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Dating & Relationships

One of the reasons Catholics rush relationships is due to a high anxiety to find their soul mate—sometimes to the point where dating isn’t even enjoyable. Rather, it becomes an all out mission to find a spouse—at all costs.

It goes without saying that you should never seriously date anyone who you wouldn’t be friends with or wouldn’t consider good marriage material. However, the opposite is also problematic; namely, obsessing early on about whether or not this person is your soul mate.

You may find yourself asking questions: “Is this the one?” “Could this be my future spouse? “Where will we live?” “What will our finances look like?” 

It can be a tendency to micromanage every little detail at the beginning of a relationship to figure out the spouse question. 

This is unhealthy. In fact, it will impede the natural growth of a developing relationship and severely hamper your decision making process.

It also dehumanizes the other person, turning them into a venture to be figured out rather than a person to date who has feelings. As you might expect, trying to decipher what your whole future will look like with this person so early on prematurely attaches you to that person and builds a false intimacy that won’t last. 

Rushing into relationships merely to reach an “end goal” leads to a loss of clarity in the decision making process and almost always leads and to compromise. Settling for less is almost inevitable.

I know from my own experience—and from the mistakes of many Catholics—that the more you stress about this question early on, the more problems develop.

Work on getting to know each other first before you start talking about how many kids you want and what sort of house you would live in. Exploring these questions too early in the relationship only creates an unstable foundation that won’t last.

Moreover, this often leads to trying to make a relationship work that shouldn’t. This is because we have invested so much of ourselves so quickly.

It is also easy to miss clear warning signs. We may even justify the warnings; “Well, if we are going to be married someday, I have to learn to live with these problems now.” 

No, you don’t. You are not married, and some problems should not be overlooked. Too many Catholics tolerate warning signs unnecessarily which only leads to larger issues later on.

Consequently, early on in a relationship, you shouldn’t focus on the spouse question much, or at all. You shouldn’t imagine your whole future with this person. That comes in time. 

As Dave Sloan says, “Dating is fun: relax and enjoy it.” Take pleasure in spending time with the other person—right now—in the present.

Go on fun, innocent, low-stress dates. Enjoy them, and don’t give into worry. Dating can help you get to know the other person, know yourself, discover your likes and dislikes, and what you are looking for in a spouse. 

If you don’t want to continue seeing them, be honest. Dating is a mature act for mature people, and if someone is truly mature, they will understand and not grow bitter.

There is no sense trying to hold onto someone who is not your spouse. Staying with the wrong person, for whatever reason, will always keep you from finding the right person God has for you.

So, go about it the right way and “The Pathway to Love” will be more stable and authentic. If you continue to take it slow and pray about it, asking God to lead you, the deeper questions will be answered in time, and you will be free enough to see and hear the answer you are looking for.

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28 Comments

  1. Gary-936836 June 30, 2013

    Mission: accepted.

  2. Colleen-329593 June 30, 2013

    I agree with not rushing in. I did that with my ex-husband under the guise of “Holy Courtship”. where you date with the only purpose of marraige as the end result. I ignored a couple of huge red flags as we were engaged 3 months after we met and married 8 months later. He turned out to be emotionally abusive, a pedophile, a liar and many other things. Luckily I escaped with my 3 beautiful children (the blessings of the relationship). And fortunately for my children he is a registered sex offender now and only has supervised visits of the kids. Take your time, get to know the other person as a human being without thinking if he is “marraige material” on the first date. Avoid the 7 years of hell I went through. God’s peace and good luck in your dating adventures! :)

    • BL-742385 July 2, 2013

      Amen Colleen! I couldn’t have said it better. Thanks for being honest. Your experience is unfortunately common. Good luck!

    • Jesse H. July 2, 2013

      God Bless you lady. You have used your love and faith to be a true Catholic. We need more like you. Jesse

    • Celestina-990552 August 3, 2013

      God Bless you, Coleen…so lucky you could escape. hugs for ya.

  3. Pedyne-248823 June 30, 2013

    Great article with so many good points!

  4. William-613312 June 30, 2013

    Very many good points that we often forget. I recently broke up with someone and if I read this article beforehand, I may still be with her and not on Catholic Match today. But I believe things happen for a reason, and the reason is not always clear to us mere mortals at first. I know this much: God knows better than I do!

  5. Hank-985203 June 30, 2013

    Nothing is ever as complicated as it seems. Let’s get back to basics. A girl should never date exclusively until she has a diamond on her finger and she has accepted a marriage proposal. If a guy can get her all to himself just for the asking, the girl loses every bit of leverage a woman has.

