A few years ago, while still in middle school, I attended the wedding of two family friends, Tony and Amy. This wedding has stayed in my memory above all the others I have witnessed in my life of twenty years.
While the bride was beautiful, the dress was perfect, and the groom was handsome, it was not the aesthetics of the wedding that made it unforgettable. Tony and Amy had decided to save their first kiss for their wedding day. When Tony wrapped his strong arms around his bride and their lips met, all in the audience could undeniably see the testimony that waiting brings to a marriage. Their kiss was one of love and deep, tender meaning, not a formality to simply state that they were now married.
It is certainly not my job to say that all couples should model their relationships after Tony and Amy’s. However, there are some great things to keep in mind, whether dating or not.
Revitalize your prayer life.
Foster a robust, open and honest prayer life. It is only through communicating with our Heavenly Father that we will have a clear idea about who to peruse in a relationship and how to go about perusing. If we do not have a strong, intimate relationship with Our Lord, there will be no solid foundation on which to build our relationship with our spouse, the most important earthly relationship.
Discern your vocation.
It is extremely important to realize that for every single person on this planet, there are really only two options in regards to relationship possibilities. If we follow God’s plan for love and marriage, we will either 1) marry the spouse who has been created by our Heavenly Father as our match, or 2) for those who are called to single or religious life, have Christ as our spouse. At first glance, this may seem like a drastically limited span of choices. However, the fact is that this divine design by God is meant to aid us in building lasting love relationships that will fulfill us beyond imagination—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Look at others with the right perspective.
Guys, the girl you are dating right now may not end up being your wife. Structure your relationship so that you will not regret what you have done in previous relationships when you stand on an altar one day, exchanging vows of marriage with the love of your life. It’s the same for us gals. Treat your guy-friends and boyfriends as someone else’s husband, because, let’s face it, they probably are! We all know of great friendships that have fallen apart because intentions weren’t clear and these guy/girl “friendships” became all about physical attraction.
Guys and girls: discern if you are even supposed to be in a relationship at the moment. Christ wants to be our best friend, and he will never fail us in showing how to handle relationships. He wants us to thrive, and His will never leads astray.
Have an eternal perspective.
The Church teaches us that one of the greatest purposes of marriage is leading one another to heaven. Marriage is truly a journey of sanctification. What better reason is there to wait with purpose? You have the opportunity to help lead to heaven the person you love more than anyone in the world. How beautiful!
St. John Chrysostom, a Doctor of the Church who was a lector, priest, and bishop of Constantinople, once said that husbands should tell the below to their wives.
“I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us…. I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.”
This intimacy & love that St. John speaks of cannot be experienced without the virtue of waiting. Tony and Amy certainly shared this love, a love that is born out of waiting. I pray you experience the same!
Rachel del Guidice is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville working towards a major in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism. This year, she is working as the Public Relations director of Franciscan University’s Students for Life club and also writes for The Troubadour, FUS’s student newspaper. She loves God, family, old and new friends and ice cream (in that order!). Connect with her on Twitter at @LRacheldG.