Dating and marriage

At one time, and it is still practiced today, though rarely, dating meant getting to know the other person as a person. Sometimes, things did not work out, but dating was meant to be fun. It was not about having sex.

Sometimes, two young people would go steady. This meant that they were not dating anyone else. This could lead to courtship, which included both parents. Fathers would tell boyfriends “I want my daughter home by 10:00 PM.” followed by “Have fun!” The parents were involved in the lives of their teenage children. They needed to be. Teenagers barely know what the outside world is like aside from school, and parents were also teenagers at one time. Fathers would sometimes have to tell their daughters, “I don’t want you marrying a drunk.” out of love and concern. Too many movies have painted parents as unnecessary meddlers. Love and concern are not meddling. And yes, the occasional couple would elope and get married without their parents’ approval, but was this always a good idea?

Today, it appears that life after marriage is a mystery. A picture is painted of modern couples who divorce as if the person they married was only revealed to them after the ceremony. If we are truly intelligent then we should really get to know the other person long before the wedding. Both parties need to honestly tell their expectations of the future to each other. Both should honestly assess their future needs like housing and money. Planning is necessary both for the short and long term.

This requires a solid friendship and trust. You need to enjoy each other’s company outside of the bedroom. That is part of what’s missing today. Only a small fraction of a married couple’s life involves sex. People have to go to work, keep house and attend to the other everyday things we all need to do. Unless this firm foundation is established, it will be more difficult. Real love means real understanding and real commitment. Trust and love should be there before sex.


I totally agree!


well put

Here are five questions I think are important when dating and preparing for marriage. I’m not married, but these have proven to be helpful:

  1. Do you bring out the best in each other, not the worst? You encourage each other to grow personally, professionally and emotionally, recognizing that change is positive and healthy.
  1. Do you trust each other and know that you can count on one another to do the right thing? There’s no jealousy or second-guessing in the relationship.
  1. Do you have fun together? Playfulness adds spice, and laughter is an aphrodisiac.
  1. Do you share common core beliefs and values? Connecting on an emotional and spiritual level is just as powerful — and important — as a physical connection.
  1. Do you communicate with each other out of care and concern instead of judgment and criticism? Think about it this way: What’s your tone of voice like when you’re critical and judgmental? It’s hard to have a harsh tone when you speak out of care and concern.

Found on:

I disagree with some of the article (and agree with one of the comments below it), but some good stuff.

DH and I had a bit of an untraditional courtship. We met online and lived 10 hours away from each other until we were married 2 1/2 years after meeting. We were forced to talk and talk often as opposed to the traditional dates couples go on. Our average time talking per day was 3-5 hours (most time solid in one day 8 hours!). We also both invested in a good web camera to talk over Skype (which was free besides the cost of internet!) so that way we could see facial expressions while talking. I was glad I got free nights and weekends that’s for sure! :thumbsup:

We didn’t get to go on many romantic dates which I think helped our chastity as a couple but instead we grew in respect and understanding of each other. I think these romantic dates often blind couples into looking deeper into issues. Because all we had was talking with each other for 2 1/2 years we were forced to talk about all of the issues rather than busy ourselves with activities. We learned early on that emotional intimacy was as important as physical intimacy. I think this is the main reason why periods of abstinence with NFP (and yes we’ve had 3-4 months where we were force to be abstinent) have not torn us apart because we use that time to draw emotionally closer. If that makes sense…

I’m not saying dates aren’t fun, but I’m saying there needs to be a balance. I think couples can get too busy and involved in the romantic and passionate side of a relationship as to not build the friendship part which IMO is much more important in the dating phase. You have an entire lifetime together you might as well be friends! :wink:

I’m not advocating that everyone in a long distance relationship do things the way we did them. For us it worked, for others it may not. But I advocated for couples to be friends first and lovers second. Love is a choice not a feeling and I’m glad DH and I share that same view. As a married couple we may not always “feel in love” but we can chose to love each other. Friendship is the best way to build that choice to love in a relationship that passion can often blind us from. :slight_smile:

This is a real issue at my house. I have an older teen daughter who has not dated yet, but will be going away to college in a year. I don’t want her to date, just to do it, but on the other hand, I think it would be better for her to have us around when she starts.

