I really like the dating scene and the freedom to see different women without having to settle down and get married. Is that bad?

I think that you need to take an honest look at your motives. When you enter into these temporary relationships, what is your goal? The natural response may be to say that you date around simply to have a good time. But ask yourself if perhaps these short relationships are a shield for you. Do they cover up a deeper fear that you might not be able to have a lasting relationship? Is this a way to guard yourself from becoming too involved with the demands of love?

We men must have the courage to meet those demands if we intend to hold the heart of a woman. This may be risky and uncomfortable for us, but as C. S. Lewis wrote, “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”[1]

I once read that “young love is a flame; very pretty, very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”[2] If you want to find unquenchable love, you must come to grips with the fact that love is not free. It costs everything, but this total gift of ourselves is precisely what makes us most free. It liberates us from the prison of doing everything for our own sake. Otherwise we will die having learned to love no one but ourselves. In the words of Pope John Paul II, love “draws one out of the shell of individualism and egocentrism.”[3] It sounds paradoxical, but we do not know freedom until we give it away for the sake of love. That is why it exists: so that it can be surrendered. If we live for ourselves, we miss the point of our existence, because we have been created to love as God loves.

In a speech to college men, Pope John Paul II noted that we men have a lack of willingness to give: “We are quite ready to take, or conquer, in terms of enjoyment, profit, gain, and success . . . . Then comes the question of giving, and at this point we hang back, because we are not prepared to give.”[4] Elsewhere, he added, “The person who does not decide to love forever will find it very difficult to really love for even one day.”[5] Therefore, I would challenge you not to invite the interests of a woman unless you are interested in considering her as a possible future spouse.
[1]. C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1960, 1988).
[2]. Parrott, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 41.
[3]. Letter from Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) to Teresa Heydel, December 1956. As quoted by George Weigel, Witness to Hope (New York: Cliff Street Books, 2001), 101.
[4]. Karol Wojtyla, The Way to Christ (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1984), 51.
[5]. John Paul II, homily, “The Love Within Families,” April 8, 1982. As quoted by Christopher West, Good News About Sex and Marriage, (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 2000), 65.

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