When you’re single you can have cashews and Yoohoo for dinner while watching Say Yes to the Dress and there’s no one around to remind you how fattening cashews are or how tv rots your brains…

… Having no one to impress really does have it’s advantages. Today I am looking at the bright side of things. Tomorrow may be another story, but today I’m enjoying the freedom to have the TV remote to myself and to eat my dinner from a can of nuts.

For the most part I’m content with where God has me right now. In between periods of contentment I have hissy fits. I hear this is normal though. Whatever mood I may be in – good, bad, or completely indifferent – I will always react poorly to one particular piece of well meaning advice.

“The minute you stop looking you will meet him. Just let go… blah.blah.blah. And some other stuff I don’t hear because I stopped listening 2 minutes ago.”

What does this even mean, “stop looking”? Do you mean stop trying all together because single women who long for marriage never stop trying or looking. To do so would mean we give up hope that one day our prayers will be answered. I’d rather be repeatedly disappointed than hopeless! Or do you mean to simply stop actively seeking and trust that a perfectly wonderful Catholic man is going to fall from the sky and land in my lap through no effort of my own? Am I wrong to always want to look my best every time I walk out the door, even if it’s a trip to pick up the dry cleaning, because you never know who you’ll bump into. It’s called optimism and hope. Two things I’m not ready to entirely surrender.

One of the things I love about Seraphic Singles is that “Auntie Seraphic” has never, to my knowledge, given women this irksome piece of advice. She’s very encouraging that women should remain positive and do everything they realistically and practically can to help things along. Really, she’s an invaluable resource.

Here’s another post I ran across a few days ago that I thought was worthy of sharing. Kate Hurley, The Sexy Celibate, talks about how she perceives the advice to “let go” and explains how it’s really hurtful . She writes,

“Not letting go=being single.
Letting go= being married. “

I would say 90 percent of Christian singles have had this formula given to them in one way or another. Most of them dozens of times. Almost every time I mention writing my book on singleness, single people give me some kind of version of this story.

Most of us, when we first heard this formula as a young person, grabbed our journal and bible and went to a quiet place. We turned our sweet young faces to heaven with tears in our eyes and said “Lord, I let go. I give my husband to you.”

Do you know why we were saying this? Because we wanted a husband. And according to the formula, if you wanted a husband, you had to let go of him first. So we were letting go of him in order to get him.

Quite ironic, isn’t it?

And yet over the years, when that formula didn’t work, we started cringing when someone told us we just needed to let go. Maybe we couldn’t put our finger on why it irked something deep inside of us, but it did.

I have a theory about why it frustrates us so much. At the root of this formula is the idea that all single people have done something wrong and all married people have done something right.

The best thing married people can do for their single friends is to pray for us and encourage us to never give up.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Anonymous

    Hm. For me ‘letting go’– a tired phrase for sure– was more about just asking God to help me be happy no matter my status in life. I still wanted marriage and family, but I also desired a peace in my heart about not knowing if that was in my future. So I guess I was letting go of anxiety.

    Then again, I realize how obnoxious I sound if you were informed that I married at age 23.

  • Mary

    I’m married and have had unconventional dinners. I also watch “Say Yes to the Dress”. My husband chuckles and I remind him “it’s a girl thing”. I know someone who met his wife at one of the online Catholic matching sites. They’re very happy. 

  • Seraphic

    For me, letting go means asking God to take away your feelings of wanting whenever they crop up and make you crazy. If they come back, repeat. 

    I think the well-meaning advice of the married points to the reality that you never know what the future brings and you are most likely to be looking and acting in a relaxed and normal way when you meet someone you click with. In “The Iron Lady” the young Maggie T (then the young Maggie R) catches the young Dennis T’s eye at local Conservative Party selection committee meeting when romance is absolutely the last thing on her mind. 

