Often when we hear this we think of sexually patient. We want to tell young men that true love is patient and if they truly love us then they won't ask for sexual favors too soon. This is true, but let’s challenge ourselves to see how young women are sometimes impatient. Have you ever heard a girl put marital pressure on a guy saying something like, "we need to be engaged in 6 months or I'm breaking up with you"? Love is patient and will wait for the young man to be ready. I consider singleness a gift from God and an opportunity for us to grow with a mind focused only on pleasing God, before we can dedicate our lives to seeking the highest good for another person. Perhaps the reason God has placed you in this relationship and at this point in the relationship with a young man is because the two of you aren't ready for marriage. If a young woman is truly in love then she will be patient with the young man and allow him to purpose marriage when he is ready. True love lasts forever and is comfortable thing it's time for it to be the right time for God. When the Lord is ready for your relationship to progress he will let the young man know.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
There are three major components to courtship. Over the next few weeks we will be going over the 3 vital pieces of courtship to help you determine if this is the person God is calling you to marry. The first component is ministry, can you and this young man do God's work together. Second is family, can you and your families get along with each other. Third, and most important, is God. The two of you must pray together to determine if this is the direction God is calling you to.
Before we dive too deep into the components of a courtship, I would like to identify what courtship is. There are many interpretations of the term and each of us should determine how we would define courtship. For me, it is discerning whether God is calling two people into the vocation of marriage with one another. Through courtship two people may determine that they aren't meant to be together, one or both may determine that the sacrament of matrimony isn't for them. Courtship is a period of discernment when all involved need to openly and prayerfully communicate their thoughts.
So what's the difference between courtship and dating? As I posted before, lust tends to turn in on itself and love tends to turn out. In the same way, dating tends to turn in on itself and courtship tends to turn out. When dating, people will put their best foot forward, be on their best behavior, and wear the best dress. The couple tends to spend time together alone. They don't see the other person as they truly are in all of life's messy situations. We tend to romanticize things instead of being a realist and identifying the major character flaws with another because we haven't given ourselves the opportunity to see these moments. Dating can be selfish and push friends and family out of the picture. One may fall in love with a single person but in marriage, two families come together.
Courtship encourages the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of those around us. Seek the counsel of your parents and friends when determining if this man is the one for you. Often, those closest to us can see the truth clearly while we are wearing roes colored glasses. We also must make a conscious effort to see the other person in situations that may not be the most pleasant. On dates, we put our best foot forward; at family dinner, who knows what could happen. It is in these moments that we can see how a person handle stress, what the family dynamic is like, and if we see ourselves going through daily life with this person.
The number one benefit to courtship is that it fosters a love relationship rather than a lust relationship. Through courtship, Christ is thrust to the center because each person recognizes that is God who brings two people together. Through courtship, friends and family come together and give their input on the relationship. When two people marry, it isn't just about those two people, it also about two families becoming one. Finally, through courtship you can determine if you both can do God's work together and see how each of you handles tough situations. As someone who has experience the woes of dating, I think courtships are the way to go. Real life isn't found in dates, it is found in the day-to-day interactions with friends, coworkers, and family. Your courtship relationship should model what real life will be like with the people around you once married.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
What is love to you? What does love look like to you? What should married love look like?
These are very important questions that the faithful need to strongly consider. We are living in a world that has a profound confusion about the difference between love and lust. So often in today's culture we see lust flourish for a time using the title of love and we get confused when "love" doesn't last.
Part of the reason our modern interpretation of love doesn't work is because it's lust; lust is selfish love is selfless. Lust seeks personal gain; love seeks the highest good for another person. Lust turns in on itself while love turns out toward others. Lust, like all sins should be something we work through with Christ. I heard a Lighthouse Catholic Media CD with Jason Evert in which he said that those who struggle with pornography addiction should love the porn star. But he means the deep Christ centered love that we are all called to have. This love wants the highest good for that person, prayerfully asking our Lord to shower his grace and mercy on that person, and offering things up for them.
One of the things I have found in past relationships is that lust turns in on itself while love opens itself up. Before I really began opening myself up to Jesus I was in relationships I thought were love. We spent all our free time together, we talked all the time when we weren't together, and we enjoyed being alone together. One thing I'd like to point out here and will go in depth with another time is how my parents reacted to this. They prevented us from seeing each other as often and for as long as we wanted because they knew it wasn't a good relationship. We should listen to our parents when they say these things. But today our emphasis is on lust turning in. This young man and I only wanted to do things by ourselves most of the time. We didn't go out with friends or family too often. We were usually alone at his house. We didn't volunteer together or participate in church events together. We sat and watched movies at his place. One sure way to determine love or lust is what you spend your time doing and with whom you are doing it.
Love will want to spend time getting to know friends and family. We often hear people say one is marrying a family not just a person. With marriage come family vacations, holiday dinners, and all sorts of communal activities. Is it not logical to see how compatible one is with the family of a significant other and see if the two families can come together? There will certainly be dinner parties, BBQs, and bon fires with friends. We should see if his friends mesh well with our personality and if our friends mesh well with his personality. True love will want to spend time growing at the center of all these relationships and should be cultivated in this way. Love needs the support of those around us to be successful. The devil knows this and that is why lust seeks to be alone.
In my 22 years on this earth I have made more than a handful of mistakes when it comes to guys. A few things I have learned to keep my eyes open for are: how does Jesus feel, what does my family think, and who are we spending time with. These are all key details to know if we are loving or lusting.
Keep an eye out for part two of this topic where we will discuss what love is.