    A diamond is not a prostitute’s wage! Even after a couple is engaged, they should avoid situations involving privacy! Placing one’s self in the near occasion of sin is a sin itself! Nothing but more sin can come of it.

    Never date anyone until you have evaluated whether or not you would consider his/her genetic code to become part of your children.

    Don’t overemphasize. Many men are attracted to large-busted females, so they place too much emphasis on that. In truth, courtship and marriage are genetically programmed reproductive behaviors. There’s nothing mystical or magical about it!

    Men are attracted to women who display outward signs of genetically superior reproductive ad infant-feeding potential! Men are attracted to slim, trim females because the girl has not given childbirth. Up until a short time ago it also meant she is a virgin.

    People just have to get honest about what they’re doing. There is no such thing as a ‘soul mate!’ That’s superstitious gibberish! There is no magic involved in dating. There are no beauty secrets. Some people are just more attractive than others.

    There is no secret to finding the perfect spouse, because the perfect spouse is fictional. Mass-media holds out the carrot on a stick that keeps both men and women utterly insecure over dating, because mating insecurity drives consumerism.

    If you want the best possible example, go to Italy. Everything for guys can be used in some manner to pick up women. Italy’s national treasures are The Roman Catholic Church and the beauty of Italian females.

    OK, so just remember, marriage is not to make people happy. It is to perfect the individual through many years of difficult trial, sacrifice, injustice and ingratitude; which work like abrasive to polish a rough stone into a gem!

    There’s nothing wrong with marrying after dating for nine months and a three-month engagement. If a couple is not wed in that time, fornication threatens the woman’s bridal adornment.

    • Robert-918083 July 2, 2013

      Hank … Don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think. It sounds like you have been working on your pick up lines.

  6. Lisa-933589 June 30, 2013

    Brian excellent points!!!!! Oh if you only knew what’s been going on…oh right, you do!!

    As Dave Sloan says, “Dating is fun: relax and enjoy it.” Take pleasure in spending time with the other person—right now—in the present.

    Go on fun, innocent, low-stress dates. Enjoy them, and don’t give into worry. Dating can help you get to know the other person, know yourself, discover your likes and dislikes, and what you are looking for in a spouse.

    What happened to a burger and a shake so to speak? Just a burger and a shake? If all works out…another date? Simple. Fun. Innocent. Low Stress. add in some laughter and = very attractive! I love this uncomplicated joy of getting to know another…it’s summer too- so things are very easy & light to start…plenty of fun opportunities…Amen for this article hope it makes a big impression…and more sincere, down to earth dates that have a chance to blossom :)

    Lisa

  7. Ross-728005 June 30, 2013

    Bryan–outstanding article with many good points! Thank You.
    I hope to read more of your writings on dating.

  8. Rita-725830 July 1, 2013

    I believe that we are supposed to ask God to place that right person in our path and remember the characters in the Old Testament who proved that God is the Heavenly Matchmaker. Dating is the first step in getting to know how we fit together as a loving couple and shows how we can cope with the problems surrounding us in the everday events of our lives as we share time and space. We have to remember that we don’t love someone because he is perfect. Relax! God has his perfect plan for our Match made in heaven. Keep the joy in the journey.

  9. Susai-984210 July 1, 2013

    Dating should be just simple using the time to explore each other by allowing God’s spirit to reveal the process instead of rushing in based on – worldly standards.I believe it’s kind of three people communicating during this process you, your date and most of all God who has this special purpose making this two special people meet at certain time, at a certain place and with certain purpose.Susai

  10. John-917143 July 1, 2013

    Though I agree that we shouldn’t rush into things and that we should not ignore warning signs, the idea of dating someone just for fun and without a purpose irks me. Sure the person you are dating is not someone you’ll get married to right away, but he or she should possess some qualities of someone you could potentially be married to years down the road. I’d like to believe that people on CM are here because they feel that God is calling them to the path of marriage and that they’d like to find that person who is part of God’s greater plan for you. After all, this site is called Catholic Match and not Casual Catholic Meetups.

