courtship passivity

Courtship Passivity: A Desire to Get Married Without Action is Just a Wish

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Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)  was a French pioneering aviator, poet, writer and aristocrat, who penned the phrase,  “A goal without action is just a wish”.  In the same way, a goal or desire to get married without action, is just a wish. It’s courtship passivity.

Wishful thinking is good because it provides you with vision, but without taking actionable steps, those dreams remain wishful thinking.

The question is, are we called to simply wish for marriage or are we called to take action and make it happen?

What is Courtship Passivity?

“Courtship passivity is when men are generally reluctant to approach women in order to court them, or when women are not generally open to men’s courtship advances, while expressing a desire for marriage.

Cynthia Burley

Here are some common excuses for courtship passivity:

If God Wants Me to Marry, He Will Send  Someone My Way

It is true that nothing happens outside of God’s will, but it doesn’t mean we should sit at home waiting for someone to come-a-calling.

How will your recognize if God actually sends you someone?

Will you know because the two of you  seem to have everything in common and finish each other’s sentences?

Will you get chills when you’re around her?

Seriously, how will you know?

The truth is that it is not always obvious.   That’s why you should keep an open mind when  you meet new people.

I Want to Get Married, but I Can’t Find Anyone

Our society has its priorities backwards.   The almighty career has replaced the family. 

In the past, both men and women expected to either get married, enter a convent/monastery or,  as a  last resort, resign themselves to the single life.

Now, it seems that single is the default and you only get married after you have been dating and sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend for a few years. That is,  if you decide that he or she is worthy of marriage.

As a result, it is harder to find someone who has a marriage mindset.

It’s hard to change people, but we can change ourselves.

You can start by making it clear to anyone who is interested in you that you are looking to marry,  so as not to waste your time.

Since You Can’t Force Anyone to Court or Marry You, What Should You Do?

There are a few things you can do to increase your odds of finding a spouse.


Everything starts with prayer.  Pray that God will prepare you for your future spouse.  Pray that you recognize him or her instead of letting worldly expectations blind you.  Pray that you will have a chaste courtship.

Here is a prayer you can use.

Be Approachable

courtship passivity

Approachability is especially  important for women, because traditionally, men are the ones who pursue.

Why wuuld anyone approach you if you don’t look approachable?

The biggest way to look approachable is to smile.

When You Smile, You Usually Get a Smile Back

Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist at the University of California, did a study on mirror neurons, which showed that when you smile at someone,  he or she wants to smile too.

Mirror neurons deal with empathy and imitation.   When you observe an action, and you automatically simulate that action, your mirror neurons cause that to happen.

“When I see you smiling, my mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, initiating a cascade of neural activity that evokes the feeling we typically associate with a smile. I don’t need to make any inference on what you are feeling, I experience immediately and effortlessly (in a milder form, of course) what you are experiencing.”

Mirror Neurons

Smiling Makes You More Attractive

Psychologists at  at Swansea University discovered a link between smiling faces and the perception of health.

According to their study, the face on the left was rated less healthy than the face on the right, simply because of a smile.

courtship passivity

If you think about it, it makes sense.

What is one way we exhibit that all is well with us? We usually smile, laugh and look otherwise healthy,  when we are well.

On the contrary, if you are experiencing health issues, you are less likely to smile.

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

St Teresa of Calcutta.

Allow Yourself to be Found

Although it is  possible to find someone online, chances are you will probably meet your potential spouse offline.

So yes, join online dating sites like CatholicMatch, but don’t stop there.

Join singles groups, attend youth fellowships, join meetups, or the choir.

Strategically place yourself anywhere members of the opposite sex can be found.

Make Friends with Older, Married Couples 

Some younger people only hang out with people their age.   It’s useful  to hang out with older people for a number of reasons.

  • Older people can give you courtship advice.
  • Older people are friends with parents of single, young people.
  • That’s right. Older people  might have friends with children who are looking to marry too!

A desire to get married is just a wish unless you are intentional and take steps to optimize your chances of meeting someone.

I hope it’s clear that if you want to get married, you should wish for it but you should also take action.

It’s just prudent.

Happy Courting!

Courtship Resources

See Also “Prayer to St. Raphael for the Wise Choice of a Married Partner

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