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3 Things You Should Avoid in a Partner

By Melissa Guerrero
lazy sleeping on couch

You know that phrase used to disparage the Catholic Church, “The Church needs to get with the times”? This phrase is especially used when it comes to dating issues.

Why do I bring up this topic? Because I’ve recently learned about what qualities I should avoid when looking for a potential spouse from a monsignor… from the 1960s!

No, I didn’t suddenly become the Doctor’s newest companion, traveling through time on a TARDIS. I simply read a book written for young Catholics in the pre-Vatican II era.

“Isn’t that advice dated?” you may be asking me.

Quite frankly, no.

In fact, I was surprised by just how on-point the advice was. Just as Church teachings are timeless, so is the advice given to us by Monsignor George A. Kelly.

Curious as to what he says? Here’s a short list of 3 things he advises you avoid when looking for your future spouse.

1. Don’t ignore the vices or red flags.

Some of us believe that we can reform someone but, let’s face it, it’s most likely not going to happen. Yes, some people do change – and we have plenty of saint stories that attest to that – but they are usually the exceptions.

If the person whom you’re interested in likes to take financial risks, overindulgences in anything, or is ambitious to the point where money and prestige are greater than anything else, run!

A spiritual director once told me that many people marry with the impression that their partner will change for the better after they settle down, only to be disappointed when they don’t.

If your potential partner has red flags, don’t turn a blind eye! You can even ask your most trusted loved ones (family and friends) to give you a heads up if they see something amiss that you might’ve missed. “Love is blind” after all.

2. Steer clear of Mr. or Miss Irresponsible.

You know the stereotype that Millennials are super lazy and want to have everything handed to them?

As a Millennial, I protest.

Is the stereotype fair?

No… and yes.

I know many hardworking young adults who take whatever job they can find to make ends meet. However, there are some people who unfortunately make this stereotype true.

These are the people who still live with their parents (rent and expense-free), can’t hold a job, and only seem to care about having fun and “being young.”

Yes, job hunting can be rough, but some people overuse the excuse. I’m not knocking those who live at home, either. I still live with my family, though I contribute whatever doesn’t go towards paying off my student loans towards household expenses.

If it seems like they’ve never had to work hard for anything – or don’t have the drive to do much except do whatever makes them happy – it can give you an idea as to what they may be like as a future spouse and/or parent.

Hint: You’re most likely going to do all the work and end up resenting them for it. Avoid!

3. Don’t settle only because they fit the “right” criteria.

As Monsignor Kelly wrote, “Your prospective spouse may be a good Catholic, free to marry in the Church, and free of those vices … But (he/she) may have qualities that don’t appeal to you – qualities that would make you miserable if you have to live with them.”

Yes, they may be a Rosary-praying, weekly (or daily) Mass-attending, devout Catholic. Yes, we all have quirks that be occasionally bug others. However, if there are any personality or temperament differences that you can see becoming a source of constant irritation for you, think twice!

For example, are they the type who loves to joke around, but you feel like they go overboard with teasing and won’t stop when you ask them to?

On the flip side, are you more lighthearted but feel like you have to really tone down your personality to please them?

While they may fit all the “right” criteria, they may simply not be right for you and that’s okay!

Remember that no one is perfect, nor should we expect perfection. Relationships are hard work but it’s all worth it in the long run when you’ve found the right person. You shouldn’t want to change them – or change yourself – in order for the relationship to work out. If you encounter any of these 3 “don’ts,” please pause and pray about things before going forward. It can save you – and the other person – from a broken heart.

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