A couple of years ago, one of my dearest friends showed me an amazing and moving quote by St. John Chrysostom concerning the love a husband should display to his wife. The quote is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and it reads:
“St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: “I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.”
Since his feast day was Sept. 13, I considered it appropriate to incorporate this quote into my topic. Many young people, particularly women, commonly seem to say many of the following statements or questions:
“I don’t think I will ever find someone—especially a good Catholic.”
“When will I find a man who will respect me?”
“Are there any good men out there?”
The answer is yes, there are good men out there. And yes, there are good Catholic men who will respect you. Although, in order for this to happen, trusting in God is key. We must ask the Holy Spirit to guide our decision in choosing the right person.
The first time I read the quote above, I had actually never heard of it. I realize it is in the Catechism, but it is such a small part of this book that it is very easy to miss. When my friend showed me this quote, I was immediately moved by his use of words. At the time, I had just begun dating my now-husband. I knew that if I was following God’s Will, this would be my husband’s view of me and our marriage as a whole.
I will give you a small background of my discernment. I went through a conversion my senior year of high school after having two failed relationships. I never properly discerned either relationship, and based them solely off of either loneliness or the ‘cloud nine’ feeling. Looking back, I see that I was not mature enough in my faith to even begin a relationship at that point in my life. I first needed to understand who I was as a woman of God.
I eventually learned over the years that I could not fully give myself to anyone until I had completely submitted my will over to God. After one more failed relationship and a constant internal battle between mine and God’s will, I finally said, “Okay, Lord, do whatever you wish with me.”
My final year of college, I told God that if he hadn’t sent me anyone by the time I graduated in Dec. 2011, I would enter the religious life to discern my vocation. Why did I decide this? Because I knew that if I never considered the consecrated life, I would never be certain if God called me to marriage or to the religious life.
This is all it took. God wanted me to give my entire being over to him and to trust Him with my whole life. Once I did, He knew I was ready to meet my husband.
My husband and I had actually been friends for several months before we started dating. It briefly crossed my mind that we would eventually begin dating, but I did not think it would actually happen. Eventually when he decided to take a chance on me, I was a little unsure, but I had a peace within my soul that told me it was the right thing to do. I had never experienced a peace like that in any of my past relationships.
We ended up getting engaged the semester before I graduated college, and then married in June 2012.
You may wonder why I decided to give you a brief overview of my discernment. I did this because I want every person reading this to know that going into the Sacrament of Marriage is not based merely on feeling. It is based on a proper discernment and knowing that God calls you to a specific person. He has a plan for every person entering this vocation, which is why finding the right man is NOT impossible. It should be viewed as something greatly anticipated, but anticipated only in God’s timing.
How do you find the right man? Here’s your answer:
Pray, prepare, and properly discern. This can only be done through God’s strength and guidance. If you are called to marriage, God will send you the right person at the right time. I assure you, you will know if you just place your trust in the Lord’s infinite wisdom. I’m not saying it will be easy, and I’m not saying it will come without trials and sacrifice. I am saying that it will come. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book of Tobit. This passage aided me through my brokenness, and helped me keep the faith when I felt like all hope was lost. Before Tobias marries Sarah, St. Raphael tells him to trust in the Lord’s power and protection:
“Do not be afraid, for she was set apart for you before the world was made.” (Tobit 6:18)
One last important piece of advice: Remember to place your trust in both the Blessed Mother’s and St. Raphael’s intercession, and God will bring the right person at the perfect time.
Blessings and peace to all of you! I will pray for you; please pray for me!
Jacqueline Burkepile freelances for the National Catholic Register, the Texas Catholic, and the North Texas Catholic. She is also the campus minister for Texas Women’s University at Blessed John Paul II University Parish in Denton, Texas.