Encouragement for a Single Woman Yearning for Marriage

Encouragement for a Single Woman Yearning for Marriage

I received this heartfelt question from a 33-year-old single woman whose life has been transformed by Theology of the Body. She writes:

“After a very painful break up at 25, I started learning about TOB teachings through your books and other sources because I felt like God was calling me to do things differently. Even though I have made a lot of progress, I still struggle sometimes. I’m 33 years old now and I wish nothing more than to be married, but sometimes it becomes difficult to remain hopeful after so many years and disappointments. I ask you for your help with your prayers and maybe some words of encouragement, and thank you for the work that you do.”

Dear Sister In Christ,

I’m very happy to hear from you, very happy that you reached out. Oh, the “ache” … I can hear it in your email. It’s a sacred thing, your longing for a husband, your longing to be a wife and a mother. It’s a beautiful desire of your heart.

I know you probably realize this already, because you’ve been studying TOB, but, even though studying TOB has been my full time work for over 25 years, it’s something I need to learn over and over and over again. That beautiful “ache” you feel so deeply, that yearning in your bones, that “loneliness” – NOTHING in this world can satisfy it. NOTHING. Certainly, God grants little glimmers, little foretastes of satisfaction in this life, but we are not made to find true fulfillment in this world.

And that means your beautiful yearning is not (at its heart) a yearning for an earthly spouse. The proof of that, as any honest married person will tell you (even those who, like me, have been blessed with an AMAZINGLY loving spouse) is that the “ache” doesn’t go away once you’re married.

My dear sister, your beautiful desire to love and be loved, to hold and be held, to kiss and be kissed, to give your whole life to another to the point that the two of you “become one flesh” – all of that beauty and goodness is only a sign of what you’re really looking for: “This is a great mystery, and it refers to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:31-32).

My prayer for you is not so much that you would “find a husband,” but that you would discover more deeply the love of the Husband you already have. Christ is TRULY your Bridegroom. My prayer for you is that you would enter more deeply into prayer. For prayer, as Pope Benedict XVI put it, “is nothing other than becoming a longing for God.” When we pray as we ought, he says, we are seeking “nuptial union with the Lord.”

I’d encourage you to spend some time each day reflecting on Section 4 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on prayer. It is truly beautiful. I teach three different levels of courses on the TOB for the TOB Institute. The level 3 course is on reading the Catechism with “TOB glasses,” so to speak. And the highlight for me as a teacher of all of those three courses is leading the students into the Catechism’s teaching on prayer. 

Express your longing to Jesus, “pour out your heart” to him, as it says in the Psalms. And be not afraid where he leads you. He will take you through painful purifications of your longing, and it may feel like a passing through fire, but those purifications lead, as JP II says, “to the ineffable joy of nuptial union” with the True Bridegroom. THIS love, and this love ALONE, is capable of reaching the depth of your yearning. Be not afraid. He’s leading you to himself. He’s wooing you to himself…

Your brother,


Christopher West, Th.D.
President, Theology of the Body Institute

Christopher and Wendy West answer your sensitive questions about life, love and holiness each week on their podcast Ask Christopher West — the number one Theology of the Body-themed podcast in the world.

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