How to become a better catholic and applying it to dating

Hello,

Im new here so I’m not really sure where to start

I am a 19 year old female who attends a Jesuit Catholic University

My family is catholic and I was raised catholic

My boyfriend of 8 months is 19 years old and he too attends the same university as me.

However, he is much stronger in his faith than I am and here is where our problem arises

So recently my boyfriend has been acting distant towards me and I questioned him about it today.

as we were discussing what we want in a relationship and what was bothering us, he told me that he wants someone who he can share his ‘spiritual’ beliefs with .

he went on a retreat with our school this past weekend and he was re evaluating what he wants from life and our relationship and this was something that has been bothering him

My question is, I dont really know how to go about this. How do I myself, be more spiritual? Because I have my beliefs and I am strong in my faith, but its not something that I necessarily discuss with anyone.

Or more so, I don’t know how to discuss this and he feels that because of this, this is something that sets us apart.

And I’m really happy with him and this is and this is something I want to work on, but im not sure how…

He is someone that I can see myself with in the future and I don’t want our relationship to fall apart

What would you suggest?

I would keep talking to him. What are his expectations? Are they things that you’d be happy with? What are your expectations? Can you work things out so you’ll both be happy?

Beyond that I’m not sure what to say. I’m not sure in what ways he is more religious or what he feels is lacking, but I do think it’s important that you both communicate clearly to each other what you need and what either or both of you see as problems.

I will be praying for both of you! God bless.

I agree with the previous poster. Ask him for specifics. Wanting to be “more spiritual” or “sharing spiritual things” is a very broad statement; it may mean anything from his wanting you to pray the Rosary together, to attending a charismatic retreat and being willing to “speak in tongues”. Take the opportunity to discuss your own beliefs with him a bit more openly.

Also, don’t put yourself down too much. “More spirituality” does not necessarily mean “better spirituality”. If there’s something that he’s “into”, but that you feel uncomfortable with, be ready to speak up, honestly and charitably.

Finally, remember your ages: the fervours of a man of 19 are going to be quite different when he is 29 or 39, so don’t see this as a permanent wedge between the two of you.

My prayers are with you both. :slight_smile:

He can seek what he thinks would make him happier in a relationship; so can you.

I’m not sure of any of your specific details (and you don’t need to share them) but the spiritual path is very individual.

My aunt had no religious upbringing, she married a go-to- mass-on-Sunday-only Catholic, and 15 years later, my mom eventually converted her to Catholicism. She then became a very active Catholic, catechism teacher, social activist and advocate for the poor while her husband remained a go-to-church-on-Sunday believer. It was not until he was 65 that he began to change spiritually and deepen his faith.

I also know of people who marry outside of their faith, or non-believers who have successful marriages.

But in general, when two people are not in agreement about allowing each other their spiritual path, or not in agreement about their faith, or not in agreement about how their children’s religious/spiritual life will be regarded, the chance of a marriage failure is increased.

I’m curious what your spiritual path is, how you nurture your own faith, how your and his family religious backgrounds differ, how he respects you on your own path, how you see his spiritual journey.

Looking backwards from what tears apart a marriage, it’s good to see these details at the beginning of a relationship before you get too close and can’t see straight.

Maybe go to mass with him every Sunday, say the rosary with him once a week. I’m sure these small things would make him change his mind.
There is always going to be someone who would know more then the other in the faith oir more deep in there faith. He should be happy to at least be with a chatholic

^^^This is great advice!!!

Spirituality is not designed to “Paralle” each other. There will be times when they cross and times move away, and times move closer … Ebbing & flowing like the ocean. “Dating” sometimes allows you to discern if you can take a small sample of the ebbs & flows.

It sounds like “He’s just not that into you” and may be realizing spirituality as what he is weak in; not you. This could mean a whole host of things like he feels called to be a priest, deacon, or have a deeper desire to strenghten his faith before he feels ready to give more than he receives. Giving more than receiving is what makes a relationship more spiritual.

This is a great question. I have recently reentered dating after a decree of nullity and been discouraged. I would say ask him what spiritual practices he may want to do together. If you do not get a positive response, back off and give him his space.

I agree with what others have said in that I would really encourage you to ask him what he has in mind when he says “sharing his spiritual beliefs.”

