A Catholic's Guide To Making Smarter Dating Choices
A prelude to marriage.
Dating has gone through many changes over the years. Traditional courtship and dating aren't typically applied today. There are now different ways to connect with people you're dating, and sometimes, it may feel as if the value of getting to know each other is already a lost cause. With social media channels clouding your mind regarding the essence of dating, how do you even begin making smarter dating choices?
As a Catholic, dating can get quite tricky and confusing. What applies to others may or may not be acceptable in your foundation of faith. While there's really no rule book that defines what or what not to do, the Catholic definition of dating still involves the same logic. It's that dating should be looked at as a prelude to marriage. The end goal should be to be united in the eyes of God and human laws.
Finding Your Way To Happiness, The Catholic Way
Sadly, the dating culture has been dominantly stained with the aggressive hookup mentality. Casual flings became quite trendy, so it's only natural for a Catholic to feel hesitant if dating is indeed the right path to take. But if you're determined to find the one for you, here are some tips you can use to navigate your way around smarter and happier dating:
1. Always Seek A Higher Purpose
Try to keep in mind that dating isn't just for the sake of having fun or attaining worldly pleasures. It’d help if you had a deeper understanding of finding happiness in the world but not of the world. The meaning of such a statement could be confusing, but as you go along and discover more of life and love, you'll eventually see the essence of it.
Your life has a purpose, and you should always seek it. Ask yourself where you’re going at this point in your life and if you've understood the meaning of giving up sinful pleasures. Dating is the foundation of marriage, and you need to focus yourself on attaining this purpose.
2. Practice Chastity
This may be a difficult tip to follow through, but keep in mind that God shall reward every sacrifice in the end. Avoiding physical intimacy during the dating phase will help both of you get more comfortable with each other as you move along. Likewise, you're not putting a lot of stakes into the relationship, which should be a good thing if it doesn't end well.
The best thing to do is get to know each other first before getting intimate. Save the intimacy part for when you're fully certain of your partner. Sexual encounters should only happen after the marriage, which is what the Catholic teaching dictates.
3. Be Honest
As all relationships should be built on trust and faith, you must constantly remind yourself that honesty has an equal bearing. Honesty breeds trust, and you can't trust anyone who hasn't been honest with you. So, at the start of your encounter with someone you plan on dating, be straightforward and let them know your intentions. Instead of asking them to just hang out or spend time together, let them know you plan on going on serious dates to get to know each other.
If you're dating someone who has the same faith and virtues as yours, it shouldn't be difficult for them to understand and appreciate what you mean. Tell it right away instead of going in circles if you feel the date isn't going anywhere. You're showing respect by telling the truth.
4. Take Your Time
One common mistake of dating couples is to rush into things. It may have taken a while since you found a dating partner, but it doesn't mean you should immediately dive into the prospect of getting engaged or married before thinking about it carefully first. The dating phase is the stage where you're knowing each other and taking the time to see if you'll be a perfect match. Don't rush if you want the process to flow naturally and faithfully.
There's this thing people call ‘God's perfect timing,’ and it couldn't be more accurate in any aspect. You'll know when the timing is right. And when that perfect time comes, stars will align, and God will bless your decision to be married. [So whenever you feel the perfect timing comes, you can check over at Markman's Diamonds to find the perfect diamond ring for the right person. After all, it will not be just any piece of jewelry; it symbolizes your love and commitment to that special someone, so make sure you pick the best one to make all the difference.]
5. Never Fail To Communicate
In any relationship, communication is fundamental. In the digital era, though, it can prove to be knotty how to establish clear communication knowing there are different channels and means of communication available. Even if you're texting one another every day, make it a point to visit personally and go out on dates.
You may have met each other through dating sites, but you can’t expect the online dating phase to just remain that way. Video calls won't suffice, especially if you're at the stage where you're just starting to get to know each other's likes and dislikes. Personal interaction is always better as opposed to reaching out online no matter how consistent or long the duration may be.
6. Put God In The Center Of Your Dating Relationship
Even when you're still in the dating phase, it's still a relationship between two persons. That said, you should make it a commitment to put God in the center of everything. If you can, attend Sunday mass each week with your partner. Let them know your desire to take it to the next level when the time is right. Always pray for God's guidance in every step of your relationship.
A Love That’d Last Forever
The catholic faith will always circle around the foundations of love, trust, and prayer. If you want your dating life to be smarter and more Christ-focused, look at it as a long-term goal that you'll commit to for the rest of your life. Be honest with your partner. Be sure to express your intention and don't just date for the sake of it. Instead, seek a higher purpose and take your time. Let God lead you in the right direction.