When Dating Is Hard

As a Catholic, I believe that dating is for discerning marriage — for discovering the truth about each other. For deciding whether to choose to love each other until death.

Sometimes, dating is fun. You can go to aquariums together and stuff. There are otters at aquariums. Need I say more? Dating is good. If you pay attention, you learn about God and each other and yourself. Sometimes dating is easy — when you’re laughing, or at Adoration, or noticing a new reason to appreciate him or her.

But sometimes, dating is hard, like when there is conflict. Miscommunication. Insecurity. Distance (all the kinds). Inconsiderate decisions. Resistance to vulnerability.

Humans doing what humans do, given the fall of man.

But what fascinates me — I mean, this truly fascinates me — is that some people who are dating break up when it’s hard, because it’s hard.

Not because it’s bad. Not because it’s abusive. Not because the relationship hurts your relationship with Christ. Not because they don’t like or love each other.

But because it’s hard for a minute (or a day, or a week).

Do you know what that means? It means that we are discerning marriage without considering the vows.

Because when we get married, we promise to be true to each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health — to love and honor each other for all our lives.

Except we (lots of people) will dump the person who dates us because of a bad time. We date in order someday to promise that we won’t walk away when it’s hard, but quickly end quality relationships that provide us with chances to practice that.

Perhaps we should reconsider.


arArleen Spenceley is author of the book Chastity is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin (Ave Maria Press, Nov. 2014). She works as a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times, and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in counseling, both from the University of South Florida. She blogs at Click here to follow her on Twitter, click here to like her on Facebook, and click here to follow her on Instagram.

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