Lent is fast approaching. Are you looking for something to give up this year, especially as a Catholic single?
Here are forty ideas to get you started during this penitential season!
1. Comparing single life to married life
Surrounded by friends who are dating, engaged, or married? Their story isn’t your story, and that’s okay.
Everyone’s journey is beautifully different, so whatever your life looks like right now, only you can find the joy hidden in the little moments.
2. Waiting for someone to send a message
This Lent, stop waiting for someone to send you a message to get conversation going. This applies to you too, ladies. Your parent’s dating rules have changed quite a bit in the last few decades.
Sending that first message could lead to a great date and help you break out of analysis paralysis.
It’s okay to not be interested in someone after a couple of dates, or even after a few conversations. But it’s not okay to shut someone out or completely ignore them.
Need some alternative ideas to ghosting? Try these five texts you can send when you need to be honest.
4. Placing your self-worth in responses
When you send out a message on an online dating app, do you find yourself glued to the screen, waiting for a response?
This Lent, check to see if you’re placing your self-worth in the messages you send and receive.
You don’t need responses and messages to prove that you are worthy and lovable. You’re a child of God, and he calls you beloved.
5. Being lazy with your profile
Maybe you picked your profile picture, but left the rest of your profile empty. This Lent, change that by adding in some more information about yourself.
If you’re wondering if your profile is headed in the right direction, ask a trusted friend or family member to read through it and give you their thoughts.
6. Having unrealistic expectations
Hoping that you’ll leave a first date knowing whether or not you’ll marry the person you’re getting to know? This Lent, give up unrealistic dating expectations you may be holding onto.
Instead, go into first dates with the goal of getting to know someone better. It’ll take a lot of pressure off of both you and your love interest, too.
7. Showing up late to dates
If you’re headed out on a date this Lent, make sure to be intentional with your time. This includes the time you spend preparing for your date and the time you give yourself to get to the location of the date.
Honor the person you’re meeting by getting to the date on time.
You’ll fill in the rest of your dating profile sometime, right?
This Lent, intentionally sit down and do something you’ve been avoiding. Maybe it’s finishing your profile, sending that person a message, or asking someone out on a date.
9. Only praying about your love life
This Lent, make sure your prayer life involves more than just talking with God about your romantic life. Share with him about your joys, struggles, fears, and successes.
But more importantly, carve out time during these forty days to intentionally listen to what he has to say.
10. Lying on your online dating profile
Dishonesty discourages vulnerability in a new relationship. Even though it may seem like telling a few white lies here and there couldn’t harm your chances at love, lying may actually keep you from meeting someone.
This Lent, take some time to go through your online dating profile and check for any instances of dishonesty. Then delete them and replace them with truths about yourself.
11. Unhealthy self care habits
Self care is a popular topic these days, and with good reason. If you’re without a partner this Lent and feeling alone, commit to spending time with yourself and becoming the man or woman God created you to be.
Think self care is just spa days and chocolate? Think again. Here are five habits you can cultivate during the upcoming forty days of Lent.
Your love life may not look like what you expected it would. But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a plan.
Whether your singleness is a season or a calling, look with hope towards the future. This Lent, tackle any despair you may have in your heart.
13. Letting your Bible get dusty
When was the last time you sat down with Scripture and spent time meditating on what the Lord has to say?
This Lent, dust off your Bible. Don’t know where to start? Check out these verses.
14. Scrolling through online dating profiles
If you want to authentically connect with someone via online dating, you need to take time to read through profiles this Lent.
If you’re not intentional, you may find yourself scrolling through pages of profiles, thinking of online dating websites an online potential spouse catalog instead of an opportunity to encounter others in an authentic way.
15. Avoiding meeting people in person
This Lent, get off your screen and meet someone in person.
If your match is local, choose a daytime place to meet up. You’ll learn much more about someone in ten minutes of face-to-face conversation than you would over dozens of exchanged text messages or e-mails.
Is your match on the other side of the world, or maybe a few states away? Exchanging phone numbers and taking your communication offline is a good place to start. Communicating with a phone call, Face Time, or Skype session is a great way to be intentional with your communication. You can’t stay on that dating site forever!
16. Impersonal messages
Instead of sending an impersonal “Hey,” or “How are you,” start a conversation with someone this Lent about one of their interest that you share or find interesting. This allows you to start a natural conversation between the two of you, which can lead to something more!
Maybe you went out on a date with someone and things didn’t work out. Don’t give into the temptation to stalk them and see how life is going for them.
This Lent, give up orbiting. Stop watching their Instagram stories, or liking their Facebook updates. Instead, be intentional with your communication, especially on social media.
18. Wasting bad dates
So your first date with someone was a flop. Don’t rush to forget about it!
Instead, take time this Lent to think about what you’re looking for in a good date and don’t be afraid to share those desires with your next date.
19. Relying on your phone
You may have active accounts on a couple of online dating websites, but that doesn’t mean you should rely solely on online dating when it comes to finding someone.
This Lent, instead of spending the day glued to your inbox, spend time getting to know people in real life and doing things you love.
20. Your timeline
Maybe you wish you were already in a committed relationship. Perhaps you thought that you’d be married and starting a family right now.
This Lent, give up the timeline you have for your love life. God’s timing is perfect, even when it doesn’t line up with our expectations. Spend time in prayer asking him to help you surrender control.
21. Forgetting you are loved
If you’ve questioned whether you are loved, worthy, or good, spend time this Lent in front of Christ in Eucharistic Adoration.
