"I Have A Plan For You"
A few days ago I got a message from a girl who is in the process of discerning a relationship. She asked me, "what did you do when you were discerning if Dominic (my husband) was the one you were to marry?".
This immediately transported me to three years ago when both Dominic and I were discerning marriage. I wanted to share with you what I shared with her:
1) Don't rush the discernment.
Often, we want an answer quickly and in doing that, we overlook things that really matter and make a difference.
2) Be open to both 'yes' and 'no'.
When we are in love, we so badly want the answer to be 'yes', that they are the one we are to marry. But the reality is that the answer could be 'no', and we have to be open and ready for that.
3) Look beyond just love.
Chances are, if you are discerning marriage you are in love with your significant other. But love should never be the only deciding factor. Marriage is forever, so you need to look at concrete things. Do they have the same values as you? Do they honour the Church teachings on family life and procreation? Are they open to children? Does the Catholic faith guide their approach to life? These are all important questions to ask if we are to pursue the fullness of married Catholic life.
4) Reflect: Does this person bring me closer to God? Does this person desire holiness for both himself and I?
Our journey here on earth is temporary, all leading towards eternity. What we do here on earth determines our destination afterwards. If we are to spend the rest of our lives with someone, we want to make sure that they themselves desire holiness and encourage us to grow closer to God in what we say, how we act, and in what we do. They should never pressure us to do something against the Will of God and they should never allow for us to remain in sin, instead, constantly reevaluating how together you can strive for holiness.
5) Reflect: Does this person bring out the best qualities in me?
We all are made imperfect but are perfected in Christ alone. If this person strives for godly qualities, chances are we will follow. Inevitably, the person you spend the most time with you learn the most from. You learn from each other and so it's important that your good qualities outshine the ones you may struggle with. (Though if you do slip and fall, that's totally normal. This person will love you through it and encourage you to get back on track). Also, if you are always sad or quick to anger around them and are always arguing with them, these are not fruits of the Spirit and need to be considered.
6) Discern in Adoration.
Find your local Adoration Chapel and set aside a couple of hours to meet with Christ face-to-face. Bring a rosary, notebook and pen, Bible, and anything else that will help you make this time fruitful. In front of the Blessed Sacrament, I promise, that if you pray with all your heart and open your heart to Him, you will find your answer.
I remember doing this a few times and on the third time, experiencing something I have never experienced before. As I sat before Christ, I felt an overwhelming peace in my heart. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before. And in that moment, I began to sob. I truly felt the Lord speak to my heart; it was as though He was saying to me, "Daughter, you followed the path I have set out for you to the man you will marry."
In front of the Blessed Sacrament, you will never experience anxiety if the answer is the one the Lord has set out for you. The answer, instead, will bring you immense peace. It's only important to be open to His answer and know that it is the one that will bring us the most joy.
Sisters, if you are in discernment about a relationship right now, I hope that this helps you even a little bit. I also wanted to say that all the standards that apply to your significant other also apply to you! It's important that as women striving for holiness, we check-in with ourselves and make sure we are doing all the things that we expect of our future husband.
Give yourself the grace and time to patiently discern. After all, this is the biggest decision of your life and it is important that you make the right one as it is forever. Continue being open to the Lord and know that He will never lead you astray. With Him, you will always make the right decision.
With so much love, Kasia