Have you ever been told you’re being too picky when it comes to dating? Are you hoping to find a fellow Catholic to date but have heard the advice to date a non-Catholic instead? I’ve read this dating advice more times than I’d like.
If you have discerned that dating a Catholic is not something you can settle on, then here are a few quick reminders of why waiting is worth it. I’d also like to point out that dating a Catholic and maybe marrying them one day can be a huge blessing.
Helpmates on the Path to Heaven
When my brother-in-law asked permission to marry my sister-in-law her parents asked, “what’s the purpose of marriage?” He answered, “to get each other to heaven.” They knew as a couple that they were giving their lives to each other on a shared mission to reach heaven.
If our mission here on earth is to love and serve God and one day reach heaven, then it would be helpful to find someone who shares that same goal. If you keep the same goal in mind and keep God’s will at the center of your discernment, then it will lead you on a very different path of dating.
Sacrifice and Service–Understanding the Vocation
Thinking of things in terms of helping each other to get to heaven will improve the way you date, and that will involve making sacrifices. Christ is our model for love. In Him, we learn to view sacrifice not so much as a burden but as a crucial part of love. You’ll want to find a partner who is willing to sacrifice and has a sacramental understanding of marriage. Having both of these will go a long way towards cultivating a lasting and strong marriage.
This is especially important when it comes to chastity in dating. If you both live out your faith then you can set up boundaries together from the start. As a couple dating you can seek out the wisdom and stay accountable to a mentor couple who are married and are living the faith. By dating a fellow Catholic you can avoid a lot of the pitfalls of dating in our secular culture, especially in the area of sexuality.
Thinking of sacrifice and serving one another will help guide how you treat each other, even in the little things. It will guide you one day in deciding if engagement is the right next step and guide you through the vocation of marriage with love.
Shared Values Can Start the Road to Peace
Living a faithful Catholic life means adhering to the teachings of the Church. When dating it will be important to find a partner who is willing to live according to these teachings. Is the other person willing to live chastely before marriage? Do they respect and value the dignity of life from conception to natural death?
These matters carry into marriage with discussions of NFP and openness to life. If they are Catholic then these discussions won’t be as challenging because the other person will understand the Church’s teaching and the gravity of these matters. It’s still important to have these discussions even if you assume you are on the same page.
Decision making will be easier for you in other areas as well. You’ll know that you’ll want your children to be baptized and receive the sacraments. The hard part might just be picking the godparents for Baptism.
You’ll know that charity is important, so you’ll just have to figure out what that looks like in terms of your budget. You’ll know that family life is important, but how your family grows might look different than what you expect. Your faith will be important to guide these matters.
Importance of the Faith Journey Together
If you are Catholic then your faith is probably one of the most important aspects of your life. Being Catholic has shaped who you are made you the person you are today. A partner who shares the faith can relate to you on a spiritual level and become a spiritual leader in the home one day.
If you are both Catholic, then you can do some of the following together to help each other grow in the faith and to share your faith. You will want to allow the spiritual aspect of your relationship to grow as your relationship does, it’s all right if you don’t know each other’s faith journeys right away or attend Mass together every Sunday.
Some of the things on this list will better serve you once you are seriously considering getting engaged, or are in the process of preparing for marriage.
- Attend Mass
- Go to Eucharistic Adoration
- Pray on long drives
- Go to a Bible study
- Celebrate your favorite saint’s feast day
- Encourage each other to go to Confession
- Read books on the faith together like Three to Get Married by Fulton Sheen.
- Watch a series from FORMED, like Beloved
- Go on a retreat
- Be co-leaders of a ministry
- Listen to Catholic Podcasts together
- Pray for each other
Living out the Faith While Married
Once you are married the options for living out your faith don’t stop. You can do all of the above together and start making your home a domestic church by celebrating the liturgical year.
Someday your spouse might even teach your children how to make the Sign of the Cross or sing them to sleep with hymns. This is when being a Catholic together really shines—living out the faith together will fill your heart with great joy. Other practices and traditions could be:
- Light Advent candles before dinner
- Host a fish dinner during Lent
- Pray the Rosary as a family
- Have a family Litany of the Saints
- Go on marriage retreat
- Go on a pilgrimage together
- Incorporate prayer into your intimate time together
- Pray together as a couple daily
With a shared understanding that marriage is not for convenience, you can both pray for the grace to live the sacrament fully especially in the hard times. Mary, Undoer of Knots has a great power to help marriages.
As Catholics, you both know the power and necessity of forgiveness. You can daily show Christ’s merciful love to each other by continuing to choose to love the other person and forgive them when they make mistakes.
Seeking God’s Will–and Not Settling
Finding a fellow Catholic doesn’t automatically lead to a fairytale ending. It might seem idyllic, but knowing that in the Church we each face our own sins and trials will help you through.
Ultimately, marriage is a means of sanctification and your marriage day is the furthering of the process of dying to self. As you date, seek God’s will and don’t settle. Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, are models of the sanctifying love of marriage, so just look to their family if you ever feel discouraged.
The online Catholic dating world is an area of hope. I’ve known many couples who have found their spouse through CatholicSingles and other similar sites. There are many Catholics who value finding a faith-filled spouse and who are looking for other Catholics to date right now.
Don’t give up hope. Trust in God’s plan for your life and His design for the sacrament of marriage. Turn to Him in prayer. As St. Pope John Paul II would say, “Do not be afraid.”