Guidelines regarding relationships

I have my first girlfriend and oddly she looks to me for spiritual guidance even though I’m not even Catholic yet, she considers me more Catholic than she is even though she was baptised as a child and had strict Catholic parents.

My question is “What is okay and not okay in a Catholic relationship?”
Sex before marriage is obviously the one I know about but what about other things?
Kissing, holding hands, laying in the same bed. I consider everything but having sex acceptable.

And another question is “If we decided we love one another, how do I go about engagement and marriage, as a Catholic?”
We should not live together before marriage, right? I think I heard that before, but would like confirmation. How long until I should propose, if I decide I like her that way?

Rule of thumb. Don’t do anything you would not do in front of your mother.

Thanks, that’s good advice.

You got a good head on your shoulders, and congratulations for joining the Church. :slight_smile:

That’s great that your girlfriend is looking to you for spiritual advice. The earlier in your relationship that you can make a habit of doing things together like praying, going to church and exploring the faith, the better and stronger your relationship may be. That’s a wonderful foundation!

Check out a book called, “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West. Theology of the Body for Teens is also another good book; I know it says ‘teen’ but it breaks things down compared to the heavy academic writings.

It’s not necessarily explicitly just sex that has to wait until marriage but also things like petting and getting hot and heavy (which are mortal sins). Simple kisses, hugs, holding hands are ok. A good way to think of it is “how far would we go if our parents or grandparents were watching.” Unfortunately many folks think (as I used to) that everything BUT sex is ok as no one really explained things to us.

Going to frequent confession is helpful (you get many graces as well as learn about yourself, habits, etc.), as is having an accountability partner such as a friend or someone at church who can encourage you. Take advantage of the sacraments.

Living together, spending the night, sleeping in the same bed, taking trips where you would be in the same room while sleeping, etc. isn’t a wise direction to go as it could lead to sex or petting and sets a bad example for others. Same thing if you place yourself in a tempting situation- it’s easier if things aren’t set up to allow things to get out of hand quickly.

Sex and petting are ok, just within the context of marriage. Just remember, it may be challenging but it’s worth it in the end! :thumbsup:

Regarding proposing- communication and prayer are the keys, you’ll both know when it’s the right time. Your priest will let you know about marriage preparation requirements, such as a weekend retreat, evening classes or a mentor couple. It’s good if you both have a rapport with him (start saying hi after Mass, send an occasional email, ask if he wants to go to eat sometime with the two of you), so you can have a good friendship/resource and get the most out of the marriage prep process.

Nothing sexual below the neck is a good rule of Chasity.
Don’t live together cohabitation should be for married couples and it actually makes divorce more likely.
Just engage the normal way then tell the priest you want to get married.
You will have to wait for six months and attend classes so you can be educated. (it sucks but it helps)
Laying in the same bed is fine but sleeping in the same bed should be avoid.
Of course this is coming from a seminarian who is discerning to live a life celibacy.

It’s a long-distance relationship so living together isn’t likely. Do you mean months of classes on marriage?

Kissing and hand holding is okay, but if the kissing moves more into the making out realm, it’s time to cool the engines. Co-habitation is wrong…laying in the same bed to sleep isn’t okay, but if you’re both sort of laying/sitting on a bed to watch a movie/talk, that’s alright. Basically, if you wouldn’t mind your parents walking in on you, you’re probably in the clear.

Well even if you don’t attend the classes the idle waiting period for once you are engaged is six months. At least here in the USA

Check out the website, in particular the section for Dating & Engaged. It’s a great resource by the U.S. Bishops about marriage for Catholics. Dating for Catholics is much the same as secular people with the big exception being staying chaste (no sex outside of marriage). Another difference is after engagement you have to do marriage preparation before you participate in the Sacrament of Marriage. This can include discussion of major issues like Natural Family Planning, raising children, and finances. Many of these can cause major division after marriage if the couple is not on the same page beforehand. Marriage is a lifelong decision, so you have to be completely ready before getting married.

Great advice !

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