    Instead at zoning out when the well-meaning married talk (as it is easiest and least painful to do), I suggest asking them about the moment they met their husbands. One of my friends was grading papers in a cafe, her unwashed hair jammed under a baseball cap. Another got introduced to a guy at a Catholic lecture by the guy who wanted to go out with her himself. Another sort of met a guy the minute she (Extraordinary Minister) gave him communion at a wedding (–they talked at the reception after that). All three women WERE looking, but at those particular moments their concentration was elsewhere. 

    Mine popped up in my combox one day. So you know what– sometimes you don’t even have to leave the house. You just have to live in public.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      “For me, letting go means asking God to take away your feelings of wanting whenever they crop up and make you crazy. If they come back, repeat.” 
      This is very sound advice.  

    • http://jamiewillhelm.blogspot.com/ Jamie

      You put into words what I was trying to formulate in my mind. Thanks!

      “All three women WERE looking, but at those particular moments their concentration was elsewhere.”
      I’ve been praying about this whole topic a LOT lately, and this morning as I was, well, NOT really “letting go,” part of a song popped into my head: “Hope has a way of turning its face to you just when you least expect it.” So now just to concentrate on not concentrating… hehe ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728802907 Christine Niles

    Katrina,
    I totally relate. I’m a single mom of 4 (previous “marriage” was null & void, sacramentally invalid, and convalidation is impossible). I cannot recommend ENOUGH this one thing: pray the 54-day Rosary novena for a good spouse. It is known to be the most powerful novena in the world, and Our Lady does not disappoint. Pray it faithfully, and entrust the matter entirely to her care.

  • http://profiles.google.com/christinehebert65 Christine Hebert

    Katrina,
    Have you been on a  Cursillo weekend?  It is a Catholic weekend.  The follow up is fellowship with lots of other Catholics in lots of different stages of life.  It might not bring you a husband, but it will enrich your spiritual life. 
    Oh, I did meet my husband when I “let go.”  Not only had I let go, but I wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with men when he showed up in my life.  God has a sense of humor that way.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      See, the thing I will never want absolutely nothing to do with men.  I want to find a spouse and be married. It’s a desire I can not just switch off or pretend isn’t there for the sake of “letting go” in the hopes of once I do he will magically appear. Letting go for that to happen isn’t really letting go. Does that make sense? 

      PS- thanks for the advice on Cursillo. I need a boost spiritually. I think I’ve hit a plateau.

  • http://twitter.com/espressobean21 Sarah Martinez

    I actually really believe in the “let go” advice.  My priest and I had a talk about my vocation recently, where I told him that I was at my longest sustained period of being really happy being single.  Where I didn’t look around at every guy and immediately evaluate whether I’d date him or not, or devise a plan to get his attention. 

    He said, “Ha, now you’re going to be mobbed! No, really,  I’m serious… soon you’re going to be asking yourself, ‘Where were all these guys when I actually WANTED them??’”  I asked him what he meant and he said, “I think when you think about it less, you’re more relaxed.  You exude this self-assuredness and self-reliance that attracts people.  People will see you and say, ‘Wow, she seems so happy and confident.  I want some of that!’”  

    I think he’s right.  I haven’t exactly been “mobbed” yet ;) but I did realize when he said that, that in the past, the men I have ended up dating have been ones I never would have expected.  They were the ones I didn’t notice. They kind of just fell into my lap with a bouquet of flowers and I was like, “Oh! You! Of course! Why didn’t *I* think of that?” 

    Of course that won’t happen for everyone.  I don’t think there’s any formula to finding love at all.  But living this way, I have been so much happier, and so much more at ease now that I’ve come to think that you know, being single for a while longer, or the rest of my life, will really be okay.  I have the next six years of my life planned out, and a man might really put a wrench in things. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/espressobean21 Sarah Martinez

      But mostly I think finding love is just providence. Luck.  God’s Will.  There’s nothing married people are doing “right” that you are doing “wrong.”  If you’re single, it’s because you are supposed to be. 

