Marriage is a vocation, just like the priesthood and religious life. Many people forget this and treat marriage as the place “ordinary” people go to who don’t have a special call from God.
But God Himself created marriage as a special vocation where Trinitarian love is reflected and where the spouses help each other and their children get to heaven.
If you’re single, how do you discern whether marriage is the right vocation for you? Here are four suggestions for how to discern your vocation.
1. Pay attention to your recurring thoughts during prayer
We’re not talking about simply feeling attracted to marriage. We mean thoughts inclining your will to embrace everything — even the suffering — within marriage to become a saint.
Bring your desire for marriage to Jesus in prayer, especially during Eucharistic adoration. Also, does any particular person pop into your mind at that time? Someone you feel needs to be next to you, adoring our Lord at your side?
Take note of such thoughts.
2. Pay attention to possible signs
Be careful with this one: God doesn’t guarantee explicit signs to anyone. Some people make the mistake of demanding a super clear sign from God before choosing a vocation.
Still, God does send little signs throughout your life, and occasionally He sends big signs. Don’t demand signs, but be open to what the Lord may be communicating to you through the people you meet and the experiences you have.
3. Honestly ask yourself what you want
Again, caution is needed here. You can’t always go with your first instinct. But if the desire persists, then that may be an indication that it’s your vocation. On the other hand, if the desire for priesthood or religious life grows, then you may want to shift focus.
The point is that God won’t call you to anything that would make you miserable. It may be a vocation that purges you of your selfishness, but it will also answer the deep longings of your heart.
4. Talk to a spiritual director
This may be the most important point of all. We are masters of self-deception. Our imagination, fears, impulses, sins, and desires often blur our vision.
You need an outside opinion. A wise spiritual director will help you make sense of all the conflicting signs and feelings you’re experiencing. While he may not always tell you with certainty what your vocation is, he’ll point you in the right direction.
These four things aren’t infallible signs. The truth is that you simply won’t have confirmation of your calling unless you’ve exchanged vows with your spouse (or made religious vows or become a priest).
But these are signposts pointing you in the right direction. The rest is a leap of faith. Trust God, for He doesn’t call you to anything without clearing a path for you to get there.