Discernment Dating Dilemma


#1

I have been discerning for around 4 years now. I have visited many orders and narrowed down my search to a few that I could see myself joining. I am 26 years old and a school teacher. Throughout my discernment I have found it easy to focus because I have not been in a relationship with anyone. I was planning on furthering my research and entering this coming August, but now my plans are changing. After having years with no prospects an amazingly wonderful man falls into my life. Nothing on the radar (since I’m not looking) and 9 months before I hope to enter a convent this man jumps into my life.

I decided to go ahead and have some fun and just date casually. We both like country dancing so having a dance partner sounded great. We got to know each other and enjoyed dancing. He works out of town during the weekdays so we spend evenings talking on the phone. This of course is a blessing because it forces us to really get to know each other. It has been about 4 months since we started dating and I see multiple paths for my life.

I have told him about my discernment and he is supportive of me finding out what God is calling me to do. He is just glad that we have the time now to get to know each other. He is a man called to marriage and his goal in life is to raise a wonderful, loving family. He will truly make a wonderful husband and father some day. I, on the other hand, have different goals. I have always wanted to be radical. I have never wanted to settle down and have a family. For me, it seems like family ties you down and makes it so you cannot help others as much. You are bound to your family. I think I want to be a missionary or a sister. I know I need to be actively helping and volunteering in order to feed my own soul. This dating experience has opened my eyes to the blessing of having a family. His family, including extended family, is so close and in constant contact. I have never experienced family this way, nor seen a marriage that held as much love as those in his family. This experience is messing with my own opinions on family and marriage.

I know God has placed me in his life for a reason. I don’t know if He just wants to show me what my other options are, or if He is actually telling me to wait. I long to be the one for this amazing man, but I also long to be fully devoted to my Beloved. I feel torn. My soul is not content without God, and I mean without constantly being able to love, and serve, and grow in the spirit. I felt so sure of my path months ago, and now I feel lost. How do I keep discerning when I am dating? How to I figure out if I should continue to pursue this relationship or end it? How do I know, with a sure enough sign, to decide ANYTHING? I am stuck in between two worlds and I don’t know which one to dive into. I have spent the past 4 years of my life fully invested in discerning, should I at least take the next few months to see if marriage might be my vocation?


#2

(subscribes to thread.)


#3

Kristina,

Forgive me, but what the Church needs, are selfless religious women who want the responsibility of "mothering" large families (although in a unique way).

"I have never wanted to settle down and have a family. For me, it seems like family ties you down and makes it so you cannot help others as much. You are bound to your family. I think I want to be a missionary or a sister. I know I need to be actively helping and volunteering in order to feed my own soul."


#4

My question for you is this. What is the purpose of dating?

I do not believe that those in discernment for the religious life should be dating as it is unjust to the person you are dating as you are not free to pursue a deeper relationship, you do not even want a deeper relationship.

So you are holding him back from making such a connection with someone who is free for such a relationship.

It seems a bit selfish to me and it is my understanding that many if not most vocation directors frown upon dating very close to beginning the application process.

What does your spiritual director think of this?


#5

[quote="ByzCath, post:4, topic:222569"]

I do not believe that those in discernment for the religious life should be dating as it is unjust to the person you are dating as you are not free to pursue a deeper relationship, you do not even want a deeper relationship.

[/quote]

I would tend to disagree with ByzCath on this issue, in that one should always be open to the possibility that God might land your future spouse in your lap during your discernment.
Dating should be for the purpose of discerning marriage though.


#6

You contradict yourself in this post.

A person discerning a call to religious life or the priesthood should not be dating. This will be most likely be part of the application process and positively part of the psychological exam.

Dating is part of the discernment for marriage.


#7

[quote="ByzCath, post:6, topic:222569"]
You contradict yourself in this post.

A person discerning a call to religious life or the priesthood should not be dating. This will be most likely be part of the application process and positively part of the psychological exam.

Dating is part of the discernment for marriage.

[/quote]

I do not believe you read my post correctly, as I did not contradict myself. When one is discerning God's call, one should be open to all possibilities.


