|To find out how to get somewhere we start with where we want to be and realize where we are now.|
I heard a talk this morning (8 a.m. 1160 AM Catholic Radio, D.C. area) about how priests prepare for five years or more for their vocation of priesthood, but couples preparing for marriage, which is an equivalent vocation, spend…six months. In that process we maybe spend four or five one-hour sessions with a priest, add in a couple’s retreat, and a class on Natural Family Planning (what’s that? oh just a guide for amazing love making that lasts), and we’re all of a sudden prepared to take on a vocation just as important as the priesthood. If that’s the only thing couples are doing to set them selves up for the long haul, it doesn’t add up. No wonder we’re in a marriage crisis.
I often think our society, and I for most of my life, spend a lot of effort and time in trying to find the perfect, ideal person. What gets left behind, and much harder to deal with, is the person we have the hardest time facing---ourselves.
The point I want to say is that preparing for marriage begins when we’re single. I only started to realize this three and a half years ago when I was in Costa Rica. The love of my life, the only person I felt prayerfully convinced I was meant to marry, broke up with me months before I left, and I had a lot of hurt, anger, confusion, sadness, and felt downright lost. It took a year after Mimi and I broke up that I really started to get what it means to prepare for marriage---becoming the best version of the man I know I am…with only myself.
At the beginning of 2011, I really started to reflect on the man I wanted to be, especially as an eventual husband and father. After a lifetime of dating (I jumped from girlfriend ship to ship since literally 5th grade), I was tired of the scene and wanted to be ready to be able to marry the next woman I eventually would meet and date once I was back in the states. I wanted to be the best version I know I can be once I met that woman, so I set out some goals.
I told myself, when I’m a husband and father I want to be:
A man of prayer.
A man who is a good lover.
A man who is physically strong and in shape.
A man who knows how to upkeep a house.
A man who is prepared to provide financially.
A man who knows who he is and whose he is.
I’m going to break this up in a series. I encourage all single guys (and women, I speak to guys because that’s who I know how to be like) to take time to list the kind of person you want to be when you seek out your vocation whether that’s married, religious life, or even vocationally the lay single servant of God.
Remember, figuring out where we’re suppose to go starts with knowing where we are. In this case, that means facing who we are ourselves.