An Ordinary Time in Catholic Dating Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
When I was growing up, my parish priest used to comment frequently on the phrase “Ordinary Time.” He reminded us that the liturgical season was actually not very ordinary at all.
The season of Ordinary Time doesn’t have the flair and pomp of more celebratory liturgical seasons. It’s also missing the noticeable solemnness of the penitential seasons. But there are still important, deep, and meaningful things going on.
But the liturgical seasons don’t have to stay inside the four walls of your parish church. There’s a lot we can take from this arrangement of the liturgical seasons to apply to our everyday lives. This is even true when it comes to our love lives!
It’s tempting to reject the idea of “ordinary” dates and relationships. We can get trapped in the mindset that any date or relationship that isn’t constantly exciting in some way isn’t worth our time.
Here are three considerations to help you navigate the question of just how much excitement and novelty are healthy in a relationship.
Do rom-coms set us up for failure?
Personally, I am a fan of romantic stories (assuming they’re not nastily sexual). I’m not here to hate on the romance genre when it comes to your movie choices.
Read more: The Trouble with the “Meant to Be” Mindset
But there are a couple different ways that a frequent exposure to movies (or novels!) that can mess up our expectations.
First off, romantic stories are usually more extravagant than we find in a real-life relationship.
Can we look and hope for a romance for ourselves that makes our hearts melt? Of course!
But we can’t expect everything to be picture perfect. We might not be viewing romance realistically if we’re basing our ideas off of rom-coms.
Viewing pornography can completely mess up one’s expectations of what sex should look like. Granted, rom-coms and love stories aren’t intrinsically wrong like watching porn is. But too much exposure to them can start to do a bit of the same thing when it comes to romantic expectations.
Plus, someone could be a true romantic, and it still wouldn’t match up to all the love stories we’ve seen on TV.
Don’t get stuck only looking for a man or woman who can express their feelings in poetic words. You might be missing out on someone who’s a pretty great person.
What is your idea of exciting?
Maybe your go-to genre of entertainment is romance or something entirely different. The reality is that we’re exposed to stories of drama and interpersonal conflict almost everywhere we look.
Sometimes that steady guy or girl who can be relied upon for their levelheadedness and strength can appear boring.
Even romance stories are usually set up in a very typical plot sequence. Usually, a couple meets, they can’t be together for some reason, but they get together in the end.
In between these points, there’s typically quite a bit of drama.
Our real-life romantic relationships don’t need drama. Our date night activities don’t always need to involve thrilling adventures.
The person you’re thinking of becoming involved with should interest and excite you for sure. But that doesn’t mean that anything other than an epic, supremely re-tellable love story is to be passed over.
Excitement and adventure is fine for sometimes. But even if your favorite couple activities end up being things like skydiving or base-jumping, you still need to be able to live in boredom with the person for a large part of the time.
Marriage isn’t always exciting
Maybe you look at married couple you know and you think to yourself, “My future spouse and I will never become that boring.”
Yes, there is such a thing as too boring. But there’s also everyday life.
You get up, and prepare for your day. You’ll eat meals, leave for work, and return home. You do household chores.
All the things you do as a single person that might bore you to tears if you stopped and tried to examine them. But those everyday things are still there when you marry someone.
Hopefully, the love you share with your future spouse will make all those mundane tasks a bit rosier at times. But it’s just not possible for every moment of a marriage for the rest of your life to be thrilling.
More importantly, it might not be healthy for every moment of it to be thrilling.
Just like our liturgical year takes a break from the intense celebrations and the deep spirit of penance, a romantic relationship has its outwardly boring times as well.
You should look for someone who makes your heart skip and all those other things love songs talk about.
But you should also be looking for someone you can sit in silence with, someone you can be your everyday self with. Someone like this will make a marriage worthwhile and happy, even if your time together is somewhat ordinary.
Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic wife, mother, screenwriter, and blogger, as well as author of the Catholic YA romance novel SYDNEY AND CALVIN HAVE A BABY. She blogs about TV and Movies from Catholic perspective at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic's Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.