Happy Feast of the Annunciation!
We have all thought about our list of qualities for our future spouse (and maybe even religious community), but sometimes those can be pretty limiting on who God has planned for you. Instead, maybe think about the few things that are so important to you, that if a guy you were considering dating (or community you were entering) didn’t have those things, you would have to move on. Why are those things important to you?
I love Liz Lemon sometimes. I also love the definition provided for us. Deal breakers mean you can be open-minded about potential boyfriends, but not so open-minded your brain falls out! Here are the core qualities I looked for while dating:
Charity is caritas; love; agape. It means the guy has a giving heart; and not just giving of his time, talent, or treasure (though those will get him some pretty big bonus points); but giving of self. Part of the theology of marriage is self donation; mutual self-sacrifice; giving and receiving love. My guy has to be charitable in his thoughts, words, actions—his whole self. Charity informs his character and is a core quality that will inform our marriage.
As a woman of faith who desires to share that with her spouse and hopefully kids, it’s important to me that the guy I’m with not only respects that, but values it himself. I do admit I prefer practicing Catholic men, simply because to me at this point in my life, dating is not just for fun—it’s to discern if we can eventually discern to become spouses. And I intend to live out a Catholic marriage and raise my kids Catholic, and as the meme says:
“This ain’t ‘Nam, Smokey. There are rules.”
The Church has some beautiful, if sometimes seemingly challenging to live out, teachings, especially regarding the way husbands and wives live out their faith. For me personally, it’s a deal breaker if the guy I’m with can’t appreciate, understand, or be open to these “rules.” Of course, I’m not going to ask him to merely submit a baptismal certificate with his application to date me—rather, we’re going to have conversations about these topics (if the guy is Catholic or not), and if we aren’t in sync on them, then that’s a deal breaker to me. And in my past experience, the men who were (and are—hi, Sweetie!) in sync, happened to have a Catholic formation and continue to grow in their faith.
Conscious effort to live out a chaste life, along with its companion issue of healthy and moral attitudes toward sex and the human person.
Since I kinda wrote a book on chastity, you betcha it’s important that my guy value, respect, and live it out in his own life and relationship to me. After reading the principles of Theology of the Body and Love and Responsibility, the Church’s beautiful message of life-giving love through the gift of self is something that I want as part of my life for the rest of my life. So my guy has to share in that, too.
This list is mine; God works on each of our hearts and knows what we need and sends the Holy Spirit to inspire us as we discern. So your list will be yours. God wants us to know the incredible love He has for us, which we can experience through marriage or the consecrated life. And He will help us figure out the best way to get there, if we trust in Him. That’s His deal, and He’ll never break it.
*Special Note: Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments regarding the case of Hobby Lobby and whether or not corporations’ owners should be compelled by the government to provide (or be a link in the chain) certain services, even if those services go against religious beliefs and practice. I do not have the background to speak very intelligibly or authoritatively on this case, but I do believe it is a cause for prayers, especially on this day, the Feast of the Annunciation, when an unmarried teen (likely) girl facing the possibility of an unplanned (by her) pregnancy, said one simple word that changed the course of history: “Yes.”