Meet the Parents

Meet The Parents

Back in “5½ Soul-Crushing Traps To Avoid While Dating” I wrote about selfishness. I’d like to think that article cured the world of it’s selfishness, and we’re one hundred per cent selfless now. But I know that’s not true. I struggle with selfishness every day, and you probably do, too.

So we have to keep working on it. And one sure-fire way of getting over selfishness is learning to think about the other before yourself. When we do this, we will make better decisions together and likewise grow better ourselves.

Marriage teaches us how to get out of the way, to lay down our life for our spouse. And dating is where we discern whether this is the person we’re called to do that for.

But it has to start now. You have to start learning selflessness while you’re dating, because it isn’t just magically going to happen when you get married.

So where do we go for a crash course in selfless dating?

Allow me to introduce you to the perfect instructor––Mother Mary, and her most chaste spouse Joseph.

What do Mary and Joseph have to do with dating? I mean, maybe Joseph took her to the movies, but we sure don’t read about it in the Gospel.

Remember the story of the Annunciation? The angel appeared to Mary, and she said the most important words in human history: “be it done to me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38.)

Mary said yes to God. Joseph did, too. And that’s where we’re going to begin:

Learn To Say Yes To God—Together.

The words Mary spoke to the waiters at the Wedding Feast at Cana are meant for your relationship as well, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5.)

Truthfully, if we learned that one lesson, we could probably stop right there. Do whatever Jesus tells you, and you’re relationship is set. 

Saying yes to God is the main highway out of selfishness and the key to a happy relationship. God wants the absolute best for the both of you, and he’s the only one who can give it to you. When an angel told Joseph in a dream that Mary’s child was of the Holy Spirit, Joseph understood that he needed to let God lead, not try to figure everything out for himself.

You need to do what Jesus tells you (see the Bible and listen to the Church for instructions), and apply it to who and how you date. There really is no better way.

Learn From Mary’s Virginity.

We can learn a lot about dating from Mary’s virginity.

Hold on, I know what you’re thinking. If this really is the right person for me, and we do get married, we’re not going to be virgins very long.

You’re right, but Mary’s virginity doesn’t just mean she knew no man. (Luke 1:34.) Her virginity is about even more than that. Mary’s perpetual virginity is about being consumed with God—which is what heaven is like. Whether we’re married now or not, Mary’s pure God-centered celibacy is how we’ll all be in heaven. Joseph saw that, and he wanted nothing more than to protect it. His family life was a taste of heaven.

And that taste of heaven is what we all want from our family life, isn’t it? That’s why my wife and I have a large image of Mary hanging over our bed and a statue of Joseph by our side: because they teach us to seek God first if we’re going to have a happy relationship. 

Learn The True Meaning Of Joy.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” (Luke 1:46.) Does your soul do that?

Does your relationship do that?

You’re probably smart enough to know that what the world thinks of as “fun” isn’t permanent or worthwhile. We’re not talking about endless parties and expensive vacations. We’re talking about the kind of relationship filled with joy. It’s filled with joy because you’ve invited God in––not left him out on the fringes where you only think of him on Sunday mornings.

As I’ve said before, dating is the spiritual boot camp for marriage. But you have to choose your instructor. Reality TV and tabloid magazines want to teach you what love is like, but they’re wrong. Not because I say so, but because the evidence shows it. Follow Mary and Joseph. They’ll show you the way to happiness now—and for the rest of eternity.


Jon OriginalJon Leonetti is an international Catholic speaker, author and radio host who conveys a message of lasting fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Jon desires to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus and help others do the same through prayer, the Sacraments, family life, Mary and the saints. Engaging Catholics in all walks of life, Jon’s keynote presentations and Surge of the Heart Parish Mission continues to help thousands of Catholics each year discover the freedom Christ offers by way of His life and love. Learn more about Jon at



  1. Thanks Jon!
    This was a to-the-point article I enjoyed reading. I especially enjoyed the part f Mary being consumed with God that Joseph wanted to protect that. I wanna be like that. I try to find the little joys of life everywhere and even during the busiest times of the day, I’ll go into my inner heart and say hello to Jesus. He is awesome! Thanks again!

    By Colleen | 6 years ago Reply
  2. Loved this article. Thank you. God Bless you. Prayers for your ministry. Do whatever he tells you is a challenging yet perfect way to approach marriage. We need this provocative ideology to consume the way we orient our hearts towards God and our vocation.

    By Kate | 6 years ago Reply
  3. Jon, I love everything you’ve said in this post, but my favorite line is when you said, “Dating is a spiritual boot camp for marriage.” I love that line, but the sad part is many people don’t think of it that way. I have friends who haven’t even been dating a year and they are already planning their wedding day. To put it metaphorically, its like they do a few push-ups and a few sit-ups and they call it good. How can that be changed?

    By Andrew Lind | 6 years ago Reply
    • Seriously, encourage your friends to pick up a good Catholic marriage book or two and start REALLY working on their relationship. Boot camp isn’t much good if there’s no direction from a drill sergeant. They might be considering marriage because there doesn’t seem to them to be anything else to work on.

      Something else that has proved helpful is finding a list of questions to ask one another (there’s a TON of these online…though not all of them are clean; discern which to use wisely, but choose one with a variety of types of questions). It provides a guide for talking about areas that may not otherwise come up.

      Of course, both of these assume that the person using them is treating dating as real discernment and preparation for marriage.

      God Bless!!

      By GiannaT | 6 years ago Reply
  4. thank you! im engaged and you really helped me put my relationship in perspective and it all makes sense now…. thank you.

    By liz | 6 years ago Reply

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