As a single Catholic, and someone who is actively looking for a solid relationship that leads to marriage, how would you define the word, “attractive”? What is it about someone that you find attractive?
People spend a LOT of money trying to be attractive, especially women. The cost of looking good these days—makeup, clothing, jewelry, hair—is astronomical! The Huffington Post recently had an article that compared the dollar amount a group of women spent on their hair annually and I took a minute to calculate what the average annual expense was per woman… roughly $4,000! Then, there’s dentistry and teeth whitening, salon services, gym memberships, etc. And after all that money spent on our exterior appearance, we keep looking for more ways to be attractive. People spend money on cars that turn heads and make statements. Even your living space makes a statement about you. After all that money is spent, wouldn’t you be disappointed if you still were not considered attractive? Well, it happens more than you think. You can be drop-dead gorgeous and be the most unattractive person in the world.
Attractiveness comes from within, and it’s not just about having a positive attitude. It’s about who you are as a person and how much you love. If you haven’t focused on your inner attractiveness and how you interact with others, none of that other stuff really matters. Being attractive is not just about your outward presentation, it’s an entire package! So I would like to offer you six factors that, if you cultivate them, will help you to become more attractive, and I’ll do this in a 3-part series. Today, however, we’ll just talk about the first attraction factor, which is being Available.
So, what does being available actually refer to? You’re single, right? Isn’t that enough?
Being available means you are truly free to commit to a relationship. There is no unwanted baggage, there are no strings attached to other people. But being available doesn’t mean the same thing for all singles, so I’d like to break it down for you:
For widows and widowers: Being available simply means being healed from your loss. In no way do I suggest you should forget about your spouse or rush to move forward. The memory of your spouse is sacred and your marriage is a huge part of who you are. But to be available, you must be past the grieving stage. Bereavement holds a different time frame for each person who goes through it, and you will know when you have made peace with the death of your spouse. To try and date while you are still grieving will only lead to more hurt and disappointment in the future.
For divorced men and women: It’s important that you have been through the annulment process and have a decree of nullity that states you are not bound to your ex-spouse and you are free to date and marry. If you date without having taken this step, you are taking a great risk. You might fall in love and then decide to go through the process, but there no guarantees you will receive a decree of nullity and that could spell disaster for you.
The other point to consider is the risk you take with your soul. The Church assumes all marriages are valid unless proven otherwise by the annulment process. If you don’t give a tribunal the opportunity to determine whether or not you had a valid marriage bond, then you are considered married in the eyes of the Church, regardless of having a civil divorce decree. So it’s important to make sure you are truly free to date in that sense.
Also, because you’ve endured the traumatic loss of your marriage, you need to make sure you are not dating with the intention of finding a cure for your hurt. You will find much healing as you go through the annulment process, but also, in attending mass and receiving the sacraments. These things will help your heart become truly free from attachments and baggage and ready to give to someone else.
For those who have never been married: Do you have unresolved feelings from past relationships? Are you holding on to the hope that someone who broke up with you will come back? Do you harbor resentment for someone in the past who has hurt you? These things clutter your heart with negativity and bad feelings. Where is the room for love?
There is a great joy in meeting someone you really like, dating, and falling in love. You should be able to experience the thrill of giving your heart to someone special and that comes through being truly free to give your heart to someone else.
I encourage you to take some time, preferably in Eucharistic adoration, and reflect upon any of these issues you may need to address. Take the time to resolve your past relationship issues, it’s worth every moment you spend.
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