    That being said, yes, I agree that we should not over analyze every tiny detail as if we were going to marry them already. Nor should we try and decipher what our future with them will look like. I do think, however, that there are certain issues of faith and personal beliefs that cannot be overlooked even before going on a date with someone. For example, if the person is clearly not interested in seeking a relationship or commitment at this stage in his or her life, that cannot be overlooked. If at the messaging stage they don’t fit your bill, you should tell them politely that you aren’t interested and don’t even bother going on a date with them. Going on a date with someone who does not share similar religious and personal beliefs will simply be a waste of your time and his/her time, because it’ll be a difficult thing to iron out in the long run. As you said, you don’t have to live with those problems or justify the warnings. Dating should be fun and simple, but it should be done with someone you are interested in and have things in common with. It should have a purpose.

    • Ron-138381 July 2, 2013

      Right on! I agree that CM must be here for people who’s intention is to find a mate. There are plenty of other casual dating sites. I don’t totally agree with the writer that just date for fun and enjoy yourself! Yes, enjoyment and fun and laughter should be indicators of what a future spouse should have with you. After all, marriage is not the “end game”. Married couples must work and make adjustments continually through life to find peace and joy within and keep intimacy intact.

  11. Eric-941851 July 2, 2013

    my problem is i feel based on my age i am running out time to have a family

    • Joanna-615441 July 3, 2013

      Hang in there David, my time has run out, yours hasn’t . . . blessing and good luck

  12. Anthony-963804 July 2, 2013

    This is rather embarasing but I’m 30 and have never had a date before, with all my friends in serious relationships (one is married) I often ask myself when will I find my queen, so I guess that in a way I just want someone to call my own because my friends are all attached and its a little lonely by myself so I often project my feelings about the future on people that I shouldn’t but what can I do about it, every weekend I’m at home alone and its rather depressing

  13. Jesse H. July 2, 2013

    All these articles are very good. I appreciate everyone’s comments. I find that you shouldn’t date everyone who is available. You should set some requirements and stick to them. You should expect your partner to do the same. If you really make sacrafices to get what you are looking for and the other person does the same, God is in control and the results will be achieved. Don’t think for a moment the other person is not doing the same. The one requirement one should use, always ask for references from someone who knows the other person. Results will not be guaranteed but this sure will help. God Bless Jesse

  14. Parenel-288883 July 2, 2013

    So, now I truly know why none of my relationships have worked out. Thank you Brain for shining the light in a different direction, the answer I have been looking for has been right in front of me the whole time. I have been doing everything you said not to do in this article and have been miserable. Now that I know what not to do, maybe I’ll have better luck finding the person God has chosen for me.

  15. Ana-457817 July 2, 2013

    I agree with Bryan. I have faith God’s Spirit will lead me to the right man. I do not know where he is, but God has him as a gift for me at a certain place. Maybe here.

  16. Yolanda L. July 2, 2013

    There is always hope in finding somone at any age.

  17. Joanna-615441 July 3, 2013

    You’re assuming we are actually DATING!

    • Nicholas Z. July 3, 2013

      too true…haven’t found anyone to date for the last 5-6 years lol

  18. Espe-410886 July 10, 2013

    I think the older one gets, the picking’s get slimmer especially since most of the men on CM are never in my area, always in another State!

  19. Audrey-471019 July 10, 2013

    Where Is that Special Someone?

    First of all why is there such a high anxiety to find our soul mate?
    There are as many reasons, as people, trying to find a soul mate.
    Lets look at a few that could put a rush on things for some people.
    Just the fast pace of everything today is a cause to want to rush things a bit.
    The whole world is in a rush, so with that said, it’s like we are all in a race.

    If we know it or not. Because Sally did it in a couple of months so can I.
    Just remember that you are not Sally. Even if you did everything exactly like Sally did
    you are not Sally, and the man you meet will not be the man Sally met.

    We are all one unique person and need to act on that accord. Age plays a part in this also.
    It seems that the younger set will rush into a relationship faster than our older set will.
    Why because they lack the one thing the older set has experience. But let a cute thing wink at you.
    Then all precaution goes out the window. I am talking about both sexes.
    We all like eye candy because we remember how it use to be.
    Are we really looking for that special someone? Or are we just in a hurry to be in a relationship?
    Be unique. Be true to yourself, follow your first mind, that’s your gutt feeling.
    Don’t try to make a relationship work that shouldn’t.
    There is no sense trying to hold onto someone who is not your spouse.
    Staying with the wrong person, for whatever reason, is just a waste of your time.
    This will only keep you from finding the right person God has for you.
    Dating should be fun and simple, but it should be done with someone you are interested in
    and have things in common with. It should have a purpose. God knows what’s best for you. Are you listening?

  20. Henny-956284 July 10, 2013

    Lisa, Thanks for inspiring again! I think you are a blessed talented writer….

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