Sunday, May 23, 2010

Matchmaking: My fruitless passion!


Bold blogger that I am now, I teased you all a couple of times with the fact that I am a (self-described) Catholic matchmaker! I am probably enamored with the idea of matchmaking for the same reason that I am obsessed enamored with the IF bloggers: I love the idea of building up great Catholic families for the Kingdom of God.
Under no circumstances will I admit that I have never had a single success at matchmaking since I have begun my mission. So, don't ask because I won't tell you. Seriously. I won't. Ha ha, just kidding. I admit that I am, so far, a failure.
I believe I am on to something with Catholic matchmaking, though. Think about it.... What is more natural than devout Catholic parents wanting to match up their kids? If you are skeptical, I give you two letters: E and C. We are all romantics at heart, no? (By the way, Shannon was right and E will have to battle it out with my little Matthew for C's heart!)
So, here is the genesis of my matchmaking dreams, spelled out in an article I wrote for Catholic Exchange way back in February 2008 (I have edited out irrelevant parts for this post):
As a faithful Catholic parent, have you ever found yourself secretly "matching up" your children with the children of other faithful Catholic friends? Perhaps you've jokingly promised one of your infants to the infant of a dear Catholic friend who laughed with you and happily agreed to the "betrothal"? If you are like me, you secretly (or not so secretly) have scouted out future spouses for your children, hoping for the perfect in-laws, dreaming that your beloved offspring would have the best possible chance for Holy Matrimony lived out as Christ and His Church envisions.
Well, I've taken it all a step further, as the frustrated Yenta in me has finally burst forth into the public sphere in the form of Catholic Moms Matchmaking.
The idea for this apostolate is simple, and it grew naturally over some time. A few years ago, I started to notice an epidemic of unhappy marriages and the ripple effect that spread a couple's misery to children, extended family, and even friends. It then occurred to me that many parents are working hard to ensure their children's academic and career success, but few are sweating and sacrificing to ensure that their children are marriageable. This is a grave cultural mistake. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the single biggest factor in one's happiness is the state of one's marriage. And a happy marriage cannot be realized unless a parent teaches a child, by word and example, how to be a good husband or wife. We expect our children to find a spouse of worthy character, but do we make sure that our own children are themselves a "catch"?
During this time, I also started to learn more about the Church's beautiful teachings on marriage, specifically John Paul II's earth-shattering writings on human sexuality known as the Theology of the Body. I began to hope and pray for a way to give my children a chance at God's ideal, knowing this could only be attained by their finding a spouse with a shared vision of what marriage should be. It seemed pretty clear: For those of my children not called to a religious vocation, it would be imperative that they find a devout and believing Catholic with whom to enter into the Sacrament of Matrimony.

All these thoughts were ruminating in my head for a couple of years, when one day I came upon an article in a secular magazine about happily married young couples who met their spouses via an introduction from Mom. It made perfect sense to me, as who knows a child better than a mother? And who can a child trust more than a parent? And why shouldn't the family have some influence on whom a child dates, in order to keep the child from marrying the wrong person out of infatuation, immaturity or confusion? The idea of Catholic moms playing matchmaker became an exciting thought.
I talked lightly to a few friends about my desire to set up a "database" for a future mixer for our children as they approached marrying age. Each time, the response was positive. I was actually shocked at the enthusiasm I encountered! Eventually, it occurred to me that the Internet afforded opportunities for Catholic matchmaking which did not involve large, expensive websites (after all, I had, no computer savvy, no time, and no money). What about an email group like the one my former homeschooling community uses to communicate among themselves?

Before the article ran, I'd already established my little yahoo email group, had received the blessing of my priest, and had several friends sign on. The day the article ran, I had over a thousand hits on the (now defunct) Catholic Moms Matchmaking webpage my friend Lisa had set up for me, and about a hundred people joined my email group (which still exists). Most of the members have small children, so the fruits of the apostolate will not be seen for many years.... Activity on the group has slowed up, however, and things are fairly inactive now.
Nevertheless, a couple of interesting things have come out of my endeavors in recent months. A dear blogger that we all know and love is looking for her husband. I thought I would stick my nose right in and boldly proclaim my assistance in this matter! Although I did not know her at the time, I emailed her and asked what her "type" was, offering to put the word out to my matchmaking group. She pretended I wasn't a nut and graciously agreed. Fast forward, I almost flipped my lid when a date actually materialized! A pretty great date, too, save for one teensy weensy issue that could not easily be resolved -- a little something called the truth and meaning of human sexuality. But, there were great graces for both parties that came from that experience (or so I keep telling myself, as I feel like a heel that it didn't end in vocational bliss), and God knows what He is doing.
I had another near miss recently with another single Catholic lady seeking a spouse. I sent the word out again to my group, and something bizarre happened! There was one response from my group (someone suggesting her brother-in-law), and it turns out that this same man was someone the seeking lady had singled out on a Catholic dating site weeks before, out of thousands of men! What are the odds? I thought I saw God's hand in this pairing, and that He would lead them straight down the aisle and to the altar. Alas, I was wrong. It didn't work out. Sigh.
So here I am, the least successful matchmaker on earth (batting .000), ever hopeful that someday, somehow, I'll score a Catholic match! I have several children of my own who will need to find good spouses if they are called to married life.... Maybe that's another reason I am praying so hard for all the IF bloggers: I need your children to marry mine! There is always room for more in the little Catholic bubble!
:)


16 comments:

  1. Oh gosh... I hate to tell ya, but you'd better prepare your children for the religious life now, if you expect them to marry children from my miserably barren womb!! Their poor spouses will never even be conceived!