This could be a great opportunity for you to grow both in your relationship and individually by going to mass together, volunteering together, praying together, whatever you choose. Perhaps he has some ideas as to what he would like to do. If you are open to those things and doing them with him that is an indicator to him that you want to take your faith seriously as well as an indicator that you care about him, care about your relationship, and care about his desire to grow in his own spirituality.

I’ll be saying prayers for you both. :slight_smile:

What was the retreat that he went on? It matters.

I guess to answer one of the first questions,

My boyfriend prays the rosary daily, goes to confession once a week, goes to mass every week, goes to adoration, reads the bible nightly is a leader for a spiritual group on campus, leader of the respect for life group etc part of the church choir, etc,

Though I go to church weekly and i am involved with these groups and volunteer activities, i mostly pray to myself and don’t discuss my faith openly like he does. I feel that compared to him, I am not as religious. I don’t read the bible, Im more private about it and he said that this is something he wants us to share

because he said if we cant share our faith, then he doesnt believe that this relationship will lead to marriage and may not be worth pursuing if we cant work out or differences.

and its not that i dont agree with what he believes in, i just dont know how to talk about our religion on a level like he does

without a doubt my children will be raised catholic.but sigh, :frowning:

I did do stations of the cross during the time of lent with him which I think he appreciated.

we do go to church weekly, but we’re both in the choir so i dont necessarily pray with him

But i dont know how to pray the rosary, i dont read the bible, i dont know much about the ‘catholic teaching’ aside from what I was taught at home and what I learned from CCD.

We’re both biology majors so spending time with one another is difficult sometimes.

The retreat he went on was called “Search”

Which entails:

“upperclassmen students to
reflect on their lives and come
to a deeper understanding of
themselves and explore where
they have encountered God on
the road of life. Students will
be given the chance to reflect
upon their relationship with
God and how in turn this
relationship impacts others”

and coming back from this, this is where he has been distant.

I asked my aunt about this who’s a very devout catholic and she suggested

this

"You can begin growing in your faith by going to adoration. That is a palace where it is just you and Jesus. There is a very small prayer book by Father Grochel for adoration to get you started. Itnis available on Amazon for $6 “Praying In The Presence Of Our Lord: Prayers For Eucharistic Adoration [Paperback]”
After you get used to doing this you can read random passages from The Bible, Saint Biographies,etc. Adoration is what is says. It is a way to adore Jesus thank Him for all that you have. You are rewarded with answers. In the silence, answers to questions you are asking your self just come to you. It may take some time, but it works

I know you do not have a lot of time, but sitting next to someone who has taken the time to adore his Lord with him, will get through to Gabe. Especially if you take it seriously."

Thanks for the further information.

I actually am going to warn you against trying to hard to “match up” to Gabe. He may not be a good candidate for marriage right now, as he strikes me as someone who might be quite rigid in his zeal. Perhaps he is feeling more of a call to the vocation of priesthood? As I read your original post, I think that might be the answer, more than that he is thinking YOU are lacking - it may be that HE is feeling a call into a vocation.

Do not add spiritual practices to impress anyone. Do it because God is calling you into a deeper relationship with Him, for His sake, not for any individual’s approval. Right now it may seem like Gabe is above you on a spiritual level, but trust me, he’s not. And you do not want this imbalance between you to continue into marriage. Based on his zeal, I would say that anyone who doesn’t match him or top him may not meet his pre-set qualifications for a wife. I’d be worried he’d always be pushing you spiritually. Not leading, but pushing.

If he doesn’t think you’re “good enough” as you are RIGHT NOW, then let him go.

I agree. It seems very immature to me that he expects you to do every single thing that he does. It’s great that he’s so passionate about his faith, but not everyone is called to do exactly the same things, and he should appreciate that you two do have the same faith and that you both take your faith seriously. It isn’t easy to find a good Catholic spouse and it seems unreasonably nitpicky to me to require that your spouse be into exactly the same devotions as you are.

Anyway, I’d keep talking to him, but I think, from what you wrote irishgirl21, that he may not be grown-up enough for marriage.

I’m sorry he’s causing you so much hurt and anxiety, though. It doesn’t sound like you have anything to feel bad about as a Catholic. You’re living your faith. That should be enough.

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