July 13, 2024

By Andrea Gibbs

We all know the dating world today can be tough to navigate. A variety of studies show us some of the character traits millennials value in a partner are: being competitive, prioritizing emotional intelligence, ability to navigate technology and having independence. While many of these can be worthwhile traits, I would argue that Catholic singles should pursue these traits instead. 

Someone who desires to grow in their faith and is actively living for Christ

The ability to be forward-facing while in a dating relationship is important. All of us have a past and many of us have taken a bumpy road to get to the place we are today in our relationship with Christ. Finding a spouse who loves the Lord and is eager to continue their faith journey is vital. 

Anna and Lane Speirs, a young Catholic married couple in Yankton, chime in with this advice: “It might sound cliche, but be with someone who has their faith as the foundation for their life. In the hard moments, having a shared faith that you both value more than anything will be what unites you when external pressures try to divide you.”  

The Speirs

Someone who is hardworking

The Speirs happened to have met in a work environment while in college at South Dakota State University. Anna notes that part of what attracted her to Lane was his work ethic. Many of our saints would agree that a strong work ethic is a worthy trait to possess. St. Benedict’s Rule is a foundational work for us as Catholics, and although it is often associated with monastic life, much of the beauty in the writing can be applied to us as laypeople. “Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be employed in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout reading” (from the Rule of St. Benedict). Seeing the qualities of integrity and the ability to work hard are definitely attractive.

Someone who appreciates humor and lives joyfully

It is said that humor and joy are both contagious. Lane shares that even before they started dating, he was drawn to Anna’s infectious joy. Anna adds that she was drawn to Lane’s sense of humor while dating, which comes in handy now as they navigate full schedules of work, hobbies and volunteering while raising their two young daughters, Piper and Sutton. 

The ability to find joy in the mundane moments of life and enjoy a laugh together is not to be overlooked as superfluous. St. Thomas More prayed “Grant me, O Lord, a sense of humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke, to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others.”

Someone who makes you stronger

Blessed Charles of Austria, when speaking to Empress Zita the day after their wedding, said, “Now, we must help each other to get to heaven.” Often the outside world can seem to tear us down, so it is essential to have a spouse who can be your cheerleader and your encourager. 

Seeking a spouse who will support you in your gifts and help navigate a life aimed at heaven is indispensable. While in a dating relationship, it is a great time to note if a partner is discouraging or encouraging you towards being the best version of yourself.

Someone who practices hospitality to others

While Anna and Lane were dating, Anna was impressed with Lane’s ability to make others around him feel valued and important. The traits of hospitality and kindness can be easy to spot while dating, so long as your dates are given opportunities for interactions with others. St. Charles de Foucauld once advised, “Above all, always see Jesus in every person, and consequently treat each one not only as an equal and as a brother or sister, but also with great humility, respect and selfless generosity.” Seeking a partner who is welcoming and friendly to those around them can translate to similar interactions throughout the marriage.

Bonus: Be that person that you seek to attract

St. Bernardino once said, “As you seek a virtuous partner, it is fitting that you should be the same.” It is imperative to not live by a double standard. If I profess to desire a man who is filled with virtue and striving actively for heaven with his daily actions, I must be doing the same. Spending time daily in prayer and doing a nightly Examen can help me make sure that I am living a virtuous life worthy of being sought after. 

Make a list of the characteristics you desire in a spouse. How do those characteristics compare to this list? Ask God to help you desire a holy spouse and to become yourself the holy spouse someone else desires.