Dear Little Princess,
I love Daddy’s and my love story. While I do think it is a sweet one, the biggest reason that I love it is because it belongs to us. We got married when I was 22, which is very young by today’s standards. We had our first baby just 11 months later, while many (perhaps even most) other couples wait much longer before starting a family. So far, we have a total of four children, which is considered to be a lot. The Lord has simply led us down the road less traveled, and we’re very happy with how our life together has turned out.
If you marry, your story likely will be very different from ours. You may not meet your husband until you are many years older than I was. Perhaps you’ll struggle with infertility or the loss of a child, two things we’ve not gone through. You might make wiser financial choices than we have, and maybe you’ll be able to travel or enjoy things at a younger-than-average age.
When you’re old enough to start considering marriage, there are many things that won’t matter much in the long run. Your husband’s hair and eye color, height, and build won’t have a lot of eternal bearing. His faith, personality, and character, however, will dramatically influence your marriage, so focus on finding a husband whose faith in the Lord is unshakable, who reacts reasonably to both blessings and trials, and whose personality meshes well with yours.
It might also be tempting to try to find a husband who’s just like Daddy. Although I think this is admirable, the truth is that Daddy is going to have some years of wisdom on a young man near your age. Instead of looking for someone just like Daddy, I would recommend that you look for someone with the potential to become like Daddy. Look for someone with honesty, integrity, and a sense of humor. Look for someone who desires the things of the Lord and who causes you to grow in your faith.
Be wary of anyone who is overly flattering, who answers his parents or other authorities harshly, or who makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason. Observe his actions. Does he follow through on what he says, or does he make grand-sounding suggestions on which he never delivers? Is he a hard worker? Is he punctual? Is he reliable?
Remember that there is no perfect husband aside from Christ’s relationship with the Church. Men are not mind readers (and neither are women). It will take time to get to know someone well enough to be reasonably sure that he would make a suitable husband. Again, look for someone with the potential to develop the qualities that you value. Be discerning in your choice. And as you look and wait for the Lord’s timing for marriage, be sure that you are working on your life, too. Do you have weaknesses or areas where you need to mature? Don’t ignore your own faults. Ask the Lord to help you pinpoint and improve on your shortcomings.
No matter whether you marry or stay single, never forget that the Lord should always be your first love. Focus on Him first, no matter what.
All my love,