Dating: a time to become and grow together

The time before marriage, courtship, is the key moment for them to decide to help each other, to correct each other and try to improve.

Santiago Populín Such-August 2, 2023-Reading time: 5 minutes

Courtship is not only time to get to know each other, is also a time to be made: you have to make your future husband, you have to make your future wife.

The time of courtship is of great importance because it implies a first commitment -fine and loyal- that includes helping the other to become a better person. It is necessary to remember that no person is born mature or perfect. In this sense, the mutual and progressive knowledge in the courtship will make the qualities and defects of each one flourish.

Faced with this discovery - after having evaluated it - one can say: "I don't want to continue", and nothing happens, because this is what courtship is for, to discern well and get love right; or one can say: "I love you, even knowing that you have good and bad things - as I do - but I love you with all of them and we can fight to improve and grow together". That is the key moment for them to decide to help each other, to correct each other and try to improve.

I have known some young people who were stagnant, without ideals, impervious to the advice and examples of their home. But suddenly, they fall in love, a person appears who changes their lives, who awakens their dormant forces. Then, they manage to study or work with intensity, to be kinder, to be enthusiastic to correct their defects and to know God more, to be saints. In the face of this, one may ask: what happened there? What happened is that love arrived, and love is a transforming force that is demonstrated with concrete works.

Sometimes we also hear among young people: "he/she has no intention of changing this aspect that I don't like and that seems important to me". This type of statements should be taken into account and faced with sincerity and without naivety, because if during the engagement period one is not willing to try to change something relevant to the other, neither will he/she be willing to do so in marriage.

Marriage is a specific way of realizing a person's vocation to love. For this reason, St. Josemaría said that courtship is a school of love, and that the "Like any school of love, it must be inspired not by the desire for possession, but by the spirit of devotion, understanding, respect and gentleness" (1). (St. Josemaría, Conversations, no. 105). The work of the school is similar to the work of sowing in the field; whatever the engaged couple sow in that beautiful period, they will reap together in their future marriage.

How, then, does this of becoming and growing together in courtship take concrete form? Through the practice of the virtues - which will be the substratum on which the seed of a good and holy marriage will develop - they will grow and mature personally and also as a couple. In the struggle to live them, one grows in love - in true love - and in the capacity to love, thus benefiting both.

Here are a few points (mainly virtues) on which it is advisable to exercise in order to "become and grow together":

Humility. That virtue that allows us to discover our place and to occupy it, because humility is the truth about oneself. It helps us to develop our role and to let others take their rightful place. It also helps us to laugh at ourselves and to live with our own defects from the point of view of charity.

Generosity. This virtue is reflected in knowing how to renounce what we prefer in order to please others. It is a real manifestation of charity, because it allows us to pour all our love into small acts of service that make life more pleasant for others. In a passionate book, one of the main characters - Serguei - says to his beloved: "there is only one undoubted happiness in the world: to live for others".At such a statement, his beloved reflects to herself: "such an idea seemed strange to me at the time, because I did not understand it, nevertheless, it infiltrated my heart without reasoning." (L. Tolstoy, The Novel of Marriage) How good it is to know how to open noble horizons to the other!

Respect, purity, beautiful love. "Purity comes from love, and love consists especially in knowing how to open one's heart to the other." (G. Derville). Many young people ask: how far can one go in the manifestation of affection in courtship? It is important to clarify that love has its affective and physical expressions according to the stage it is in. In this sense, courtship is the unique and unrepeatable time of the promise, not that of married life. The mutual treatment in a Christian courtship has to be that of two people who love each other but who have not given themselves totally to each other in the holy sacrament of marriage. For this reason they must strive to be prudent, delicate in their dealings, elegant - taking care of their modesty - and mutually respectful, avoiding occasions that could put the other in limiting circumstances.

Life of piety (Prayer, Mass, devotion to the Virgin Mary, among others). A Christian courtship is lived well when it helps the other to be closer to God. In every Christian family, the spiritual life is fundamental, because it is building the house on rock (Mt 7, 25). For this reason, it is important to let God take a position between the two of you right from the engagement: "Therefore, make this time of your preparation for marriage an itinerary of faith: rediscover for your life as a couple the centrality of Jesus Christ and the journey in the Church". (Benedict XVI, Speech, Ancona, 11-9-2011).

Sincerity, transparency and trust. They are essential to be able to have a solid project together; we must not forget that dating is a relationship of two.

Saber listen. Listening is a dimension of charity. "Listening, in fact, has to do not only with the sense of hearing, but with the whole person. The true seat of listening is the heart. Listening is, therefore, the first and indispensable ingredient of dialogue and good communication." (Francis, Rome, January 24, 2022, Memorial of St. Francis de Sales).

Friendship and companionship: The book of Song of Songs shows us that the lovers have built a solid relationship based on friendship, they are friends and companions. It should be noted that love is built on the friendship that the couple has, for this reason the groom should be the best friend of his bride and vice versa. It is important that they support each other, that they accompany each other in the good times as well as in the bad. Also, be happy for each other's successes; the right joy of one is the joy of the other. And finally, learn to make decisions together with peace and joy, even if one has to give in.

Empathy. Empathy is understood as the quality of putting oneself in the place of the other, taking charge of what he or she is experiencing. Empathy united to charity contributes to foster communion of hearts, as St. Peter said: "Be of one mind and one heart" (Cfr. Láinez J., Ser quien eres).

Patience. Mother Angelica (founder of EWTN) said: "patience is adjusting your times to God's times".. It is good to practice it in small things, for example: in the bank queue, while driving, in dealing with your family, etc.

Knowing how to ask for forgiveness. Exercise the ability to resolve conflicts quickly and simply, remembering that no one is completely right.

In conclusion, Christian courtship is an exciting journey full of challenges that allows one to grow personally and to make the other grow through the exercise of virtues. For this reason, Christian courtship is a path of holiness and preparation for living the universal vocation to love, made concrete in the marriage.

The authorSantiago Populín Such

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.
Banner advertising
Banner advertising