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Hey guys, I'm currently a college student who is fairly new to Traditional Catholicism; born-and-raised Catholic, but only even heard about Traditional Catholicism several months ago. Most questions that I have thought I have graciously been able to find answers to on Fish Eaters and on other trad sites (as well as from a few of the people I've met at my nearby diocesan TLM).

Anyway, one thing I have not seen much information on is Catholic dating/courtship. What are the general guidelines? How soon should one be prepared to be married before starting? Since I'm in college at the moment and am likely to be moving elsewhere in a couple years, marriage is kind of out of the question until I have a more stable situation, but I'm fine not beginning to court/date for a little while. Anywho, I just wanted to hear some of y'all's opinions, insights, etc. on this process.
In my opinion, you should not date seriously until you are about a year or so away from being able to support a family.  If you are a junior in college, that is a good time to start seriously looking around.  I wouldn't worry too much about moving.  If you find someone in school and get married shortly after, you should both have a lot of flexibility about where you will be living.
n/m
Be chaste.  You know the guidelines for individual acts.  

If you are known to yourself as a repeat offender in certain situations or you find that certain situations are a source of temptation, don't put yourself at risk.

Otherwise, the proximity to marriage will vary by circumstances.  Obviously it only took St. Therese of Liseaux's parents three months to decide to marry.  On the opposite extreme, many good and faithful couples take years, or must delay their union for extraneous reasons.  Courtship is ultimately the formation of a friendship between two people, and a path by which they pursue an initial inclination towards one another to see how deep it goes and to discover whether it is God's will that it should be marriage. 

You get lots of moralists, concerned primarily with courtship as an occasion to sin, that set an arbitrary limit of six months or so.  A manual written by a Carthusian of Miraflores (yes, pre-Conciliar) recommends no *less* than two years for discerning such an important decision.  I tend to agree with the latter: it should be done patiently and with care, as unhurriedly as possible.  God speaks to the soul in a tranquil season, not in a fit of passion.  

I would say: don't date for dating's sake, but rather in order to meet and come to know a particular person better.  After all, the real discernment for the religious life is done with a particular house in mind, and is lived as a partial member of that community.  The novitiate to marriage cannot be to marriage as such, but must be to marriage to a particular individual. 

The first few dates are kind of like making visits to the religious house, a few days in to test the waters, a more committed relationship like a postulancy, an exclusive relationship a novitiate, the engagement simple vows, and the marriage itself a solemn profession.

Remember always: it's a friendship, not a fling.

Sin is an individual act, not a duration of time, and if care is taken in each individual act of the courtship to avoid occasions of sin, there is no reason the courtship as a whole should be dangerous.
Quote:A manual written by a Carthusian of Miraflores (yes, pre-Conciliar) recommends no *less* than two years for discerning such an important decision.

Are there any other manuals which recommend this?
Quote:Are there any other manuals which recommend this?

Omnino ignoro, but both of my spiritual directors have.  The advice I have given is substantially the advice I have received.

I know that a friend of mine, who is of Spanish descent, tells me that the traditional period of courtship in that culture is much longer (something like six or seven years for his grandfather).  Granted, it is also traditional for the brothers of the young lady to make the suitor's life a living hell during that whole period.  :-)
(06-18-2012, 03:25 PM)NihilNominis Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:Are there any other manuals which recommend this?

Omnino ignoro, but both of my spiritual directors have.  The advice I have given is substantially the advice I have received.

I know that a friend of mine, who is of Spanish descent, tells me that the traditional period of courtship in that culture is much longer (something like six or seven years for his grandfather).  Granted, it is also traditional for the brothers of the young lady to make the suitor's life a living hell during that whole period.  :-)

I can see how long courtships could work in a culture that never leaves an unmarried woman alone with a man.  In our culture, I think they are an occasion of sin and ought to be avoided.
These are always fun threads.

You should go on dates, I think.  Nothing super formal or super casual, but you shouldn't be a hermit in terms of women.  If you've discerned the religious life isn't for you, then get out there and meet women.  God won't drop the young lady in your lap.  He doesn't do that.  You need to be proactive.  

But, also make sure you are "OK" to do so as well.  Make sure you are living a fulfilling and enjoyable and God-filled life.  Don't sit at home all day derping on the computer or stuff.  Have a fun social life with hobbies and activities and friends.  

If you come across girls you meet and you think they're cute and interesting, grab a coffee with them and see where things go.  Otherwise, how will you woo the young lady you'll eventually come to marry?  

As to marriage-readiness, I think that's up to the person for deciding with his spiritual director/confessor.  I would say if you're succeeding in school (or in school and on-track to finish), then feel free to date.  No one gets married in less than a year, so, that'd be silly, I think.  

And, I can't stress this one enough:
Don't rely solely on Internet forum advice.  With no offense to my previous posters, the responders are all single males (I think?  and, myself included).  The best place you can get relationship advice, I think, is from married trads and a traddy priest who isn't a kook.  So, if you ever get comfortable enough with some married folks (old or young) at the traddy chapel you frequent, ask them some advice.  

:)

Oh, don't forget prayer.  It's kinda a biggie.
(06-18-2012, 05:25 PM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: [ -> ]Don't rely solely on Internet forum advice.  With no offense to my previous posters, the responders are all single males (I think?  and, myself included).  

:O  For the record I am an old married lady .  Two of my children are married and I have grandchildren.  :grandma:
(06-18-2012, 03:05 PM)cgraye Wrote: [ -> ]In my opinion, you should not date seriously until you are about a year or so away from being able to support a family.  If you are a junior in college, that is a good time to start seriously looking around.  I wouldn't worry too much about moving.  If you find someone in school and get married shortly after, you should both have a lot of flexibility about where you will be living.

This is all good advice.
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