I thought we could make a place for people to ask questions, post advice and tell their stories on courtship. This is for those who have been married for years, those in courtship and those who are single just looking for tips on what to do!
Christian Courtship in an Oversexed World by Fr TG Morrow was the most excellent guide for my now husband and I in our courtship. I buy a copy for every person I know who feels they have a vocation to marriage. In this day and society, Mike and I found it difficult to set rules for ourselves. Every line seemed to be a blur. I was in my twenties, he in his early thirties, and both of us lived independent lives. We both felt the dating “mini-relationship” route wasn’t what God had intended for potential spouses. Was is right for us to visit one another late at night? Would that be scandelous? What about kissing? What was chaste and what could lead to an occassion of sin? Should we impose a curfew on ourselves? We didn’t really have any direction on a holy approach to pursuing an engagement from a Catholic perspective or one that delt with “older” professional folks like us. This book was a life saver since it defined boundries and helped us to grow close to one another without the emotional complexities of physical intimacy. It really prepared us for marriage. I knew when I made my vows that my main purpose in life was to lead my husband to Heaven and likewise for him. It was a perfect foundation for us to build our family on.
And, bonus, the book is short and goes into the marriage a little bit.
Hmm, my fiancee and I made a pledge long ago at the beginning of our “official” dating that we would remain pure throughout our relationship. We made up a cute sounding (okay dorky) contract and printed it out, then signed it. We also put together a prayer to say everyday renewing our commitment.
It really does work. In fact, it worked so much that we will use “contracts” on important issues. Putting something into writing and letting the other person read it and agree to it is very validating and helps both people feel heard and understood. It also prevents mix ups. And it helps to see progress. We will talk about an issue (e.g. I feel lonely, I want more quality time with you) write up a paper outlining my need and a project to meet that need, then follow-up 6 months later.
It all sounds very businesslike, but it is corny and a lot of fun to do. We put little love notes and hearts on it. (Okay, I do that…).
And might I add that this is not an endorsement of the ultimatum notifications or sub poenas forcing someone to agree. It is more a declaration of love. If anyone has a tendency to be controlling, I recommend staying away from this method or making sure both people create the agreements together.