… it seems to touch a nerve when I try to write about personal aspects of my life in regards to dating and marriage. Which is precisely why I don’t post often on the subject or, to the best of my ability, be as vague as possible about details. Besides, this isn’t a blog about dating, or being single. Or divorced. There are much better writers on the subject than I.
On more than one occasion I expressed how I could never date a non-Catholic or one that barely practices is faith. This is not to say I am condemning woman who marry outside their faith. Neither is this a statement of supreme piety on my part. In fact, it shows the exact opposite of my pious nature.
Please, remember when I write, I am writing on topics solely from my perspective based on my experiences and limitations. Yes, limitations. The temptation is easy to internalize some generalizations made here, perhaps causing defensive reactions and comments. Again, that is not my intent. I can not possible know everyone reading this and their story. I only know my own.
So my decision to not date outside my religion is based on what I know of my own nature. Pure and simple. If you’re a women who married a non-Catholic and he converted and you both lived happily ever after that is fantastic. I often say God puts certain people before us for His design. I think it is wonderful any time two spouses can share a common faith no matter if it didn’t start in that fashion. The end result is all that matters.
However, I am not that woman. I lack the spiritual strength, patience and restraint to marry a non-Catholic. And if the end result of dating is marriage and I won’t marry some one of a different faith, then it would only follow to reason that I needn’t bother dating non-Catholics.
I struggle enough to practice my faith to it’s fullest as it is and I acknowledge my penchant for joviality and mischief… to put it charitably. Dating non-Catholic men was too much of a test, a temptation. It was in my best interest to remove the temptation all together.
Listen, I personally can not change anyone. I can not convert a man. That is a job for the Holy Spirit. Of course we can try and be positive influences to someone considering Catholicism, but that type of experience is life changing enough without trying to start a relationship at the same time.
I am also from the school of thought that a woman can not, must not, ever date “potential”. Whether you agree with me or not, or have your own experience to prove me wrong is not the point. Again, I am speaking strictly of myself.
Dating potential means that I am dating a man who I think has potential to better himself… if only he change in some manner or fashion. I am at an age where I do not have the time to patiently wait for a man to reach his potential, and personally, men my age should have already reached their potential to some degree more or less. If the man I am dating needs to do this or that, convert or change in some dramatic fashion than he is not the one for me. And vice versa. Note; I did not say he is not good enough for me, just that he is not for me. He may be at a stage perfectly suited for some one else. Just not me.
A close friend of mine who instructs young couples going through pre-cana summed it up like this; “When you marry another person you share everything with them. Sharing faith is not a another item on a check list of shared interests. She likes foreign films. Check. He likes kids. Check. We both like sushi. Check. It is the foundation that all other aspects are built on. Why would you want to start your marriage off with a wedding in which you can’t even commune together?”
Coupled with my weak spiritual nature his advice made sense and sort of sealed the deal on my decision. I know it makes dating that much more difficult, but I am ok with that. Like I’ve said before, I desire heaven more than I desire a spouse.
Again, I am not saying that women or men who have chosen to date and marry outside their religion are spiritually weaker or value their eternal life any less than I. Please do not take my decision personally. Just know that my decision came with a lot of prayer and the final resignation that I will never reach a level of spiritual perfection as St. Rita.