    :)

    Keep working at it, I bet you're going to make an UNBELIEVABLE match someday. All of this has been practice for the match made in heaven.

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  2. Love it! This idea makes perfect sense to me now that we have little E! I'm sure you will have fruitful results at some point...and I'm so glad you have a blog so we can read all about it. :)

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  3. as in our previous discussion, I have a single BIL.........get'crackin! :)

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  4. I love how you discussed how you have to make sure your OWN son or daughter is a "catch" first! I tell girls, "Before you meet a prince, you have to be a princess!" I think there could be something to match-making. Not to sound Victorian or anything, but when we over-romanticize marriage and think that marriage is intrinsically about romance and not about children and commitment, then we give ourselves an out when the other isn't "making us happy"- whatever that means. This is the REAL marriage crisis- same-sex marriage is a symptom, not the cause of the marriage crisis. And matching up your children is Biblical, too!

    Sorry to go off on a tangent- you just got me thinking! Great post!

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  5. Can I just say I wish my wonderful Catholic father had introduced me to at least one Catholic man??! ONE! Deep down, I think most of singles appreciate all the help we can get. :) FYI, I am marrying a man I was matched with by friends. In fact, his family has been friends with my dad's family for decades (see? this may have happened sooner had Dad just stepped in, lol. Just sayin'...).

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  6. with enthusiasm like yours, you will def get your match one day! I have a good friend who worked with a women. She ended up marrying her son. Moms really do know best and your children will thank you later for your interest in this. Honestly, the things I think that are hardest about my dh are things his mom told me she let pass b/c it wasn't worth bringing them up to him (meaning, he gave her grief so she quickly gave up). I thought "thanks a lot!" These are our toughest battles and I don't have the luxury to not take them on. The number one thing you can teach your children about being a good spouse-selflessness. Something dh and I strive for (and fail at!) daily! :)

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  7. Ken and I matched two of our single friends once - now they are married with 3 boys! woohoo!!!

    Heck yes John Paul and baby Lucy are getting married someday! Madeleine is my Dominican :)

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  8. Beth-I LOVEEEEE that you said that M is your Dominican!! I want a Dominican too!

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  9. Keep up the matchmaking Leila! And I'll join you. I'm already working on someone for Mikey, although the priesthood may be calling! And I'm pulling for our little girl on the way to be a Dominican too!

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  10. I am so glad you guys are with me on this! :) And, such great food for thought in your answers... I just love reading about how this plays out or should have played out in your own lives...

    TCIE, I have no doubt that one day your children will be in the pool of potential spouses!

    Barbie... I'll do my best, lol!

    Oh, and I do sorta have one match (indirectly) that may be working out.... More on that if it ever really does come to something!

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  11. You're welcome to any of mine that aren't headed for religious life. That's six minus the ones God takes. You should get one or two out of the group. Just tell me the ages and sexes you need and we'll match them up now.

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  12. aka the Mom, I hope you have lots of little girls, as we are almost all boys! Here we go... girls: 18 & 15. Boys, 16, 12, 9, 5, 3, 3months. Can we write up a contract?

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  13. A Catholic college studentMay 2, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    I know that parents are always looking out for the best interest of their children...But also please remember to treat your children as ADULTS when they are adults, and realize that what you have in mind for a spouse for them--may be very different from the person they envision themselves with! Here's a great quote from the Catechism:
    "2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family."

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  14. college student, Amen! We don't do arranged marriages here, lol!

    Forced marriages are invalid. I do believe Anthony, at age 25, is an adult. He was happy to have this forum to meet a woman. And all the women are willingly sending photos and info. I hope you don't think internet dating or internet matches are somehow problematic?

    Anyway, I hope you find your prince someday, too… :)

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  15. I am all messed up with these comments, due to the similar sounding title and the fact that they come via email… Anyway, I hope you got my main point, catholic college student. We don't believe in arranged or forced marriages. Most stable families, though, have a good idea what kind of man or woman would be good for a child (even an adult child). It's not a great thing if the family thinks the guy you're marrying is a jerk. Usually they see something that you might not. But again, I'm talking about happy families with a strong faith.

    Thanks for the comment though, the quote from CCC is excellent!

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