Several weeks ago I shared the story of a dear reader who is dating a nice, Catholic guy. He has a job, interesting hobbies, friends, nice family, is cute and practices his faith for real. So, what is the problem? The problem is that she is not sure if she feels a spark or not and therefore is unsure of what to do. In that post, I shared that there is paralyzing fear and there is healthy fear. Last week I covered paralyzing fear (which needs to be healed by God) and this week I will cover healthy fear.
Back in May I wrote the Give Him 3 Dates post. Much of what I wrote had to do with the beginning stages of dating. I suggested that you give a guy 3 dates to allow for God to move if He chooses. You can always say to God, “I gave this guy a chance. No spark.”
But what about when you have been dating this nice, Catholic guy for a while and although things are good, you just don’t feel a spark? What if God is not moving your heart towards this guy?
I describe this as a feeling of hesitation and when it comes to marriage, I believe we should heed these feelings of hesitation. I believe that they come from the Holy Spirit. But, how do you know that the fear you are feeling is a healthy feeling of hesitation from the Holy Spirit?
Would You Pick Him?
The Catholic Sacrament of Marriage is permanent. When considering your husband, you need to believe that if you had all the men in the entire world to pick from, you would pick this man. And, you should have confidence and peace about forever with him.
During the ‘forever’ many things will happen. He will make you mad and his human imperfections will annoy you. The same goes for your human imperfections. You may even feel tempted towards infidelity. It is during those times that you need to be able to say to yourself, “He is not perfect but there is no other man I want.”
Not A Safety Net
When considering marriage, be sure to avoid the safety net syndrome. This is when you marry a guy because another man might not come along. That, to me, is not a good reason. Your beloved needs to be more than just a safety net for you. You need to look at him with admiration and be able to thank God for such a wonderful husband. If you cannot do this, then those feelings of hesitation and fear are healthy and it may be time to break things off.
Ask The Question
So the dear reader in this story did ask herself the “if I had all the men to pick from…” question. It was a good process for her to go through because it forced her to look at this wonderful man and all his qualities. It softened her heart towards him to know how much he cares about her and accepts her with all her human flaws. It helped her understand and prioritize what she is looking for in marriage. Then, she decided to give things more time because so far, the answer to the question “if I had all the men to pick from, would I pick him?” was “yes, I think so!”
It may have helped when I reminded her that the type of man she is dating, with all his qualities and character, is exactly the type of man who can make a girl very happy. When you go to Mass and see families, do you notice that the men leading these strong, faithful Catholic families don’t always have the ‘Wow!’ factor? But they are solid men and their wives are, more often than not, happy and at peace.
Sometimes our fears are a product of our need for healing. Sometimes they are signposts of hesitation that force us to evaluate the relationship. Other times, they are healthy fears which are intended to steer us away from a relationship which may seem good but is not God’s will. This discernment process should include the following:
- A look at ourselves and our need for healing
- A look at the guy and his qualities/character
- Asking the question, “If I had all the men in the world to pick from, would I pick him?”
- If the answer to #3 is “No”, then I suggest you break things off.
- If the answer to #3 is “Yes” or even, “Maybe”, then I suggest you give it more time.
There are so many opinions out there about discerning marriage with a particular man. Some would say that my question in #3 above is the wrong approach.
My opinion on this is a result of my experience. I could not answer “Yes” to #3 above for any other guy until I met Gregg. And, that question still gets a “Yes!” from me today.
I had feelings of hesitation and what I now call ‘healthy fear’ with all other guys. It is true that with these guys, some of my paralyzing fears were due to my issues and need for healing. So, I can’t blame it all on them. But, what is interesting is that I still had the same issues which should have caused paralyzing fear when I met Gregg. But, instead of feeling paralyzed, I felt confident in our future and filled with fortitude. I, of course, credit this to God’s beautiful will and The Veil.
Do you trust that the Lord has a will for your life? Do you trust that the Holy Spirit will lead you to His will? When you are confronted with healthy fear, please pay attention to your feelings of hesitation. But, may I sweetly recommend that you take the time to discern first before breaking things off with a guy who has the potential to be an amazing husband?
As always, you are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
God love and bless you!
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