So you have met someone whom you are considering dating. Whether you are contemplating a first date, or getting more serious in a dating relationship, there a many important topics you shoulder consider discussing. The following is a two part series covering a variety of topics, including religion, health, and finances.
Warning—most of these are heavy topics and will require you to reflect on your own personal situation and what is most important for you. Many of these topics may also be something you would like to avoid thinking about or coming to conclusions on. However, I would encourage putting some thought into these topics as you enter the dating scene.
Religion—The Weightiest Issue of All
If you are a Catholic single and looking to date someone, one of the most important topics you might want to discuss is religion.
- Is the person you would like to date Catholic?
- Are they a practicing Catholic?
- Do they go to Sunday Mass?
- Maybe you are not on fire for the Faith and the person you are considering dating is—are you open to growing in your faith?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, all is not lost. The Lord can meet each one of us where we are at. Perhaps you will be the inspiration to lead someone back to the Church. Or perhaps the Lord has someone in mind for you who will set you on fire.
I personally think that a couple who is united in their religious convictions will likely have an easier time in building a relationship because they will have a common foundation. However, as we all know the Lord sometimes works in mysterious ways. The Lord may be leading you to someone who will help you to grow or someone you are being called to teach.
Knowing what you are getting into before you start dating is the key to establishing common ground for any relationship to flourish.
Prayer Life and Religious Practice
Now that you know what religion you are dealing with—you might want to go a little deeper to find out how religious the person actually is. Just because someone is on a Catholic dating site doesn’t mean they believe in all of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
In this scenario you may want to consider where you are at in your own faith.
- Do you have any non-negotiable issues in terms of dating?
- Are you interested in having common beliefs with the person you are dating?
- How strong is your prayer life?
By finding out the answers to these questions from yourself and the person you are considering dating you will be able to decipher what kind of prayer life the individual has. Maybe they have a deep faith and commitment to the Lord. Or maybe they are just beginning their journey.
Knowing these things will help to put you in the right frame of mind to determine whether this person is the right one to date.
Finances—The Elephant in the Room
Though this topic may seem premature for those only contemplating dating, almost 70 percent of online daters said that financial responsibility was a very important quality in a potential date. It was even more important than attractiveness or ambition!
Since Catholic dating should be focused on the goal of finding someone to marry, it is never too early to seriously question whether someone’s finances will be a roadblock later on down the line.
Considering that there are many marriages where one spouse has accumulated debt prior to marriage, this can create a financial strain. I am not saying that you should avoid dating anyone who has significant debt, but I definitely think that you should only head into such a relationship with eyes wide open.
I realize that it may be difficult to ask someone for their checkbook or to see a tax return before going on a date, but there are some clues that may tip you off:
- Do they keep a budget?
- Have they invested heavily in their education or to learn a skill?
- Do they own their own home or rent?
- Do they live with their parents?
- Are they saving up for a big purchase?
- Do they own a car? If so, what kind? Does the type of car appropriately reflect their income?
- Are they a student? Are they employed full-time?
- What are the expectations about sharing finances?
- Or—are they rich?
I don’t have judgments about the answers to any of these questions, and I am not saying you should either. However, the answers to these basic questions will hopefully give a little information about the financial outlook of the person you are considering dating.
Openness to Life—Part of Every Relationship
The foundation of any grace-filled relationship between Catholics has to be open to life to thrive. The openness to life is at the very core of who we are as Children of God. However, topics such as abortion and hormonal birth control are hot-topic buttons; ones that you will not want to approach lightheartedly.
In addition, I realize that not every single person is capable of bearing children. Perhaps you are older or have health reasons for not being capable of having your own children or of even adopting.
However, being open to life is so much more than following the Church’s teaching regarding natural family planning. Even those who are past child-bearing age can consider themselves open to life. In Familiaris Consortio Saint John Paul the Great wrote that,
“It must not be forgotten however that, even when procreation is not possible, conjugal life does not for this reason lose its value. Physical sterility in fact can be for spouses the occasion for other important services to the life of the human person, for example, adoption, various forms of educational work, and assistance to other families and to poor or handicapped children.”
At the minimum, being open to life is about a man and woman giving of themselves completely to one another while being open to the Lord’s will. The Lord can then pour forth His grace through that openness, either by physical life in the form of a new human person, or through the spiritual conception that occurs when the Lord calls that couple to offer their lives as a reflection of His love.
More to Come
Look out for my next blog post covering more items that you will want to consider before getting serious about dating. Those topics will cover children, the past, health, marriage, and family. Stay tuned!