#8

Hi-

I understand what you are going through.

I don't agree with what the others have said -don't date and discern, being selfless and going into the religious life. Yes, we do need more religious, but we also are very in need of holy families so religious can come from those families. You also want to be selfless- try having more than 2 kids in this culture of being married and only having 2 kids:) Yes, giving your life to Christ as a religius is also very selfess.

First, praise the Lord for trying to do His will and for listening to His voice. He will not disappoint you!

I am 24 years old and I was discerning a vocation to the religious life while I was in college. While there, my friend met a guy at church and gave me his name/number/email address. We began to talk, we met up, became friends and eventually started to date. However, I made it very clear to him that I was also thinking about becoming a nun. That was totally fine with him and he was thinking of becoming a priest. By dating and inviting God into our relationship, I believe it helped totally in finding out where God wanted us to be. You see, I could have taken my sweet time going into the religious after I finished college, but God brought this man into my life. I think in your situation, like mine, that God can push life along and what seems to be a more difficult situation now, will be such a blessing in the future. God doesn't make mistakes, and with this guy in your life, he is here for a reason: to be your friend, to lead you to the religious or perhaps to get married to.

Well one weekend I went to visit an order. I told my boyfriend that I really wanted to know what God was calling me to and that come Monday, our relationship could be over. That was so hard to think about because we were falling in love. However, I just had to know if God wanted me to be a wife, a mother, a bearer of His future children or His beloved, doing work a wife cannot do but making a great impact on other's lives.

I went through that weekend and asked God for a sign. "Ask and you shall receive." God made it very clear to me that He wanted me in the married state of life. I was sad and happy at the same time because the religious life was BEAUTIFUL!! But I was listening to God and He wanted me elsewhere.

So now that I knew I was to marry, I asked God if THIS was the man to marry. Just because I was dating him didn't mean he was the one. It is always important to ask the Lord what He wants and where He wants us to be. So we prayed and said novenas and prayed some more. God showed us that my boyfriend was meant to be my husband. Well, we married and a few months later had a little baby boy.

Don't think the married life is a breeze because it isn't. It isn't the "easier" vocation and I loovvee being married. Both vocations take a lot of time, effort and work and God will show you where He wants you.

So to answer your questions:
How do I keep discerning when I am dating? Keep dating. That is not bad to do. If you broke up with him now, how would you know if you are called to the married life? You have to give each vocation a thought. Pray together. Pray as to what your vocation is. Can you see yourself as his wife? Does this man have all the qualities you want in a future spouse? Make sure you are spending some quite time listening to the Lord to see what He has to say.

How to I figure out if I should continue to pursue this relationship or end it? You will know. You will end the relationship when you know you are not called to marry this man. In the mean time, just hang in there and take it day by day.Don't become overly worried about finding an answer NOW. Just relax, give it some time and trust in the Lord that He will show you the way. Also, make sure you are not going into the religious life because you had no men in your life or because you had a bad example of married/family life. My husband was going to be a priest because he was tired of girls and didn't want anymore bad relationships. Make sure you can see yourself as a wife, as a mother AND as a religious. You need ALL of those qualities.

My soul is not content without God, and I mean without constantly being able to love, and serve, and grow in the spirit. No matter your vocation, you will serve the Lord in the best way possible. He will challenge you each day to become a better person in the state of life that He gives you. Don't worry!

I have spent the past 4 years of my life fully invested in discerning, should I at least take the next few months to see if marriage might be my vocation? Yes, of course!!

People give advice all the time and I will give you mine for what it is worth. I have been where you are. I know what you are going through but it won't last forever. God will show you the way. Be careful of people who when hearing you are discerning a vocation, totally talk up one vocation and talk down the other vocation. That is not good because God made both vocations and both are very holy. Once again, hang in there and things will get better. You are on a journey and you are doing all the right things.

ps- I hope you are not being sexually active with this guy because that can cloud your vision. You guys will be in my prayers over your discernment and I hope it goes well!!


#9

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