You’re Dating. It’s Going Well. Should You Marry?
You’re dating a great gal or a great guy. (Ok. Maybe you aren’t dating anyone. But you want to be and will be someday. Read this and log it away for later).
How can you tell if this one’s the one?! How can you be sure?
Well as Catholics, we want to make sure that we’re doing God’s will. And we know that God wants us to be happy, and that he cares about our relationships, especially marriage. So, there’s a good chance he knows whether the person we’re dating is a good match for us, and that he’s been trying to tell us whether to stay or move on.
How do you listen to him and figure out what he’s saying? Well, there’s step one, which is just ask him in prayer. But there are also other ways the Holy Spirit works in our lives to help us with discernment.
If you don’t spend time with one of your friends very often, sometimes it can be awkward when you meet up because you don’t know what to talk about, or have forgotten how you both click when together. It’s the same with God.
If you don’t talk to him very often, you’re going to get rusty, and it may be harder to figure out what He’s saying or to want to hear what He’s saying.
- Make sure you’ve had many experiences with your date.
Have you done some normal life stuff together, rather than just go out on dates? Have you worked on a project together? Have you been grocery shopping together? Have you been stuck in traffic together? Have you watched him interact with his family? His friends? Strangers? How does he treat them? Are you comfortable being around him in all these situations?
Discernment isn’t just something that you can figure out by mulling a person’s qualities and defects over, trapped in your head. Instead, you have to spend time with another person to understand if this is someone you can live with forever.
- Look at the fruits of your relationship.
Are you a better you or a worse you with this person in your life? Have you continued to maintain the other important relationships in your life? Are you still close to God?
If you have stopped doing things you enjoy or have grown apart from people who are important to you because of your boyfriend/girlfriend, than this person is probably not the one. Your future spouse should support you and help you grow, not drag you down.
- Ask yourself, “Am I happy?”
Don’t make a decision to marry someone or to not marry someone when you are in a place of sadness and unrest. St. Ignatius has written a lot of very insightful pieces on discernment and your emotions, and he is a strong proponent of waiting until you are in a good place emotionally to make a decision.
Deciding who to spend your life with in marriage is not a choice you make when your judgment is clouded by strong emotions. And if the trajectory of your relationship has been marked by unrest and anxiety on your part, perhaps your boyfriend or girlfriend is the cause.
- Make a decision, and then act on it.
Don’t be noncommittal for too long. You might start using discerning as an excuse to postpone making a decision about your relationship. And that won’t be helpful for either of you. Being stuck in limbo is not good, and the longer you’re together, the more likely it will become that you’re tempted to settle.
Marriage is a good thing, so if you’ve found a solid guy or girl buck up and get marriage or say good bye and look for someone else to start to purposefully dating. Either way, discernment requires action. Take the leap!
Image: Flickr, Daxton Imaging
This article was originally published by the CatholicMatch Institute (the media division of CatholicMatch.com) which provides resources to help single Catholics develop a strong foundation for marriage. Used with permission.