Yep, it's true! I'm quitting my little hobby of many years. My yenta days (outside of family) are over.
|Golde and Yenta, Fiddler on the Roof, United Artists|
I'm a tiny bit sad about that, since I still get messages almost weekly asking for help in finding a good Catholic spouse, either for the inquirer or a loved one. I started a Catholic matchmaking yahoo email group (for like-minded Catholic moms) over a decade ago, and then a few years ago I started a private matchmaking blog that continued until recently. I even tried to get a couple of Catholic matchmaking Facebook groups off the ground.
But there is just not enough fruit to keep it up anymore, and very few people actually follow my advice anyway, which has been the deciding factor for me. There is so little time in life, and we all have to decide where to direct our energy most productively.
So, I'm going to throw out some (usually-rejected) advice here, and folks can decide whether or not that advice is worth implementing.
First, in my experience, the vast majority of people actively looking for a Catholic spouse are women in their late twenties to late thirties, well-educated, and situated in good careers. Very few men come on my radar screen, and very few solid Catholic men (meaning, faithful to Church teaching and with jobs and appropriate social skills) are still single past their mid-twenties. Most of those men are marrying young (a good thing!), but that leaves a problem for the ladies: There is a vast pool of lovely, accomplished, faithful Catholic women seeking, and not a very big pool of good men to complement that search.
And yes, that is depressing!
What I always say first to these incredible women: "Have you tried Catholic Match or Ave Maria Singles?" Often the answer is no, as they "don't want to do the online dating thing". Immediately I lament, because one must go where the Catholic men are to find Catholic men, and if they aren't finding them in their parishes (and they obviously are not), there is little chance that they will find a faithful Catholic man at the grocery store or in the corporate world.
God is not going to drop a husband into your lap from the heavens, ladies. You worked very hard getting that college degree (and then that master's degree), so you need to work just as diligently at your own vocation, which is much more important than your job or career in the long run.
Sometimes the women will tell me that they are already on Catholic Match or Ave Maria Singles, but that they have had no luck or have gone inactive. Some thoughts:
1) Yes, there are a lot of men on those sites who are not going to be good husband material, and some are downright awful (one of my first blog posts ever was about the pitfalls of Catholic Match), but it only takes one good guy out of thousands. You are looking for one, that is all. Keep going.
2) You may be way too picky. Life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel, and you are not likely to find an Eduardo Verástegui. If a man is decent, faithful, has good hygiene, and has the means to provide for his family, he is a catch, ladies! If you find that he is "not your type" after the first view of his profile, maybe give him a chance anyway. (I will be writing my next book about Catholic dating and marriage, and I will include the stories of how two of my own children married spouses who were "not their type" at first glance; praise God they persevered!)
3) If you insist on principle that the man must be the initiator while you passively wait for him to make the first contact, well, you may be waiting alone all of your life. I'm just being honest. If you want to find a husband, initiate the first conversation! I am so glad my daughter-in-law did that with my son. And I am glad I was the one who actively pursued my own dear husband so many years ago. :)
4) If you limit yourself to men in your geographical area, eschewing long-distance relationships, then you will indeed be limiting yourself. All three of my married children, and even Dean and I, had long-distance relationships while dating. Not one of us lived in the same state, much less the same city, when we met and dated the other.
Bottom line, marriage is not something magical like fairy dust or wishing on a star that just happens to you like a dream. Like holiness in general, it requires hard work, both before and after the vows.
I have a lot more to say on the matter, as you can imagine, and I will! But one last thought for this short blog post: Pray while you work. The 54-day Novena for finding a spouse is an amazing grace-filled prayer that can make your work of finding a spouse fruitful! Be open, be courageous, be prayerful!
Anyway, it's been fun playing yenta for so long, and I have loved getting to know so many wonderful folks through the process! Go out and promote marriage and family, my friends, as it's the only way to reverse the corrosive effects of the culture. The Church, as always, has the answer! We just need to stop standing in her way.