Dating/My Relationships/Teen Relationships What if I Ruin Everything?!: Dating and God’s Will by Courtney Kissinger Q: If I am called to marriage, how do I know that, if I wait with trust and patience for a true gentleman to pursue me the way I deserve, God will send me someone? What if the person God has intended for me to marry is actually a less mature “diamond in the rough”? I’m afraid I can’t trust my own judgment and that I will miss opportunities and ruin everything. A: The truth is we (humans) don’t know how God is going to work in your life — only He does! For that reason, my ultimate answer to your question is that you need to seek the Lord’s advice on a (1) daily and (2) case-to-case basis. Seek God’s Advice Daily It’s important to set aside time every day to pray, to talk and listen to God. Prayer is a “pouring out of our hearts” (Psalm 62:9). Pour out to God all the concerns and questions you have about your vocation and future spouse. The truth is He already knows what you’re thinking, and He already knows how He is going to respond (trust me, He’s got it all covered) – but it’s still important for us to have these regular, daily conversations with Him. Like any great relationship you have, communication (talking and listening) is essential! Some days you may feel like all you can think/pray about is meeting the right guy, and other days it won’t feel as pressing to you. Whatever is on your heart that day, share that with the Lord. Seek God’s Advice in All Situations In addition to this regular prayer time you establish with the Lord, pray as different situations present themselves. It is good to think of the positive characteristics you expect your future husband to have. However, until you meet someone and start to get to know them, you can’t possibly predict all the qualities an individual will have. The (hypothetical) “church guy” who goes to youth group or the Newman Center each week may know how to treat women with respect by, for example, holding a car door open. Whereas, the thought of holding a door open for a lady may have never occurred to the (hypothetical) “less mature guy,” but he may be equally or exceedingly capable of treating a woman he’s pursuing with respect and kindness. When someone comes into your life that catches your eye for whatever reason (maybe you find him attractive or he’s asked you out), ask God what to do at that time. You can also ask a trusted person — like your mom, priest, wise friend — their opinion too, at that time. Relationships are based on encounters with people. Without having met someone and spent some time getting to know him, you can’t really tell if there could possibly be a future with him. As you continue to seek God in all situations, you will begin to trust more and more that God will have answers for you, when you need to them. The answers may come through a sense of peace, words spoken from a trusted person, the Living Word found in the Scripture, or in other ways God presents Himself in your life. Meeting the person God has intended for you to marry may not fit the Good-Catholic-Guy-Pursues-Good-Catholic-Girl model. But he should meet certain standards. He should treat you with respect and kindness. Ultimately, your relationship should move both of you closer to God. For some relationships, that may involve praying on a first date. For others, it may mean seeing God’s love expressed in kind words or actions. You can’t control where on the “true-gentleman to diamond-in-the-rough” spectrum your future husband might be right now. What you can control is how you’re shaping yourself. That’s why it’s important for you to continue to grow in your faith and let God show you who YOU are. Because whoever the lucky man is that ends up with you – he is going to be pursuing/falling in love with the wonderful, holy, loving woman that you are. And that is where there is no room for settling! God’s will for your life is not a riddle in which you have to get everything right. So do not be afraid that you will “ruin everything.” Rather, seek the Lord’s advice with confidence (1 John 5:14). Follow Him and you will not be disappointed. Do you have a question about dating and relationships you’d like to ask Brian and Courtney Kissinger? Email them at Itscomplicated@lifeteen.com and your question could be the next blog post!