One of my best qualities can also be my biggest hindrance in my faith life: I am extremely good at planning and organization. My Google calendar has events blocked off months in advance, I always have a “plan” of how to get my career where I want it to go, and I get things done preemptively before anyone asks. Long story short, when it comes to my work ethic and my planning ability, I trust myself immensely. But over the last two years, God has revealed something to me: I need to trust him more than I trust myself. And I hate to admit it, but sometimes that is quite difficult for me to do.
There is something freeing, yet terrifying, about losing control — of having the world around you ripped away, of losing a relationship you thought would last a lifetime, of finding yourself in a situation where there is nothing you can do to change your reality. Those are the moments that make me re-focus on Christ and what he is doing. I had one of these moments at the beginning of the pandemic when I lost, what felt like, my entire career in theatre after graduating. But then I ended up gaining the man who is about to become my husband.
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Because of my story, it would be easy for me to say, “You’ll find him when you stop looking,” to my single sisters in Christ, but the reality of that statement goes much deeper than a seemingly nice piece of advice. We need to shift our perspective from, “What can I do to find my future husband?,” to, “What is God already doing to shape my life in the way it is meant to be?” And to do that, sister, we have to release our control.
I want to make it clear that there is nothing you can do to derail God’s plan for your life if you are actively seeking and open to it. And that means every part of your life, including your relationship with a future spouse, whether you are looking for him or not.
So let’s dive into this phrase, “You’ll find him when you stop looking.” While many women balk at the phrase and feel it’s poor dating advice, we can’t deny that this phrase is completely true for some women. They decide dating isn’t something they want to focus on at the moment, but then they find themselves falling in love with the man they eventually marry. But the reverse is also true. There are many women who know exactly what kind of man they are looking for, feel ready for a relationship when it comes along, and actively find opportunities to meet men in-person and online. But in both scenarios, the only person who actually knows when any woman will find their future spouse is God. And in both scenarios, God gives us a great gift of love: the free will to choose our future spouse.
In a way, the phrase places the blame, and the control of their dating outcome, on the woman. It may cause you to think, “Oh, it must be my fault I haven’t found anyone yet, because I have definitely been looking! If I were to stop looking, it would solve my problem.”
Humans always want to play God and find a way to control their life and their plans. I can admit that I personally have a very hard time letting go of what I thought was a good idea for myself even after God presents what is actually best for me. So, of course, we feel the same way when dating. To some degree, we crave total control of when, how and where meeting a future spouse will occur. The ironic thing is that because God loves us, he will never give us total control of our lives. He gives us total control of our emotions, our reactions, our actions and our choices, but he will not let you meet a potential future spouse until you are ready, when the man in question is ready, and when it is perfect in God’s time.
I’m not saying you can’t feel frustrated or have an extreme desire to be in a relationship; you should, because that desire to be in communion with someone is completely healthy, normal and valid. What I am saying is that you should feel at peace knowing you aren’t in control of how, when or where you meet him.
If you are currently single, look at the world around you and pray about where God is calling you in this specific moment. If you do feel ready to meet someone, maybe even try online dating! I met my fiancé on CatholicMatch, and there are other great sites out there for Catholic women to find men who share their faith and values. Never feel that it is wrong to put yourself out there; but on the flip side, honor your intuition if you feel like this isn’t the right time for you to be dating.
God is preparing you and your future spouse to be ready at the same time, so even if you are ready to meet him, maybe he isn’t quite ready to meet you. A prayer that helped me greatly during a time where I was going through a terrible break-up and wondering if I would ever find the right man is the “Be Satisfied With Me” prayer, attributed to St. Anthony of Padua. A quick internet search will pull it up. This prayer helped me replace my feelings of anxiety and stress over finding a future spouse with joy and peace from Christ.
You don’t need to stop looking. You don’t need to start looking. You just need to pray and live your life to the fullest within every season you are presented with. God won’t let you miss out on your own future.