First, there is the question of meeting someone. And if you meet a person you like so much, and maybe they like you too, the bigger questions start to emerge. Our short-term selves may want to be in a relationship, but our long-term selves need to consider the investment dating requires of each of us.
Here are a few questions to consider:
Does this person respect me? My time, my personal space, my body, my beliefs, my family, my feelings?
Does this person make his or her intentions clear? If you are interested in dating said person, are your feelings reciprocated? Do they articulate their feelings? Or do they avoid the subject?
Does this person want the best for me? Can you entertain the idea of both marriage and going your separate ways? Are you both willing to break up if the relationship is not a mutual long-term investment?
Does this person make me want to be a better person? Is your better side brought out in a genuine way, not a fake-it-till-you-make-it-to-the-altar way? Does this person share my values and encourage virtue? Do I want to serve this person in a selfless way, out of love, or do I just need to be with someone?
Does this person communicate well with me? Can you talk about the silly and the serious? Are you able to have the hard conversations without arguing? Is there a mutual respect of time and eagerness for each other’s company?
Will this person help me get to Heaven? Spouses are ultimately tied together for the glory of God within their vocation of marriage. Will you support each other in frequenting the sacraments, Mass participation, on-going catechesis, daily prayer, a willingness to share in spiritualities, following Church teachings, and love even when you do not feel like it?
Will this person be a good spouse and potential parent? Will this person honor and love you and be true? Will he or she raise your children in a way you both agree to love, educate and discipline?
Can I accept this person’s past? Prior relationships and decisions may be behind the person, but they still contributed to the type of person they are, and perhaps act as motivation for who they are at present.
Am I myself with this person? This is a question which is, often times, best answered by family and friends; they know you, and they know different sides of you. They are usually the best judges as to whether you are comfortably yourself with your significant other. Drastic changes, verses subtle changes, can often be a red flag.
Am I at peace with this person? The best part of dating my husband was the absolute peace of knowing where I stood with him, knowing that we liked each other, knowing that we were both moving towards the same goals, knowing we were being honest with each other, and not playing the back-and-forth game. Our relationship felt “right”; our discussions and time spent together confirmed its goodness. There was a purpose to our relationship, and a reason.Ultimately, we were dating to see if the rest our life would be better because of the love, commitment and companionship of this person.
Dating is hard, but it does not have to be. The “right” person does not torment you with whys, and whens, and what-is-this. Moreover, dear reader, it is hope that brings about new relationships when old ones are gone, and joy as attraction. It is not weight or trendiness or being “the best” – it is positivity, the enjoyment of one’s life, a love of the Lord, and trusting that our vocation will continue to bear fruit in whatever season of life we are enjoying.