By Lindsay Steele
Talking to young couples for our Marriage and Family Series has been a lot of fun. This series is easily my favorite assignment to date! Who wouldn’t like hearing inspiring stories of falling in love and overcoming challenges through God’s grace?
Hearing their stories has caused me to reflect on my own journey to married life. I’ve been married for about three years now, and it is easy sometimes to feel so settled in that you forget about what it took to get there. I had my first crush when I was 12 (I think it was Taylor Hanson) and got married at 27. The 15 years in between were filled with moments of joy, nervousness, fear, embarrassment, hope, despair and pretty much any other emotion you can imagine. While I’m no expert on dating and finding a marriage partner, I do feel like I learned a bit along the way — about people and about God.
The person you like won’t always like you back
I didn’t enter into my first serious relationship until I was in my early 20s. This was more by circumstance than anything else; it seemed like every time I liked a boy, he wasn’t interested in me. It took me a long time to realize that was OK. It didn’t mean no one would ever think I was pretty — it just meant that I wasn’t this particular person’s dream girl. People are attracted to all sorts of different kinds of people – some like blonds, others like redheads, etc. Some like thin builds, others prefer a rounder figure. Look at all the married couples around you! Not everyone is looking for someone who looks just like a Victoria’s Secret or Calvin Klein model; it’s all about preference. People, of course, have preferences on personalities and other traits, too. If someone isn’t attracted to you right now, don’t be too hard on yourself or try to change. Chances are that, eventually, you’ll find a person who thinks you are wonderful just the way you are.
Timing is everything
A lot of elements have to match up to make a relationship work. You really end up having to trust in God’s timing. When I was about 13, I became jealous of classmates who had “boyfriends,” and I prayed that God would find me one, too. That’s obviously a little young to be thinking about romantic relationships, but I didn’t think so at the time. I spent a lot of time being unhappy and frustrated as a single person. I wanted to meet someone, well, yesterday! In hindsight, October of 2010 was the perfect time to meet my husband, Chris. He, and the relationship, were worth waiting for.
Just because you meet them in church doesn’t mean they’re safe to date
It might be easy to assume that people you meet at church are automatically going to pass your proverbial background check, but it isn’t always true. While it is good to be looking for someone with similar faith and values, you can’t assume that these qualities alone will make a suitable dating partner.
God knows what he is doing
I don’t always feel God working in my life, but I truly felt he was always there in my search for a husband. Marriage, after all, is a vocation; why wouldn’t God want to lead me in the right direction? Since love is closely tied with emotions, it can be hard to discern between your own will and God’s will. Because I’m such a stubborn person, I believe God knew that the only way to stop me from going down bad paths was to make those paths inaccessible to me. Relationships just never worked the way I wanted them to — until I met Chris. And for that, I am thankful.
(Editor’s note: Lindsay Steele is a reporter for The Catholic Messenger. Contact her at steele@
davenportdiocese.org or by phone at (563) 888-4248.)