      I’ve always reflected back on ended relationships with a sort of gratefulness.  Like, “Wow, he was a nice guy, but thank goodness we didn’t get married!” I try to remind myself of that in the moments when I *am* sad that it isn’t working out with someone. Like, maybe I’m dodging an even bigger bullet, the living hell that is an unhappy marriage. 

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        “I’ve always reflected back on ended relationships with a sort of gratefulness.  Like, “Wow, he was a nice guy, but thank goodness we didn’t get married!” I try to remind myself of that in the moments when I *am* sad that it isn’t working out with someone. Like, maybe I’m dodging an even bigger bullet, the living hell that is an unhappy marriage.”
        I’ve had the exact same thoughts and they do help me deal with repeated frustration after unsuccessful dates or relationships.   

  • Jana_alanda

    I finally figured out that whatever it was I wanted to find I had to look for it where I wanted to find it. I didn’t look for my husband at bars or social hangouts. I looked and found him on Catholicmatch.com and our first date started at Mass. I wanted someone who was devoutly Catholic and I felt I had to put myself in places I wanted to find him.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Ack, bars and clubs.  Trust me I do not look there – ever. I’ve been on CM for awhile. I take breaks from it though. I think I might have exhausted all the resources available on that site. :-P 

  • tj.nelson

    There is so much I could say here…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      what is preventing you? Charity? Now I’m curious. 

      • tj.nelson

        I’m no longer sure.  It doesn’t matter what I think.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          But I care, Terry. And I sincerely mean that. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.algarme Michael Algarme

    So how do you think we single Catholic men feel?  We have a strong desire as well, perhaps even stronger if we know how to recognize why.  I am incomplete.  I am missing a rib, and there is a single Catholic woman somewhere who has it.  Should I be so Blessed as to find her and marry her, I fully expect life to take its course.  I was once on a retreat, the Retreat Master being Father Bing Arellano, a Vatican Exorcist and founder of the Alliance of the Two Hearts.  Throughout the retreat, he would often begin his sermons with “Men, look at your wives.  There is your Cross.  Women, look at hour husbands.  There is your Cross.  No pain, no gain!  No Cross, no Resurrection, no glory! ”  Should you have seen the movie “The Passion of the Christ” it is a powerful audio, visual reminder that a Cross HURTS!  Jesus showed the most extravagant of Love on the Cross.

    In short, as a Catholic single man, unsuccessful thus far in my quest to find my rib, my wife, I think it may just come down to this featuring Catholic author Patricia Wrona.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igWYAe0ezO4&list=UUCAAtjF0KYxbXdsOpbAd6DQ&index=158&feature=plcp

  • Anonymous

    yess wctube

  • samcarter

    I was in graduate school, recently dumped by a guy who was such a waffler and a wimp about committment, that I had had it. So I signed up on Classifieds2000 (most likely defunct now) because it allowed you to set very strict  parameters.  I specifically stated that i was ready for marriage, anybody NOT interested in marriage need not apply, I was sick of the dating game. oh, and you must be at least Christian (at the time I was attending a nondenominational church, ended up reverting), nonsmoking, like kids and not be a jerk.

    I got a very sweet letter from a guy who talked about teaching Sunday School, his garden, the Boy Scout troop he led, and we’ve since been married for 12 years, four kids.  Also, it turned out that he knew my brother well in college, and came close to asking me out when he saw me across the dining hall at the same college.  WEIRD.

    All I’m saying is, sometimes if you put it right out there, “Ready for marriage, done with dating,” the real men will come out of the woodwork.  Dating is too often a pastime with people, rather than a means of discernment.

  • Susan

    This may not be what you want to hear, but I married three guys (before becoming a Catholic who has issues with whether or not I have confessed well enough) and each marriage was more of a disaster than the one before. I got pregnant;  I wanted a father for my kids; I wanted to be whatever being married makes one in this society; and I  didn’t get anything after the babies.  Two with husband number 1, BTW.
    But I eventually learned to trust God and honestly, three times is a charm with bad marriages. I wouldn’t take another man on for anything, let alone try to getget an annulment for one. I am safe from my own machinations until the last one dies.  
    I don’t have an opinion about whether you should be married or not, just an opinion that a bad marriage is not better than no marriage and God loves you. 
    God bless

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.algarme Michael Algarme

      “I wanted a father for my kids . . .”  “I  didn’t get anything after the babies.”  “I wouldn’t take another man on for anything, let alone try to getget an annulment for one.”

