To pursue, or to be pursued? That is the question. ‘Tis nobler in the mind to date until your breath is taken, or heart is broken…
Dating – in the man-meets-woman, man-asks-woman-out way**- may sound outdated to those more liberated in their feelings. Instead, people get to know each other by hanging out and never officially declaring their intentions. This is one of the most problematic aspects of modern relationships, as emotional chastity starts to become unglued. Attachments form and intentions become even more muddled.
The phrase “I don’t want to ruin the friendship” starts to get tossed around. But if the parties involved are honest with each other, and emotionally mature enough to handle “I like you, but I’m not interested in dating you” and perhaps even parting of ways, then they are mature enough to proceed into a solid relationship.
Relationships are hard. Not because of the other person involved, but because you have to ask yourself serious questions: Am I comfortable with this person? Do I bring out the best in this person, and they in me? If I am not right for this person, am I willing to not seek to further our relationship for my own wants? Is this a person I can live with, share a common faith with, raise children and grow old together? Is this a person I can face the world with and a person who I can help get to Heaven?
Dating is a common good. It can be beneficial to date many people if you have not found a person whose heart matches yours. But people are lonely. People want to find a person they get along with enough, and settle into a routine of allowing time to cement a bond that should not be formed in the first place.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, do not settle. There are going to be numerous people whom you get along with, who make you laugh, who make you feel good about yourself. They may be friends or classmates or co-workers. You may love their smiles or their outlook on life. But if their heart does not match yours – if they are not drawn to you the same way—be content to continue preparing your heart for the one God has intended for you. It is part of the cross every person takes up in life: “Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
People love Song of Songs because of its beautiful love poetry; but the book is more serious than that. It tells of a man earnestly seeking and praising his love. It tells of a woman searching the streets for her love, imploring the watchmen to tell her where to find him. It orders, no less than three times, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you [by the gazelles and by the does in the field]: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4).
When you meet the one your heart loves, you will not wonder; you will hope. You will be changed for the better, as will your other. Love is possible, and in reach. First, you must sacrifice other comfortable relations. As our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in an address to his fellow German people, “The ways of the Lord are not easy, but we were not created for an easy life, but for great things, for goodness.”
When you meet the right one, you will know how special you are. You will be as valued as you are – even when you don’t feel it at times. This is why, even though it is hard and it is a risk, it is important to cut off ties with a person who holds you back from your potential and the possibility God has in store for you. Time is better spent preparing your heart for what God has in store, than wasting opportunities and wishing another heart matched yours.
**Which is not to say women cannot ask men out – post to follow!