Vocation of Marriage: George Bailey or Prince Charming?

Over at the National Catholic Register I enjoyed an article titled: Do You Want to Marry George Bailey or Prince Charming?  Please do take the time to go read this fine article and browse their headlines.

I was reading this and thinking about my husband who happens also to be my very own mad scientist, inventor, philosopher, creative genius, and a sanctifying influence on my life.  I love the man. He makes me think of a mix of Merlin and Sherlock Holmes. He challenges me to keep growing in my vocation and I in turn challenge him.

Women do themselves no favors, as the article points out, when they put too much emphasis on finding the perfect match.  What is needed is a good match and this is always somewhat unique.

Learning to know oneself through evaluating your friendships is a good start for figuring out how to recognize a good match. Ask why certain people are good for you and you for them when other, perfectly wonderful persons, are NOT good for you or you are not good for them. You may find that your traits seem to influence some of your friends positively and others negatively.  Thinking about how others influence you and how you influence others is essential to finding a good match because in marriage the two people influence each other.

George Bailey represents those persons in our lives who are a positive influence on who we become. George Bailey with his dedication to serving others made his whole world better including the lives of his wife and children.  He was a consistently good influence on people around him. As human beings, we grow and change throughout our lives.  The strongest influence for good or ill in our development can be the person we love and share child rearing with– our spouse.

The soul mate represents that perfect right now match. It places the focus not on how we influence others or how they influence us as we grow but instead on an exciting here and now idea of perfection.  Yet what happens when that perfect soul mate changes with time as all humans change? Will there be the possibility of growing together and working together for the good of the family or will there be resentment that the soul mate is no longer that ideal?  Any relationship that begins with the idea that there will be no change is founded more on sand than rock.

Character matters so very much.  Two persons of good character who find themselves in a friendship that is becoming something special where they influence each other in positive ways and can see spending a life growing together and raising children together is the far better match.  This sort of relationship gains in intimacy over time.  Respect and love grow in response to the mutual benefit of working to build a life that leads to greater virtues.  Children brought into such a positive environment will see demonstrated this growth in virtue and will begin to follow that example.

YOUR “George Bailey” sort of match may not resemble your best friend’s “George Bailey” match.  Not every woman would find my beloved husband the right person with whom to spend a life.  He helps me grow to be the better person I want to be and he tells me I help him grow to be the better person he wants to be; together we build a relationship that we hope is teaching our offspring how to grow to be the best people they can be.


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