2017-02_LT-DatingFasting

Blog/Dating/My Relationships/Sex and Chastity

Fasting With my Boyfriend And Learning About God

“Fasting. I don’t like the idea of it. What is the point of it? I think I am holy enough without doing it. I fast at times when the Church says I need to. Do I really need to do anymore than that? Nah. I’m holy enough. I’m good.”

That is how I used to view fasting.

However, lately I have come to appreciate the importance of fasting. Recently my boyfriend and myself began fasting together. It was something that had come up in his and my prayer separately and so we decided to fast together. I know it had to have come from God because as I said previously, I was not a huge fan of fasting.

We began doing this and I really started to appreciate fasting and it became easier in the sense that I saw the reason why I was doing it and there was so much purpose behind it. I have already seen that fasting has affected these two things (along with many other things) in my life:

  1. My relationship with my boyfriend
  2. More importantly my relationship with God

Fasting and virtue

With the relationship between my boyfriend and me, I notice so much of a difference in my and his relationship than other relationships and I believe a large part of that is because of fasting.

Fasting has taught me self-control and discipline. It has allowed me to grow by being able to say no to something I desire for a greater good, the glory of God. Fasting has become a powerful prayer for me in my relationship.

What I have learned in dating and in hearing experiences from my friends is that it is so important to have self-control and self discipline in order to practice the virtue of chastity among with many other things. I am not saying that fasting magically gives someone chastity. The catechism talks about how God does not simply desire these exterior penances, but He desires a conversion of heart.

Reverend T. G. Morrow says in his book Christian Courtship in an Oversexed World that mastering the virtue of chastity is not simply saying no to the sexual desires, but also having your heart and mind converted together, so that reason takes over one’s desires.

Fasting and prayer

Like I have said, fasting obviously helps one learn the discipline of self-control and being able to say “no” for a higher good. In addition to that, I believe that understanding the purpose of fasting and making fasting a prayer is what truly has converted my heart.

I now know the reason I fast is so I can give glory to God by giving Him this little thing I desire. I now attempt to make fasting a prayer. Now every time I have to reject something and fast from it I make it a prayer. When I used to fast, I would do it and oftentimes my heart would not be in it, nor would it be converted. This is of little purpose in comparison to fasting for God and desiring Him to sanctify you through the rejection of something you desire.

A conversion of heart

In the same way chastity does not just require discipline, it also requires a conversion of heart. If fasting is simply a discipline it is a good that is learned but so much more fruit can be born of it when it is turned into a prayer. “Prayer with fasting is good” (Tobit 12:8).

The discipline I learned in fasting has allowed me to remain disciplined in prayer. This is how you convert the heart. Prayer and fasting will have its purpose.

Embracing sacrifice

The whole purpose of being in a relationship with a person is to discern marriage with them. Marriage, relationships, community, and simply life require sacrifices. Fasting is a small way of saying, “God here is a little sacrifice so that you may sanctify me.” Some examples of fasting can be meat, a cupcake, gluten, TV, social media, secular music, going out to eat, staying up super late, or a million other things. You will not be able to sacrifice in the big things, if you cannot give up the little ones.

I have found that fasting is so much easier with someone to do it with — with someone to keep you accountable for it. It does not matter if it is a mom, a dad, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a friend. I am fasting with someone for something.

I personally am fasting with my boyfriend for the intention that our relationship may give glory to God. I have someone supporting me through it and keeping me accountable as well as I have an intention behind the fasting. If fasting is hard for you I suggest you fast with a specific intention and if you are bad at fasting ask a close friend or family member to do it with you. You will not regret it!

Reflecting Christ

Because I am a simple human and need tangible examples for God to teach me, my relationship with my boyfriend has allowed me to learn more about my relationship with God. Everything I said above is attempting to mirror a relationship with Christ and the way Christ loves the Church, through sacrifice.

Jesus gave it all for the sake of someone else. The only thing He asks is that we do the same. That may not be hanging on a cross. God meets us where we are at. I personally am not there yet. God knows that, and now just asks that I give him the little things for now.

Fasting gives me a little dose of humility and it reminds me that I am not God, and that this is not my home, I am meant for something greater. My relationship with God has been strengthened by fasting from things I desire because every time I say no to something I am saying, “God take my desires, take my life. My life is not my own and everything is a gift from You, I desire to give it back. Fiat.”

About the Author

Abbey Staub

I am Aquinas College graduate and I studied theology and philosophy there. I recently graduated this past May and I love Jesus a lot and desire to serve Him with my whole person. I get emotional when looking at nature cause I see God in that way. I love flowers. I have a straight up obsession with Italy, you can ask anyone. I'm super sarcastic which oftentimes gets me into trouble. Most importantly, food is my love language (especially burgers cooked rare and queso).