How can I go about and discern the dating process as a young Catholic?
– Hopeful Romantic
As a Catholic young adult, the topic of dating and discernment is very important, so allow me to offer a few of my best tips:
1. Focus on quality friendship. If you have an opportunity to build and solidify a friendship with someone first, this will create a great base to allow for a deeper relationship.
2. Don’t be in a rush! Relationships take time to grow and develop, especially when it comes to dating. Remember, you don’t have to marry the first person you go on a date with. As with anything else in our lives, good discernment takes time. Think about it: Picking a college, buying a house, applying for a job, deciding what field to pursue — all these decisions take time, prayer and patience. The same applies to dating, so buckle up for the exciting and adventurous road ahead!
3. Stick to your values. I cannot emphasize how important it is to stay true to yourself! If you ever find yourself having to compromise your values or betray your beliefs, sense of self, or core truths, this will not foster a healthy relationship. With dating, it is important to notice these factors and ensure that you and your significant other are building each other up, instead of tearing one another down.
4. Be open, but also know what you are looking for. There are billions of people on our beautiful earth, so it may feel overwhelming to know where to start! One of the best tips I can offer is to build an idea of what type of man or woman you are looking for. What are their values? How will they treat you? What do you need in a relationship? What can you offer? What is most important to you? But remember, while it is important to have a general idea, always approach dating with an open heart and mind, as God can work in mysterious ways!
5. “Is this relationship leading me closer to Christ or further away from him?” When discerning a relationship as a young Catholic, always keep this question at the forefront of your mind. Ultimately, as Catholics, if we are called to marriage, this vocation is a crucial part of our earthly pilgrimage and quest toward holiness. Dating and marriage are not to be taken lightly, since the very meaning of this vocation is to grow closer to Christ. And remember, this goes both ways, as both the man and woman are called to raise each other to our Lord.
6. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! Pray for guidance, wisdom and direction. Pray for your future girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband and ask our Lord to bring you two together. Pray for patience, peace of mind and discernment. Take your time, take a deep breath, and trust in God’s timing!
Northwest Catholic - October 2020