Monday, 13 November 2017

Perseverance in Courtship

There is an idea in our modern world that you need to date as many people as possible to make sure you find the perfect match. The Catholic Faith slowly becomes less and less an essential part of this perfection, and therefore you find yourself going on dates from online finds, from dating apps, from the bar down the street, the list goes on. And if in this process you are trying to find your vocation, it can become discouraging at times. After all, it can be very difficult to persevere in the Faith when the person you're in a relationship with sees no point in persevering in Catholicism at all.

This is why people older than us tell us to marry Catholics if we are  in the stage of preparing for marriage. No matter what we say, that we'll convert them later on, that no one else is out there (which is far from true), or that they're good people, just not religious, it will be difficult to stay faithful to your beliefs. The people we spend time with always have a certain kind of influence on us, never mind the person we desire to marry! We place ourselves in a tricky place, where we want to treasure and appreciate their ideas, and yet their ideas do not meet on the one thing that really matters - salvation. 

But this article is not meant for those dating non-Catholics, but those who have been wise and blessed enough to find a young man, or young woman to court who is Catholic. When I was younger, I did not like the word, "courtship." It seemed cold and formal to me, but now that I'm older, I understand it's significance. If we are in a healthy courtship, it is good to keep these points in mind. The world fills our minds with silly standards for a partner, and forgets the important aspects.

Forgiveness of Faults - I have heard multiple times from non-Catholics that marriage is a waste of time because most of them end up in divorce. And why is this? I understand some of the time a separation is necessary if the marriage was not valid, or abuse is happening etc., but most times it's because the worldly couple cannot work with each other's differences. Everyone has faults, everyone has troubles, and a couple needs to understand that about each other. I see so many people being passive aggressive, or getting into petty fights for the smallest thing. I'll just say, if you have the nerve to be passive aggressive to the person you're so called in love with, you really don't appreciate all that person has done for you. And never mind all the forgiveness God has given you as well! No one is innocent, and everyone needs forgiveness. A couple should be kind, patient, and gentle with each other. There will always be differences, but differences can be talked out. If you truly want to be perfect and master charity, turn down the yelling, or even worse silent treatment, and forgive the person. If differences become too much, and you realize you are not a good match, so be it. But a marriage needs to be built on understanding and self sacrifice, not anger and texts about how you didn't get that pair of shoes you wanted him to buy you.

Realizing the Sacred - If you are preparing for marriage, you are preparing for a sacred union with another person. If you are a woman, your husband will be a symbol of Our Lord, and if you are man, your wife will me a symbol of the Church. Through your union, more souls will be created for God, in order to live on earth and one dayenjoy everlasting happiness in heaven. Once we realize how sacred this is, courtship will become much more deep and serious, lessening the need of dwelling on the petty things as I mentioned above. This will lead to a deep appreciation in the relationship, and the future children that, God willing, will come along in the future, will see. You cannot hope for a perfect marriage if you put no effort into the beginning courtship. Habits take time, and if it is your habit to hardly pay attention to the person you're courting, rather than treasuring their company, marriage will be just as hard. So pray for the grace to always see sacredness in God's creations, and courtship will become easier and more beneficial to our souls.

Making Each Other Saints - What better way to get to heaven, then to have a companion assisting you down the narrow path? When God created Adam, He saw that it was good to give him Eve. We were created as social creatures, and marriage is the perfect example of that. We should prepare ourselves in this way to use our relationship to help further each other's sanctity and holiness. In our courtship, we should take the time between fun outings and romantic dinners, and look over each other's spiritual well-being. What can we improve? How can we strengthen our prayer lives together? How can we stay pure in our courtship? All these can help us become saints, and make our spiritual lives less dry and lonesome. Heaven becomes easier to attain with someone holding our hand and keeping us company on the way. How kind God is to bless us with this!
Let us thank God for creating such a beautiful world where He desires to find someone to love and care for us, and in turn love and care for them back. The world tells us just to have fun, when really they are missing out on a fun so much deeper than they could ever dream.