Why I Brought God Into My Dating Life
By Noemi Correa
If at any other point in my life, someone had asked me to write an article about dating, I would’ve said no for their own good. But for the last few months I’ve taken on a unique dating experience (for this day and age at least) and although I’m really new to this, I can offer my experience and share what I have learned from the man I am currently dating.
I never dated in high school simply because school was my priority. When I entered college, this did not change. Even when life took a different route and I took some time off from school to work a full time job, I wasn’t really interested in dating. At one point, I even thought I was called to be a nun, and for some time I decided to discern what it was that God was really calling me to do. I thought about religious life for two years before deciding it was not for me. It was then that I felt like God said , “okay, be open to dating.” And so I was.
It was scary entering the dating world. At least, speaking from experience. But I was able to find peace by having faith and trusting in God. I was always taught that God is the only one who can ever satisfy the needs of our poor, fragile hearts. So I went into dating knowing not to expect too much from the men I met. This made it a lot easier not to idealize people and not to expect too much from them. I faced a lot less disappointment by keeping this way of thinking in the back of my mind.
One of the teachings that I questioned growing up though, was that love is a choice, not a feeling. I believed that everyone deserves and is allowed to feel loved. Without feelings, how else was I supposed to know who to date and pursue a relationship with? It wasn’t until I met someone worth making sacrifices for, that I realized that my way of thinking was shallow. And through time and much prayer, it made sense on a deeper level. I understood that feelings may make things exciting in the beginning, but once you’ve found someone worth dating, you have to choose to continue loving them. You have to choose to take your time to get to know them. What do they love to do? How do they treat their family? Which friends do they spend their free time with? What are they passionate about? Do they bring me closer to God?
For me, dating meant finding someone who shares the same beliefs as me. We shouldn’t rush relationships, but that is what happens when we act solely on feelings. We all have our insecurities, and I am painfully aware of mine. I’m working on them, slowly, albeit surely. A very wise friend of mine gave me some great advice on dating as a Catholic. She said to always pray before and after each date you go on. If you feel at peace, that’s a good sign! Ask God what he wants from you, work on your relationship with Him, and that will make your relationships with everyone else a lot easier. Be their best friend. Bring them and yourself closer to God. Now obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I think the lesson here can be universal. If the person you’re dating only brings you turmoil and stress, rethink it. If the person you’re dating isn’t someone you would call a friend, rethink it. If the person you’re dating forces you to neglect people and beliefs you care about, rethink it. Dating is difficult. But when you’re with the right person, for the right reasons, it's worth it.