Christ died on the cross on Good Friday so that you could spend eternity with him in Heaven. You are loved, you are worthy, and you are good.
22. Avoiding eye contact
When I started dating Joseph, I realized that I hated making eye contact. Looking someone in the eye made me feel vulnerable and so I avoided it. It wasn’t until Joseph asked me to make eye contact with him that I realized that he noticed my bad habit.
This Lent, intentionally make eye contact not only with your dates, but with friends, family, and even strangers. Look people in the eye when you’re riding the subway, or walking into work.
23. Staying in your comfort zone
Maybe you know you like dating a certain type of person. Perhaps you have one spot that you like frequenting for your first dates.
This Lent, get out of your comfort zone. Talk to someone new, or try out a new place for dinner dates.
Whether it’s decompressing with friends after a date, or talking with co-workers about the person you’re messaging online, take time this Lent to check the gossip levels in your life.
There’s nothing wrong with asking someone’s opinion on something. But gossip can lead to uncharitable or inappropriate conversation about others. So before you bring up that profile you were browsing through this weekend with a friend, take time to check whether you’re gossiping or not.
25. Leading someone on
If you’re wondering whether or not you should go on that second date, take time this Lent to be intentional with your communication.
If you don’t see a relationship going somewhere, be honest with the person you’re going out with. Give up leading someone on this Lent.
26. Obsessing over little details
Do you have a mental checklist for your future spouse? Maybe you’re hoping that he has blonde hair, or that she’s shorter than you.
This Lent, put that list to the side and instead focus on the qualities of a good relationship you’re looking for. Honesty, authenticity, and shared values should rank higher than physical traits.
Dating requires authenticity and vulnerability. But romantic relationships also require boundaries.
This Lent, take time to examine your romantic conversations to see if you share details about your life just for the sake of sharing. Then take time to set some boundaries for yourself and for your relationship.
28. Ignoring red flags
So you met someone special and they’re wonderful. The only thing is, there’s just one or two red flags that have you a little worried.
This Lent, stop ignoring or avoiding red flags in conversation or relationships. Take time to see what those issues mean for you as a couple, and be honest about your thoughts. Don’t know what red flags to be on the look out for? Check out these deal-breakers.
29. Not healing from past relationships
Healing is hard. But if you’ve broken up a relationship in the past, you owe it to yourself and your future relationships to take the time to heal.
This Lent, dedicate time to healing. This will look different for every person, but confession, spiritual direction, and therapy are great places to seek help.
30. Not planning dates
Have you asked someone out on a date in the past, only to not plan anything to do during your time together? This Lent, resolve to be intentional with your dates. Spend time planning out some fun activities to get to know the other person better.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some fun winter date ideas to inspire you.
31. Spending the date on your phone
When you’re out on a date this Lent, leave your phone in your pocket or in your purse. Avoid the temptation to pull out your phone in moments of awkward silence, and instead be fully present in the moment and with the person you’re spending time with.
32. Just talking about yourself
We all like to talk about our passions, interests, and desires. But this Lent, make a resolution to intentionally get to know someone else in conversation or on a date. Don’t spend your entire time together talking about yourself.
33. Over-analyzing dates
After dates, do you find yourself worrying about what the other person said, what they meant, and how you reacted? Usually, over-analyzing can lead to incorrect conclusions.
This Lent, give up over-analyzing dates and conversations, both internally and with friends. Instead, focus on being present in the moment you are now and trusting in God.
34. Playing hard to get
Playing hard to get can leave someone confused and hesitant. Letting someone know you’re interested in another date or a relationship is imperative.
35. Texting about hard conversation topics
It’s easy to live behind a screen these days, especially when it comes to communication. But if you need to have a hard conversation with someone you’ve been going on dates with, avoid texting.
If possible, get together in person to talk about difficult subjects. If miles separate you and a face to face conversation isn’t possible, pick up the phone and call them.
36. Thinking that life doesn’t start until you’re in a relationship
When I was single, I spent a lot of time hoping for the next season if life. I couldn’t wait to go on dates and be in a relationship. Then, when I started dating, I eagerly looked forward to when an engagement ring would make an appearance. Even during Joseph and I’s engagement, I wished away the days by daydreaming about our married life.
This Lent, commit to being present in the moment. God has plans for you now, and he isn’t waiting until your relationships status changes to do big things in your life.
37. Timing how long you should wait before replying
When it comes to intentional relationships, authenticity is crucial. If you had a great time on that date, don’t be afraid to say so. You don’t have to wait a certain amount of days, or leave hours between responses to get someone’s attention.
If you’re interested in someone, be direct. You won’t come across as needy, but instead you’ll be showing vulnerability and confidence—and that is much more attractive counting the hours before you respond to a text.
38. Not being honest about your opinions
When sticky topics like politics or current events come up on a date, it’s tempting to go with the flow. But if you find yourself on a date this Lent, be honest about your opinions. Even if you disagree with someone, you may find that you have a great conversation about an issue that’s important to both of you.
Don’t forfeit authenticity on a date to avoid rocking the boat.
39. Holding out for the perfect match
If God is calling you to marriage, you’ll marry a messy human being. Even if we claim to have it all together, not a single one of us is perfect.
You won’t meet the perfect person. But that’s okay! Often, reality far exceeds your expectations.
40. Giving up too soon
If you’re worn out by the online dating scene this Lent, you may need to deactivate your dating profile for a while and take a quick breather. But don’t give up on finding that special person! You never know when your time will come to connect with someone (online or off!).