Dating—that is, scheduling time to spend with a person of the opposite sex to get to know them–can be a wonderful time in a person’s life. It challenges us to grow as individuals and to learn more about others. It can also lead us to grow deeper in faith. Here are four basic points to keep in mind when dating.
(1) KNOW YOUR INTENTIONS
Are you looking at dating as only a means of finding a future spouse?
While it could potentially be the end to the means of dating, finding a future spouse should not be the main intention of dating. That puts too much pressure on each individual date and the person whom you date.
Dating is a time to learn more about yourself through a relationship with others. It is a time to see what qualities you need and like in others. When not limiting yourself to a certain type you will discover new and valuable aspects of each person.
Perhaps you have learned that in relationships you act a certain way that does not really reflect you are or who you want to be. In this case, one can use dating as way to become more genuine in relation to the opposite sex. It will show what you need to “give” in the relationship and what you can “take” from the relationship, too!
(2) STICK TO YOUR BOUNDARIES
Communication is an important factor in any relationship but especially a dating one. One must be honest about one’s own intentions. All relationships need boundaries. A boundary for a practicing Catholic is chastity, refraining from sexual activity before marriage. Doing this helps build intimacy within the relationship without having sex.
Being up front about one’s beliefs will weed out dates that are not worth your time from those that are. One must not only say things up front but back them up with actions. Do not send mixed messages; be clear and concise in your actions. Date in open public areas where there is no pressure to be physically intimate. If you are on a date where alcohol is served drink in moderation to avoid temptation.
(3) HAVE FUN
Dating is fun if you enter into it with the mentality of enjoying the present moment. When you start to date someone, take the time to get to know them. Rushing into a serious relationship can add too much pressure. Just enjoy the time you have with that person in the present moment; tomorrow will take care of itself. Some fun date ideas include museums, art galleries, bowling, mini golfing, movies, dinner, and rollercoaster parks.
(4) TRUST IN GOD WHILE DATING
Dating is an opportunity from God to learn more about others through entering into a dating relationship with them. Trust that you are in a dating season of your life because God needs you to take the time and be present in dating. Trust that God is leading you always and pray that your dating be fruitful.
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3
For Further Reading:
- The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor
- Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D.