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The Faith Is Not Enough

Finding a potential spouse who is a practicing Catholic is important. But good character, though often neglected, is also essential.
by Anthony Buono | Source:
It is likely your strongest desire as a single Catholic is to meet someone who shares the depth of your Catholic faith as a key foundation to your marriage. 

And that’s a great thing. No one should deny you that desire. To marry another Catholic so there are two people traveling the same road toward growth in holiness and raising children in a devout and consistent household is at the heart of the Catholic Church’s purpose for preferring that marriage be between two baptized Catholics (and why the local bishop has to grant permission for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic).

However, while being a practicing Catholic is important, it is not enough when it comes to seeking your future spouse. Nor is it enough in your own life as you prepare to be a future spouse yourself.

It is too easy to allow ourselves to be caught up in an abstract existence if we put too much attention on the religious nature and activity of a person or a relationship. By “abstract existence” I mean the focus of one essential aspect of how a person is to live and making it the only important aspect that matters, at the expense of the other important things that matter.

One major thing I have observed that gets neglected, and is essential to being a quality human being (let alone a good future spouse), is character.

By “character” I mean human virtues such as kindness, caring, being polite, attentiveness to the needs of others, sound work ethic, caring about one’s appearance and behavior in public, and the like. These are virtues available to any human beings regardless of their religion, though many are not formed well by their parents, nor do they seek to grow in them as an adult.

Having good character plays a major role in having a quality life with others. To attend Mass daily or say the Rosary daily does not insure good character will be achieved. They can help perfect character, but never replace it. In order to live with someone in peace and love for a lifetime, there has to be human virtue.

Too often have I observed a presumption on the part of single Catholics that their faith should be enough, and it should be what is on the inside that matters, or their pious practices that should secure attraction in a relationship toward marriage. They can even justify their inordinate anger tendencies by saying how much they do for God.

I can tell you this: even if initial attraction is there due to discussions or practices of the faith, a person does not sustain that attraction if bad character traits are revealed.

Good character is critical. Don’t marry a religious man or woman who lacks good character. Don’t waste your time prolonging a relationship with someone of questionable character, no matter how many Rosaries per day they say.

If you are both of good character, your marriage has the potential of helping you both live an authentically Christ-like existence and be perfected through grace available through the practices of our Catholic religion.

Character is too important to how good relationships are founded and marriages successful. Being a practicing Catholic is just not enough. Do everything you can to discover what character traits may be keeping you from finding that great person you are praying for, and make the changes.

Anthony Buono, married with seven children, is the founder and president of (a Catholic dating service) and (formation help for the dating process and marriage), and has a Catholic dating advice blog called He can be reached at

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Post a Comment
Published by: dfWlGQHzLeGNuUN
Date: 2013-02-11 12:56:35
That's the best answer by far! Thanks for cnotribuntig.

Published by: James Robertson
Date: 2010-08-11 16:33:24
This article is informative. My girlfriend and I are separated right now due to issues with My Character. We are both Catholic, Myself a fairly recent convert and She a lifelong Catholic from Mexico City. We we're together for two months and then abruptly She broke "it" off telling Me that I have things I need to work on. I know this is true and I know this starts with Me. GOD Willing I can prove this to Myself and Utimately Have Her in My life.

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