I thought I might make a kind of a “job description” for men interested in dating and finding love that ends in sacramental marriage. It might read something like this:
Wanted: Dating Catholic Male
Seeking single Catholic men capable of pursuing Catholic women with the purpose of finding one who will make a suitable marriage partner. Must be willing to make the decision to live with her for a lifetime of love, commitment and responsibility in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Appropriate applicants must consider dating to be an activity that leads to marriage, not just something to do. Must have real intention to permit things to get serious and take responsibility for love that may develop.
- Must not fear commitment. Those afraid of the serious responsibilities that come with falling in love and making a commitment to marriage need not apply. We recognize that a level of fear is natural. As long as it is a nervousness that does not disrupt the ability to act on love, then you are still encouraged to apply.
- Must study and memorize the Catholic Church’s teachings on the ends and purpose of marriage, which can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You are dating women to eventually marry one, be faithful, live with her until death, and be open to children.
- Must take the concept of being the pursuer with seriousness and willingness. Must be willing to make her feel special. Pursuing the heart of a woman is a lifetime role. You can’t stop pursuing once she is caught (i.e., once you are married).
- Must expect to be rejected many times before finding the right person.
- Must accept rejection gracefully and respectfully, never attempting to inflict negativity on the woman for her decision.
- Must understand that authentic pursuing is always with chastity and charity. This means you don’t pursue with wrong motives like lust or control. It is a selfless pursuit, seeking the good and happiness of the woman, even at the risk of being rejected. Must take the lead in the relationship to ensure you do not have pre-marital sex, nor any kind of sexual expression. Get rid of pornography, or any other impurity in your life, stop masturbating, and do all you can to be a chaste and pure man.
- Must be willing to attempt pursuing after an initial rejection. Sometimes a rejection is just part of playing hard to get. A woman might not know how to interpret a man’s pursuits. She might be inclined to reject because of uncertainty. An intelligent man is observant of this and is willing to risk rejection again, even multiple times. Timing and the way you present yourself is important. It could be it was not the right timing, or you did not pursue her in an acceptable context. Be cautious. You don’t want to come across as a stalker or harassing or make her feel uneasy. When in doubt, accept the initial rejection with dignity and move on.
- Must be trustworthy.
- Must deal with any issues of your past. Marriage for men is about leadership. We are looking for men who work hard at addressing their own issues, as well as share them with the women they date. This kind of disclosure helps a woman know she is dealing with a man who takes responsibility for himself.
- Must have confidence, which comes from knowing who you are. You must always maintain your self-respect, your dignity, and your confidence that God loves you. When you have confidence, you can acknowledge that women are different from men. They are women. They don’t act like men, think like men, decide like men, see things like men, nor react like men. You must expect the unexpected when dating and falling in love with a woman. Confidence helps you keep your perspective about yourself as you navigate through the wonderful and often terrifying complexity that is a woman.
- Must be humble, which means you must ALWAYS keep in mind that women have to put up with you as well. After all, you are a man, and you are just as much a puzzle to her as she is to you.
- Must be willing to practice patience. Patience is an acquired virtue over a lifetime. You must be willing to grow in patience while dating and in marriage. Otherwise, a spouse risks being a scourge to the other rather than a blessing if for one of you, patience is lost more often than exercised.
- Must be docile. The ability to compromise and tolerate is critical to accepting the role of husband in marriage. If you are too set in your ways, too demanding of your will or expectations, or too insistent, you cannot live married life and should not be dating. Docility does not mean being a doormat, so you must not be the type to give in to everything a woman says or wants.
- Must have a strong prayer life. Stay connected to God through Christ, His Church, and the Sacraments, especially confession and the Blessed Sacrament. A weak prayer life causes a man to turn on himself and rely on himself, which disconnects him from the source of power and grace. Marital love is impossible to live out without a focus on Christ.
- Must desire to serve others. This can’t be stressed enough. If you want to find a woman who will first serve your every need, then this is not the job for you. A man must desire marriage as the life where he makes his wife happy, content, and at peace.
This job description attempts to help men be encouraged, focused, and see their very accessible potential to become the quality man that good women want, and the necessary action to take in order to successfully attract and marry such a woman.
Anthony Buono is the founder of Avemariasingles.com. For thousands of Catholic singles, Anthony offers guidance, humor, understanding, and practical relationship advice. Visit his blog at 6stonejars.com.
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.