Marriage: Strangers — But Not to God

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9

Love, look at the two of us
Strangers in many ways
Let’s take a lifetime to say
‘I knew you well.’

For All We Know“-Carpenters

The song, written by Fred Karlin, is, to me, the most effective use of about two and a half minutes of song. It’s from the film, “Lovers and Other Strangers”, released in 1970. Though the Vietnam conflict was raging, as well as a myriad of other issues confronting our nation, people still got married. The wedding scene, with the original version of the song, is on You Tube.

What is happening in our culture that so many young men and women are having difficulty meeting (and, yes, marrying)? My view may be limited to 20-and 30-somethings in my immediate orbit, but there seems to be a serious disconnect, and ability to make firm commitments in the area of personal relationships, and the hard but rewarding work involved in getting to know someone, growing closer than you ever have with someone else, and formalizing your promise to God, and to each other.

I recognize the feeling of being part of “forced gaiety”. No doubt being involved in large gatherings where you feel you’re being watched can be a turn-off. Depending on others to introduce you to someone might seem an act of desperation (though my wife and I were “fixed up” and we didn’t know it until a bit later).

I understand the Catholic dating apps aren’t the answer, either. From what I understand, the photo and reality don’t always meld and, before that, some of the back-and-forth in the chat mode can be problematic.

So, what is the answer? There isn’t one answer, but there are some viable paths.

Pray for guidance, yes, unceasingly.

Consider what you are looking for in a life partner.

Trust in recommendations from people you truly trust.

Know that the person you seek, and who seeks you, wants to be your “laborer”, and you want to be theirs. Marriage preparation is very specific in this area. Being married is a lifelong work in progress, literally. Things change, life changes, and some of those changes may send you down a path that is massively difficult, painful, and challenging for the strongest couple. Yet, the key is that you may start out as “strangers” as a newly married couple, but with God’s help, you are not alone. From the first day to the last, Our Lord showers you with blessings, and the Holy Spirit gives you hope, especially when you need it most.

From “A Prayer for Guidance”:
I ask You to listen to my heart as I look for a life partner. Put my yearning for marriage in the right perspective. Lead me to the one You choose and reveal Your plans for them so that I can prepare myself better.

Image: Pxfuel

Michael Throop