religious life to everyone, but you are free to accept or reject this gift. Canon X Session XXIV of the Council of Trent says that "If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema."
One thing that has been largely ignored in too many discussions of vocation is the element of choice. If you are willing to try, the best thing to do with your life is to live in more perfect imitation of Christ in the religious life, but you are free to seek out the lesser good of matrimony if you please. A great mistake is to live ones life according to some imagined script in heaven, as it will leave you locked in analysis paralysis until you eventually look and see that you have wasted your life trying to decide what to do with it. It is good to want to know God's plan for you, but that plan was revealed in the public revelation of the gospel.
Regarding a longing towards a family life, such is perfectly natural for anyone regardless of their state in life. To marry and raise children is the highest natural good, but as Christians we are invited to the higher supernatural good. Some are not willing to forego the natural good for the supernatural, so God in his mercy sanctified matrimony rather than abrogating it. I can't make this point better than Saint Paul who said:
 Have his own wife: That is, keep to his wife, which he hath. His meaning is not to exhort the unmarried to marry: on the contrary, he would have them rather continue as they are. (Ver. 7: 8.) But he speaks here to them that are already married; who must not depart from one another, but live together as they ought to do in the marriage state.
 But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment.  For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that.  But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I.  But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt.  But to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, that the wife depart not from her husband.
* By indulgence: That is, by a condescension to your weakness.
 If they do not contain: This is spoken of such as are free, and not of such as, by vow, have given their first faith to God; to whom if they will use proper means to obtain it, God will never refuse the gift of continency. Some translators have corrupted this text, by rendering it, if they cannot contain.*
 And if she depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And let not the husband put away his wife.  For to the rest I speak, not the Lord. If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she consent to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  And if any woman hath a husband that believeth not, and he consent to dwell with her, let her not put away her husband.  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband: otherwise your children should be unclean; but now they are holy.  But if the unbeliever depart, let him depart. For a brother or sister is not under servitude in such cases. But God hath called us in peace.
* I speak, not the Lord: Viz., by any express commandment, or ordinance.
 Is sanctified: The meaning is not, that the faith of the husband or the wife is of itself sufficient to put the unbelieving party, or their children, in the state of grace and salvation; but that it is very often an occasion of their sanctification, by bringing them to the true faith.
 For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?  But as the Lord hath distributed to every one, as God hath called every one, so let him walk: and so in all churches I teach.  Is any man called, being circumcised? let him not procure uncircumcision. Is any man called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.  Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing: but the observance of the commandments of God.  Let every man abide in the same calling in which he was called.
 Wast thou called, being a bondman? care not for it; but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.  For he that is called in the Lord, being a bondman, is the freeman of the Lord. Likewise he that is called, being free, is the bondman of Christ.  You are bought with a price; be not made the bondslaves of men.  Brethren, let every man, wherein he was called, therein abide with God.  Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful.
[quote=First Corinthians Chapter Seven] I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity, that it is good for a man so to be.  Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.  But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you.  This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none;  And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
 And they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away.  But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God.  But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.  And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.  And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you; but for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.
 But if any man think that he seemeth dishonoured, with regard to his virgin, for that she is above the age, and it must so be: let him do what he will; he sinneth not, if she marry.  For he that hath determined being steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but having power of his own will; and hath judged this in his heart, to keep his virgin, doth well.  Therefore, both he that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better.  A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband die, she is at liberty: let her marry to whom she will; only in the Lord.  But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.
 Let him do what he will. He sinneth not: The meaning is not, as libertines would have it, that persons may do what they will and not sin, provided they afterwards marry; but that the father, with regard to the giving his virgin in marriage, may do as he pleaseth; and that it will be no sin to him if she marry.