Friday, December 15, 2006

A Christian approach to dating

Adoration tonight, 7-8 p.m., SAA Church. Like Kelly is doing, please bring your friends!
A blogger has asked, "Can you discuss a moral and catholic approch to dating." Another blogger responded, "Excellent topic!... I think that topic is really important, and I hope it becomes a topic for discussion." The best current Catholic resource for dating that I have found is the book, "Christian Courtship in an Oversexed World" by T.G. Morrow. Here are some excerpts from Fr. Morrow's very popular book:

"From what I have seen and what young adults are telling me, it seems that there is far too much pressure on young men and women when they go out. It’s too 'clingy.' They are in effect, expected to commit to dating each other exclusively from the second or third date. It’s crazy. Far better to get together as friends for various activities for a time, without the pressure that dating usually brings.

This means you see each other and do things together, but you are free to go with others if you wish at first, and there’s no kissing goodnight, or holding hands. Nice, warm, chaste hugs are fine, since good friends often hug, but everything is low key, low pressure. There’s no 'I love you,' or 'I want to marry you,' just words like, 'You’re an awesome friend.' You might just get together once a week and talk on the phone twice a week at most.

If the friendship gets deeper you can move into a more exclusive arrangement. Agree to not date others, and get together twice a week and speak on the phone a bit more. But until you both agree to move into courtship, it’s still a friendship, even if an exclusive one.

What if one or the other starts to have strong feelings? That’s fine, but, until you agree on a courtship, you don’t express those strong feelings in words, just in kindness and consideration. You continue as close friends...

One of the benefits of a 'friendship first' approach is that it provides something quite positive for couples to aim at, before the courtship begins. When I was young, we used to think in terms of getting through the first three dates, so we could have a goodnight kiss. As time went on, it got reduced to two dates, and then there was no waiting. A goodnight kiss was expected on the first date. This was all rather utilitarian, rather calculated. And, it was really not very personal.

Friendship dating is not biding time until the first kiss and the implied commitment to exclusiveness on the third or fourth date. It’s a wonderful, gentle way to lay a good foundation for a chaste courtship.

One of the key elements of a Christian life is living by reason. That’s what prudence is. It is not reasonable to court if you can’t see marrying in the near future. More and more young men and women are examining their own dating behavior and realizing that some major changes are needed. 'Would not my spiritual life be better and my life as a med student be simpler if I just developed some good friendships for a while, and didn’t rush into an intense relationship, when I’m a few years away from being able to marry?' It is a delight, although admittedly a limited one, to have a good, strong friendship with a person of the opposite sex. It is a joy to have someone you can discuss your life with and feel confident you won’t be exploited by that person. It is so sweet to be able to chastely hug a person you really like and trust. More and more young people are seeing the value of slowing down, and 'smelling the roses' in the garden of friendship...

Regardless of your situation, I strongly recommend trying to simply develop a nice, low-key friendship with someone, without any kissing or romance for two or three months (at least) before getting into a more romantic sort of courtship. Some of the best marriages have begun with a beautiful friendship."


At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My brother in law and sister in law met, got engaged and married in two days! My husband and brother in law 's Aunt and Uncle were best friends with my sister in law's Aunt and Uncle and they set up the meeting. The meeting went well and they have been married for 14 years now and are very much in love. I know many people who got married this way but definately don't reccomend it for everyone.

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keeping my promises.

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous hsprincess said...

Thanks so much for posting this on ur blog, Fr.Greg. I've been wondering what the answer is to this question!

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of your situation, I strongly recommend trying to simply develop a nice, low-key friendship with someone, without any kissing or romance for two or three months (at least) before getting into a more romantic sort of courtship. Some of the best marriages have begun with a beautiful friendship."

That sounds like an awesome way to begin a friendship/relationship. MARRIED FOR 20 YEARS! This is the way it started..........first a beautiful friendship. Compatibility(similar faith&values) is extremely important. This becomes especially important if you hope to have children.

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could never do what the first annon's brother in law and sister in law did! It takes me longer to choose shampoo!

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the way it used to be in the 40's and 50's . That is before the sexual revolution. It is refreshing to read.

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous kelly said...

My 14 year old said "Let me get this straight, the purpose of dating is find your life partner?"
Next, "Well I won't even bother dating in high school! Who needs the drama?" My husband would like her to put it in writing. LOL,

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


In my culture that's how (some but not all ) do it and it has worked for generations! Of course the "dating" doesn't start until after college.

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While standing in line at the grocery store I see magazines that have on the cover which Hollywood couple is breaking up, cheating on one another etc. What a shame that they don't have the devotion to their marriage or other peoples'. What is sad is how so many people in society look up to these celebraties as role models.


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