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Sharing Your Faith From Afar

December 7, AD 2011 5 Comments

Like an increasing number of young adult couples, I’m in a long distance relationship. Although there are many unique challenges and joys of dating from afar, one of the more interesting hurdles is how to share our faith with one another. Sometimes, opportunities present themselves. When I was in RCIA, my boyfriend (who was also my sponsor) frequently drove up to sit in on my sessions, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations those shared experiences sparked. And of course, on the weekends we have together, going to Mass is a must.

But for all of these joyful times we share, there are many missed moments: dropping by adoration, shared service work, and so on. Although God should be at the center of every relationship, it can seem daunting when traditional avenues (like attending Mass together) aren’t available.

How can you work to be more connected with your significant other regarding faith?

My favorite way is sharing a book that relates to Catholicism in some way. Our tradition started innocently enough. While I was in RCIA, we thought it would be good for us to work through the Bible in a year so we were both on the same page. We decided to continue the tradition this year with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was a much shorter read. Many people do both books in a single year! As we’re gearing up for our third round at the beginning of 2012, we’re looking at starting with Rediscover Catholicism, and then moving through a few other books to finish out the year.

One of the perks of reading a common book is that it allows the two of you to work through the book independently, according to your own schedule, possibly with certain milestones (we try to have a weekly goal to stay close together). At the same time, when you do have an opportunity to chat or meet up, your book provides an easy starting point for working through your faith. Not only do you both get thoroughly catechized, but you also have an opportunity to grow together, both in your joint understanding of Catholicism, as well as your understanding of how your significant other views and lives out their faith. While we don’t make a point to discuss every aspect of whatever we’re reading, even just knowing that we’re reading the same book makes the distance seem smaller.

What ways do you find to share your faith with your significant other, regardless of whether you are long distance or not?

Filed in: Columnists, Dating

About the Author:

Allie Terrell is a 2010 convert to Catholicism after dabbling in a few different trains of religious thought. She graduated from Rose-Hulman in 2009 with a degree in computer science, and is now pursuing her doctorate in the hopes of teaching some day. When she can spare a few hours, Allie likes to visit religious sites and work on her photography. She blogs about her journeys at Here Is The Church.
  • That’s a good idea Allie! My boyfriend and I are about two hours apart, so we usually spend our weekends together. This means we have Mass together on Sunday, which is really special. I’d like us to get better at praying together at night, which will be my 2011 year goal. In terms of books… he’s in med school right now, so I would feel terrible loading him up with more reading. We already have open conversations about faith, though, and the first couple months of our relationship was a lot of deep questioning and discussion about Catholicism (we’re both cradle). I know this is definitely an area we need to strengthen, and I like your ideas! Thanks for this!

  • Yes, you definitely have to make a point to do spiritual things together when you are long distance! Thanks for pointing that out. The Beau and I often pray together at the end of our nightly Skype conversations, but sometimes we are just too tired/lazy. Julie, I totally know what you mean about having too many books to read. I keep meaning to email him passages I like from “Love and Responsibility” so he gets the Cliffnotes version. We do forward each other Catholic blog posts and news articles on a daily basis, which is fun. We also compare notes about favorite hymns etc. – one of his Advent chant albums is now on my MO3 player.

  • Sarah, I email my boyfriend blog posts and snippets all the time! I haven’t been as good about it in the past few months (probably reflecting my lack of blog reading ^_^), but I suppose that means we’re getting more work done. And it’s so wonderful that you and Julie both pray with your boyfriends nightly (or try!). We don’t do nightly phone/Skype, but we try to make an effort when we’re together.

  • My boyfriend and I read/Skype a chapter of Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri, which is a commentary on JP II’s Love and Responsibility, every Sunday night when possible. We’ve been trying to read and pray the Magnificat Advent companion every night. We also discuss faith groups, events, and talks that we attend.

    Thanks for bringing up long distance dating! Praying for everyone! It’s tough!

  • Bob Waruszewski

    My girfriend and I exchange Bible Verses in love letters that relate to a particular theme such as faith, hope, patience or love. After about 10 to 12 verses of one theme, we then move on to a different one.