Back in February, I wrote an article about another Valentine’s Day without spending it with someone. It was a holiday that I had to navigate as a single and that was okay. God was preparing me for someone.
Just days after posting the article, I asked an amazing woman named Hanna a question that propelled us in a big discernment process. The article aged well, right?
As she and I reflect on six months of official dating, we offer advice for those who are dating, about to embark on the dating experience, and those who are single and what to look for.
Stay Close to Joseph and Mary
M: “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19). Even In the midst of any storms, this “silent man” whom Jesus called “dad” on earth offered his sufferings to God. Likewise, all problems that arise in our life should be offered up to God, and strive to be righteous like Joseph. In that way, a man truly becomes a “Catholic Gentleman.”
H: After finding the child Jesus in the Temple, Mary told Jesus: “Your father and I have been searching for you with great anxiety.” (Luke 2:48). It shows the care that Mary had toward her spouse. Mary is a great example of how we should put our selfishness aside and be selfless in the service of God.
Choose Patron Saints
M: The Catholic Church is rich with so many powerful intercessors. When it comes to dating, it has a mighty few saintly couple to choose from.
H: Some saints that come to mind are St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother, Sts. Louis and Zellie, Blessed Karl and his wife, Zita, Sts. Joachim and Anne. There will be more to come. All it takes is to follow their example.
Pray for Each Other
M: This can apply to those who are single or in a relationship. Praying for that future spouse (if called to marriage) is the best way to prepare for matrimony. I remember offering the Novena to St. Andrew for my spouse when I committed to praying it prior to my first date with Hanna.
H: I prayed the St. Joseph Novena after my first relationship, which was long distance, came to an end. About a week later Mickey asked me on a date. The moment he asked me if I were willing to meet him for Mass to kick off our first date, I saw God’s hand of healing and grace in that Mass. The rest was history!
M: Our first date was Mass followed by a formal event. Always make time to attend Mass together. It can be one’s parish or a Catholic Church at a destination. Whatever the case, Mass is important. Faith comes first. Sacraments have “powers that come forth from the Body of Christ” (CCC 1115).
M: Learning from good friends, many offered one piece of advice that will help in the dating process… hold deep conversations. Dating is not just discovering one’s likes and dislikes. It also helps to understand what a household can look like with the person you’re dating. Some things to discuss are children’s education, living preference, the make-up of the house, and tasks to accomplish daily. One important thing that a priest told me in confession is to communicate boundaries with the other. It will help ensure a pure dating experience.
H: Something Mickey and I enjoy doing is talking about faith. Conversing about faith, you look forward to the everlasting life that is to come.
Also, whenever we have a car ride, we listen to Fr. Mike’s Bible in a Year or Catechism in a Year. We even talk about a point he made that stood out to us.
H: Overall, we encourage everyone to pray, attend Mass, talk about the faith, learn something about each other, and an important thing to consider in dating is to strive for purity.
M: Strive to be with someone who looks forward to spending time with you and wants to follow you to heaven while building you up.
If sufferings and struggles come along, remember that “The Cross is the school of love” (St. Maximilian Kolbe). Always look forward to the Cross from which the salvation for this world came through.
Please pray for us. We’ll be praying for you.