      Susan,

      I am sorry for your bad experiences.  I truly am.  But here was your first mistake.  “but I married three guys (before becoming a Catholic . . .”  What I can tell you is that there is a Priest whom I highly respect, and he gave a Homily one day that I have never forgotten.  Father Nguyen  is a Cannon Lawyer and was once a member of the Marriage Tribunal.  In his Homily he shared some of the daily painful annulment cases in which he was hearing.  He remarked that he saw so many broken marriages because all to many people went into their marriage with the thought, “I want to marry him/her because I think he/she can make me happy”  He want on to say that a key ingredient in a life long, lasting marriage is that a man or woman should both go into a marriage with the firm resolve “I want to marry him/her because I want to make him/her happy.”  Love, he explained is about giving.  If this resolve is mutual between a man and wife, you reflect the complete Self giving Love of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  And in case you hadn’t noticed, being Crucified HURTS!  Love HURTS!  I don’t expect a perfect outcome to every marriage, Catholic or not.  We are human, and thus we make mistakes.

      Should I be so Blessed as to find the woman who bears my rib, who is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones, (without malicious planning) I know there are going to be times where I am going to totally piss her off.  There are going to be times when she is totally going to piss ME off.  It may be big things.  It may be a pile of little things.  I still don’t know that to do if in bed with my wife and I have to fart.  I’m human.  I don’t know what to do if SHE farts in bed.  Something like that can be really ANNOYING!  What I do know is that my favorite radio talk show host, Dennis Prager, who is an observant, and in my opinion a Godly Jew, says in his observation a marriage can survive arguments, financial difficulties, and even infidelity.  What he said a marriage could never survive is contempt.  It makes sense, because contempt seems to have a way of smearing a man or woman’s humanity.  If you hate the very core of the person, I see no hope either.

      Trust me, I have dreams, hopes and very strong desires.  There are many things I WANT from a spouse.  Tonight I am going to see my Spiritual Director, whom I visit on a monthly basis, because I am trying to increase, and make more tenderly loving my relationship with God, and be content in Him.

      So the long and the short if it is, IMHO, when you go into a marriage with these words in your head . . . “I wanted a father for my kids . . .”  “I  didn’t get anything after the babies.”  “I wouldn’t take another man on for anything, let alone try to getget an annulment for one;”  It seems you reap what you sew.  I have a strong suspicion these three men you married likely had similar motives.  I am so sorry.  I truly hope you find that trust and contentment in God you speak of and that someday you will be Eternally happy.  God Bless you.

    • pol

      After 3 bad marriages and 6 years of theapy, I learned this valuable lesson: unless you love yourself, you can’t love anyone else.  I learned that “I” as person have worth and value whether or not I am married AND IF I didn’t find anyone again, I was ok with that. When I met my now 4th wife and we began to get serious, I told her EVERY bad thing about me I could think of. I also told her what I had been through and I had the wherwithall to say: “This is who I am and what I’ve been through. IF you can deal with me on this basis, fine, I’m  happy. IF not, then I undertsand and we can go our seperate ways.”  However, I was 48 at the time and she was 39(and never married). We were pretty set as people, but so far, we’ve together for 11 years and married for 8. And by the way, I managed to get not 1 , but 2 annulments. It took 2 years to get the annulments and go through PreCanna, including a special couples counseling, but we did it.  Sometimes, it’s been tough, but we’ve survived.  Because we were older and had been through the mill and survived on our own, we KNOW that we have the strength to get hrough our troubles. 
      Finally, let me say this: So what if you don’t find someone, you ARE someone and you celebrate that, keep cool and carry on. 


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