I was 12 years old the first time a guy used the excuse of being “sick” to avoid going to Mass with me. Sadly, that was not an isolated event and I quickly learned that while I may enjoy my faith, the guys I found myself involved with didn’t seem to feel the same way. So, for a time, I joined the ranks of women who lived their faith in a life of quiet desperation.
So what do you do when you have feelings for him: He’s handsome, he cares about you, he gets along with your crazy family, BUT… he doesn’t share your faith. When the whole “flirt to convert” thing doesn’t work out: Many women find themselves in this tricky situation and are torn between their heart and their conscience. Having previously been in and witnessed many relationships like this, I think there are two possible ways to work with them: either you need to work things out in a way that will benefit both of your journeys to God, or you need to break it off for the time being, if not permanently.
That may sound like a very black and white way to look at a situation where feelings are involved, but I would like to propose a certain way of looking at it: Dating relationships are for getting to know another person on a more intimate level and will either end in a break-up or a wedding. If you are planning on eventually breaking up with the person you are dating, there is no point in prolonging your relationship. However, if you are in your relationship with the hope of a long future, there are certain things to keep in mind.
The first question you might ask yourself is: is he striving for the same things that are meaningful to me? Being in a relationship with someone is all about helping one another along the path of life and eventually Heaven. If your faith means a lot to you, you will want to grow in it and become the best person that you can. You should ask yourself: Does he help me with this or does he hold me back?
In the book of Corinthians, St. Paul says “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). This is not to say that your boyfriend is “wicked” or in “darkness” but think about what St. Paul is saying. Is your guy pulling his weight when it comes to virtue or is he holding you back?
I know there are wonderful people who are not practicing Catholics. I’m not saying that these people are bad, but you may want to take a second look and make sure that those unshared morals do not equal uneven morals. If you are working towards a pure and chaste relationship, you know how hard that can be. When the other person in the relationship is not reaching for that same goals and you have no one to hold you accountable, it becomes easier to fall into sin.
Whether you are in a relationship like the one described above or not, I encourage you to continuously pray for your future calling whether it be to marriage, religious, or single life. Pray that you may always do Gods will in order to bring His perfect plan for your life to fulfillment. God has a plan for you. His plan will bring true happiness and peace. Do not lose hope and do not settle for anything less than the love that will get you to heaven one day. So on that glorious day when you stand in front of the throne of God and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much, Enter the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21) you can look to that special person who helped you get there and thank him.
I am praying for you now and always as you seek holy relationships.
God loves you so much and so do I.
Rebekah Hardy lives in New Jersey and is currently a Junior at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland where she majors in Theology and Education. She is the vice president of the SGA executive board for her university, is a retreat leader for Campus Ministry, and is a FOCUS student leader. She enjoys playing sports, praying the Rosary, and drinking all different kinds of coffee. Her blog can be found at catholiclifesite.wordpress.com The Facebook page for her blog is www.facebook.com/ClassyCatholic and her twitter handle is @bekahhardy7.