One of the issues about dating is that in the 50s when many of the cute movies were made (with dad saying “be home by 10”), most women and many men still did not go to college. The GI bill was just starting to help more men (they weren’t boys anymore if they’d been to war and back) go to college. Most young adults (especially women) then were living at home until marriage, so they were being supervised by parents.

Part of what made the 60s the ‘sexual revolution’ is that so many young adults were leaving home for college and so were not as supervised when they dated. The hormones and desire that had previously been directed into dating with the goal of marriage, were let loose into dating just for dating.

I would like my daughter to get to know many young men as friends and have the opportunity to ask those questions before she gets into an exclusive dating relationship. Usually the result of that that is getting married too soon or being involved in many serial dating relationships, which only teach you how to become ‘intimate’ (even if only emotionally) quickly and then break up. Not a good foundation for a long and happy marriage.

My father came to this country after World War II with a sixth grade education. He wasn’t going to college but he did manage to have a family.

Parents should just be parents and not wonder. Unfortunately, for some young people, they’ve decided that “I’m 18 and you can’t tell me what to do anymore.” Talk to your young adults. Tell them you love them and want what’s best for them.


:thumbsup: I’m so encouraged to read this!

Just over a year ago, I met the most wonderful guy, right here on this forum, who’s about 1000 miles away from me. And, somehow, it turned into a friendship, and then into a serious relationship.

And, relating to the original post, even though I’m nearing the age of 30, I got my parents involved as well. Why wouldn’t I want the wisdom of older, married people who love me and want the best for me? (Not to mention, I figured if a guy wasn’t scared off by meeting my folks right away, he was worth my time!!) :smiley:

(Even better - toss out the idea of “my Dad volunteered to ‘chaperone’ our next date”, and see what the guy says. When my guy was totally ok with that one, my already-high opinion of him went up several notches.) :stuck_out_tongue:

Here’s hoping for the future!!! :gopray2:

TraderTif - I will keep you both in my prayers that the relationship continues to develop. Long distance is rough, but possible. :gopray2:

When we were dating my parents were always involved. Since at the time I was living at home while going to school there was little avoiding it! lol His parents lived in the same town as I did at the time so I went to Mass with them for 1 1/2 years. I learned a lot from his parents in that 1 1/2 years about how their relationship was as a couple and as a family. When you marry anyone you marry their family too and I knew I wanted to know what I was getting into! :thumbsup:

I don’t know that parents are an end all as far as determining these days if two people should get married though. I think as we have become more independent as adults (going off to college, waiting 10-15 years after leaving home to get married, etc.) parents may not know their adult children as well as they once did. I don’t believe a lot of parents care anymore as well. The vast majority of them don’t see it as their place to tell their adult children (especially if it has been 10-15 years since they’ve lived at home) what they really think of a future husband/wife because of fear. Children have been raised by society to believe they don’t need their parents approval for marriage. A guy asking for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage is more of a symbolic symbol than a serious deal.

My parents did not have some of the same values in a match as I did. They divorced when I was 8 and my Dad has told my sisters and I he expects us also to divorce. Kind of sad to have such a lack of faith, but he’s coming from his experiences so I understand it. Many adult children of divorce cannot use their parents as examples for what a lasting marriage should look like. I know I can’t. My parents got married at the exact same age as I did, but in some ways they were much more immature in their expectations. I can’t use them as a mirror for marriage nor do I intend to. :shrug:

I am not a fan of the dating system at all and I believe it’s a flawed concept on many levels, but let’s not go there for once.

Yes, things other than what goes on in the bedroom seem to be missing. Generally, even if not actual sex, then at least physiology is pre-eminent to the point everything else is far behind. Or at least that’s the impression I have, although I am from time to time pleasantly surprised by people.

By the way, I’m not a fan of the pragmatic and practical approach to marriage, on the other hand. It’s scary to me when I’m faced with it.

Laurie, thanks SO much for posting this!! It really is so encouraging :slight_smile: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 1 year and 3 months, and we’ve been in a long-distance relationship for 3 months. He’s currently in Oregon…and I’m in Lima, Peru!!! It’s so tough sometimes, especially when I think of how long he’s gonna be away (3 years, for a Masters degree), and when my mind starts worrying, it is so tough to find comfort in what my heart and God are whispering in my ear: just TRUST.

Thank you so much, I’ll come back to this post whenever I feel overwhelmed with worry (which, being a very anxious person, I sometimes find myself easily falling into!)

Thanks again :slight_smile: Many blessings to you!

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