Q: I’m about to graduate from college and I’m still single. A lot of my friends are in serious relationships or getting engaged. I’m scared I’m going to have a hard time finding someone to marry once I’m out of school. Do you have any advice?
A: My biggest piece of advice is continue to grow in your faith and never underestimate what God has in store for you.
I was 29 years old when I went on my first date with Brian, so I know how easy it can be to wonder if (and how) I would ever meet the person God was preparing for me.
As I watched more and more of my friends get married, I was struck by how unique each of their stories were. I began to see that God doesn’t just have one cookie-cutter plan for everyone to find their spouse.
There’s no way to know if today is the day you will meet your future spouse. What you do know is that you can choose to draw closer to God each day (James 4:8) and that you can trust joyfully in His plan for your life (see Philippians 4:6-7 and Jeremiah 29:11).
To show how unpredictably good God’s “match-making” plans can be – several of my friends and I (all parents now) share our stories of how we met our future husbands.
I met my future husband…
“Although I didn’t know it at the time, Brian first saw me standing outside the elementary school where I was teaching. He was picking up his nieces from school one day and asked them if they knew who I was. One of them said I was her math teacher. During class later that week, his niece told me that her uncle had seen me and he liked me. Thinking this “uncle” sounded creepy and stalkerish, I told her that was inappropriate to say to a teacher! Months later, Brian saw me again at a young adult retreat we were both attending. He awkwardly introduced himself and tried to explain how he didn’t intend for his niece to say anything to me. I was relieved to find out he wasn’t actually a stalker. A few months later he emailed me at my work account and said he had a math question…“could I have your phone number?” We were married about one year later! In finding Brian, I realized that God’s plan for my life was far better than any plans I had previously imagined.”
-Courtney Kissinger, married five days before she turned 30
AT THE AIRPORT
“I was 26 when I headed to meet some friends from grad school for a weekend in Vegas. A man approached me as we were waiting for our flight and we talked for about 20 minutes before boarding. We left without exchanging information, other than knowing we would be on the same flight home two days later.
We did not see each other in Vegas, however when we met up with our friends that first evening, we both told our friends about this person we met in the airport, so there was obviously some sort of immediate spark. We chatted for two hours while our return flight was delayed. He had me laughing the entire time and I knew God had something extra special planned when we realized our seats were next to each other for the four hour flight home. He asked me for a date halfway through the flight and we had our first date four days later. We were engaged one year later and married one year after that. We are still flying on cloud nine!”
-Lindsay W., married at age 28
AT A CHRISTMAS PARTY
“When I graduated from college many of my friends were getting married. However, that was not God’s plan for me. I moved to Washington, D.C. and began my career. There were times when I thought I was not meant to marry (yet it was my heart’s desire) because I was not meeting ‘Mr. Right.’ When I turned 33, I converted to Catholicism. A few months later, I told my spiritual director that I realized that if the man I was to marry was not God’s pick then I would not be happy, and that I would be happier single than married to the wrong person. My spiritual director said, “Better to be single and wish you were married, than married and wish you were single!” How true!
Ironically, about a month later, I met Mr. Right. I had met some some new Catholic friends who later invited me to a Catholic Forum Christmas party. I met my future husband there. Our second date was Mass and brunch, and we knew by our third date that this was it. God waited until I was Catholic before I met Mr. Right. And he also waited until I finally turned over my future to Him. Twenty-one years and five kids later, I can truly say that my husband was the right one for me. I was 35 years old when I married (almost 36) and my husband was 37 (almost 38). We had our last child when I was 47 and he was 49. God has a wonderful sense of humor, and He always knows what is best for us!”
-Susie M., married at age 35
“I spent my twenties building a pretty great life–making friends, volunteering, getting involved at church, and most importantly, deepening my relationship with God. I also spent a lot of time praying and waiting (sometimes impatiently!) for my husband. I wondered if God had forgotten about my dreams to be a wife and mom. So I did what any woman in the modern era does – online dating!
At 27, I met a man online and dated him for a couple months before calling off the relationship – something didn’t feel right, even though he was kind, honest and Catholic. A few years later, we got back in touch via Facebook, and something just clicked. Nine months later we were engaged; nine months after that we were married. We now have a beautiful son. It wasn’t the path I had envisioned for myself – I walked down the aisle at 30, several years later than I had hoped, and I met my husband online! But I wouldn’t trade that time in my twenties knowing what I know now. It wasn’t always easy, but I led a fulfilling single life, which makes me a better wife and mom now.”
-Rebecca C., married at age 30
OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT
“On my 31st birthday, after being single for nearly a decade, I had come to terms with the fact that maybe I would never get married or have kids, and I was at peace with that. Then one day, I ran into this guy outside my apartment complex as I went to pick up some take-out. I was a complete mess–in sweats, with no make-up on. It turns out he had just moved into the complex and his apartment was on the same floor as mine.
By the time I turned 32, we were engaged and now, at 34 years old, we have two kids and are happily married. God’s plans were definitely not my own. I wanted to marry a non-bald guy who was a practicing Catholic. My husband is bald and converted to Catholicism before we got married. Looking back, I see that I needed all that time being single to build up my own self esteem, hobbies and, most importantly, my relationship with Christ. I am so grateful for having had the time to build friendships and go to daily Mass. I treasure those times and I am confident now in my vocation.”
-Jessica B., married age at 32
AT MY BROTHER’S HOUSE
“Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of getting married and having children. Having been married for nearly 30 years now, I am confident that God had His reasons for having me wait until I was 30 to meet my husband. After teaching for several years and dating different guys, I wasn’t sure that ‘Mr. Right’ was ever going to come along.
One Sunday afternoon, my mother encouraged me to go visit my brother at his new house. Unbeknownst to me, he had invited several friends and one neighbor who was 34. The minute my brother introduced us, I knew this was the man God had waiting for me. We talked for hours, oblivious to those around us. Faith, family, and similar values were evident immediately (including a magical ‘spark’). Within 3 months, he proposed, and we were married less than a year later.
-Mary Lee F., married at age 30
AT A PARTY…THEN THE HOSPITAL
“During my 20s and early 30s, I was becoming doubtful that I’d ever get married. How many rosaries or novenas could I say? I met my husband at a party hosted by a Catholic women’s group on June 9, 2012. We went out on a date, but a second date did not come until 7 months later. My husband got into a bad motorcycle accident and I decided to visit him in the hospital. We re-established a friendship in the hospital and a few months later my husband asked me out again. He always tells me he regretted not asking me out again after the first date – not that I remind him of it or anything (I do!).
In the end, I’ve learned that God’s timing is always perfect in ways we may never fully comprehend. While we had a significant break between the first and second date, my husband proposed on June 8, 2013 – nearly a year after we first met.”
-Erin B., married at age 34