You are made to know and be known. You are also made for love and to love. In every human heart, there exists a sincere desire for these two desires to be satisfied. Often this leads us into a great adventure in our lives — one where we learn what love is and what it isn’t, and how we desire to be fully known and to know another.
We’re wired for relationship which means… we’re made to date! However, we cannot begin to be known and to know another, as well be loved and love another, without first understanding who we are. In brief, if you ain’t prayin’, you ain’t datin.’Plain and simple, just the way I like my bagels. Seriously though: it is in knowing and living into a life with Christ which we begin to understand who we truly are and how we are to live that out.
Dating is awesome… with the right mindset. You must develop that mindset yourself, through patience and prayer. It’s the type of mindset that gives us the courage we need to allow God to write our love story and He can only do that when we live in relationship with Him, through prayer and sacrifice.
Now I’m sure you’re beginning to wonder, “Hey William, all this is fine and dandy and all, but what are some practical ways I can figure out if I should be dating?” I’m a big philosophy guy who believes in giving you a map to lead you to the truth instead of flat out giving you answers. Deal with it. So to answer your question, here are some questions you might want to start with to help you determine whether or not dating in high school is worth it for you:
Are you praying?
I want to really hammer this point home. If you aren’t praying, any relationship you’re in will flop. Talking to God for just ten minutes a day, reading a chapter from the Bible, or praying the rosary are all good things which continually remind you that you are His. Everything you are and have is God’s. Therefore, through prayer, we are better able to allow Him to write our stories with His penmanship; which is ultimately a lot lot better than you or I could ever dream of.
Do you really know that you are loved intimately and personally by the God of the universe and He is continually willing you into existence by His love?
Well, you do now! Seriously, know your worth. You are a child of God, do not allow anyone to look at you or treat you any less. To the young ladies reading this: look to Jesus, and you will begin to recognize men who desire to live their lives like Him. Your dignity as a daughter of God and your chastity are treasures to be withheld and respected. If a man doesn’t respect your dignity or chastity, don’t waste your time on him.
To the young men reading this. You are man enough. Let your character and your virtue speak louder than your mouth. To be a man is to follow Jesus to the cross. We do this by choosing the good, and dying to self.
Are you faithful to your current commitments?
If you can’t commit to going to Mass weekly, trying your best in school, and praying for 10 minutes daily, you probably shouldn’t commit to another person. It is our actions that reflect our interior lives. If you cannot commit to the basic actions required in your current state of life, then you cannot fully commit to another person.
What are you willing to give up?
We are over infatuated with incredibly lousy examples of sacrifice in love. Romeo and Juliet, for instance; they kill themselves because they think that the other is dead and they cannot live without the other. Let God write your love story. Follow God’s will, not your own. In my personal experience, just by praying the little prayer of, “God if these feelings are from you, please let them grow. But Lord if they are not, please take them away,” God has moved in powerful ways in my life.
God will always come through. The question posed above is not merely about what you have to give up to better love another. But it is a dangerous proposition, to prepare you to give up any relationship with another that the Lord might call you out of. By being open to the reality that you will go where God desires, God will trust you with a deeper clarity of where to go next.
In short, pray. Dating in high school can be a positive experience, but it’s not essential. You can not date, you can casually date, you can have a girl or boyfriend. But above all, be open to God — He’s the only aspect of your life that is truly essential. Trust God. Also, take it easy. A date is a date so treat it as such — as nothing more than an opportunity to know someone else a bit better — not practice for a marriage proposal. A boy/girlfriend is also just that. A boy or a girlfriend — not a fiance or a spouse.
Grow together, challenge one another, but keep Christ at the center. In conclusion: pray, take it easy, trust God, and pray again.