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Videos & Audio

Marriage

Q & A

Q. How do you know if the person you are seeing is the right one?

 

A. Marriage, or a commitment to any vocation for that matter, is possibly the most important decision of your life and so it is not to be taken lightly. A good place to start with any important decision is by consulting God. Have you prayed and talked to God about the person you are dating? What would God want for you and what would God think of your relationship? In the end everything we do on Earth is a journey towards our heavenly home and so a good question to ask yourself is, "Does this person make me holier?" Or "Am I the best version of myself with this person?" Lastly, talk to those who care about you the most. What do your family and friends think of this person? Often those who really know us can help us with the journey. In then end they usually want the best for you and if they aren't quite sure then perhaps you need more time for discernment or perhaps it is a good indiction you should have another look at your relationship.

 

Q. How do I know if I am ready to be married?

 

A. When good mature couples are asked to relfect on their journey very rarely does anyone ever say, "I wish we moved quicker?" So it is fair to say that with hindsight most people can see times in their life that perhaps they should have moved slower in relationships. Too often we are looking for Mr or Mrs 'Right Now' as opposed to Mr or Mrs 'Right'. It always helps to have wise mentors or spiritual advisors that you can journey with on questions of this nature. Whilst society might tell you that you need to have your life in perfect order before Marriage, things are never perfect. It is however important to consider significant practical matters and matters of faith and family. Such things to consider include financial stability, unity in faith beliefs and understanding each others' desires for family and children.

 

Q. Why should you get married when many marriages end in divorce?

 

A. Whilst it is true that many marriages end in divorce this doesn't change the fact that good marriages and families are the building block of society. Even if you have experienced pain through marriage breakdown in your family it doesn't mean you can't have a successful marriage. Marriage is God's idea and when lived out the way it is meant to be it is a beautiful image of the way God loves - a love that never ends! The Sacrament of Marriage brings with it many graces and is a powerful demonstration of two peoples love for each. Research has shown that married relationships, especially when couples enter into marriage with the right intentions, are way more successful than other serious but less formally commited relationships. There is nothing like the sacred bond between a husband and wife.

Q. Why is the Church so homophobic and against gay people getting married? If they are in love why can't they make this commitment to each other?

A. This is a really common question in our society today. Firstly, it's important to know that the Church is not homophobic, they are not against gay people and they do not hate gay people. The Church and all Christians are called to love all people and treat them with respect and dignity, no matter their sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, etc. In the past, we as individuals and the Church at large have not always been the best at this, and this has often resulted in those with same sex attractions feeling hurt and ostracised by the Church. This is not something that we should be proud of and certainly is something that our leaders, particularly Pope Francis, are seeking to rectify and heal in our current climate.

As for the question of marriage, it really comes down to what Catholics believe marriage is. Unlike a lot of people in our society, the Church does not believe that marriage is just a commitment to show your love for someone. We believe it is a covenant entered into by one man and one woman freely, for life, and for the potential of bringing new life into the world. This life-giving nature of marriage is only possible in a relationship between a man and a woman. Therefore, two gay people may be able to share a love that is life-long and exclusive, but because of it's inability to bring about life, this relationship is not marriage as the Church understands it to be. And for this reason, the Church is unable to extend the definition of marriage to include gay persons. Similarly, the Church does not extend marriage to those in polygamous relationships, as this relationship is not a faithful commitment between two people. 

So, you can see that it is not a decision to discriminate against a certain group of people, but rather a holding to the Church's understanding of what marriage is and what it is not.

Q. I'm engaged, our wedding is planned. It's all locked in. Surely it is okay to have sex now, right?

A. It is normal to want to be physical with someone you are romantically involved with, especially in engagement when marriage seems so close and you already feel committed to that person. However, sex is a physical expression of a total and complete commitment to someone. It is a physical gesture and a promise to love someone always. The reason why sex is best kept for marriage is because marriage is a commitment to love someone completely, unconditionally and forever. In sex, two people (mind, body and soul) become one. They are making with their bodies the same commitment (the same vow) as what they make when they get married.

Even though you are so close to marriage, you have not yet made that lifelong commitment and you don't want to miss out on the joy of uniting mind, body and soul on your wedding day, after making that lifelong commitment/vow to love each other. Also, you never know what could happen between now and your wedding day. We know a lot of people who have been engaged but not ended up getting married. It's not long to wait now. You can do it!! And it will be worth it.

Q. Is foreplay or oral sex counted as 'sex before marriage'?

A. It's hard to make a clear distinction about what 'sex' is and is not when we're told to wait until we're married to have sex. But the truth is, sex and all sexual body language is a special gift to give to your spouse when you are married. There is a lot that happens on a neurochemical level in our bodies when people share physical intimacy, especially with sexual release or orgasm. These chemicals are created to bond us with the person we are intimate with. In the case of marriage this can be a beautiful and holy thing, but for people who have not made a commitment to love that person this can actually cause a lot of confusion and damage. To bond with someone on that intimate level and then break up can cause a lot of heartache. Not to mention the pain it can cause a future spouse when they find out you have shared this level of intimacy with another person or people.

When we are in a relationship with someone, we can really want to show our affection to them through physical acts. But there are many other ways that you can show your love for someone without having to get physical (e.g. through conversation, sharing fun experiences with friends and family, etc). Then when you are committed to someone, you are able to tell them that you kept everything you could to share with them when you got married. 

Q. What if we've already had sex but now want to wait? How do we do this? Can we start afresh?

Absolutely! It is never too late to start afresh. There are some awesome scriptures in the Bible telling us that God makes all things new, and we understand that the God we serve is a loving God, who wants to forgive us and give us a fresh start. There are many Catholics, including many on our team, who have had sexual relationships in the past and have at some point decided to wait until they were married to have sex. If you are Catholic, you may have experienced the Sacrament of Reconciliation before. This is a beautiful gift that our Church gives us. God is always merciful and wants to gives us the opportunity to begin again. So, we encourage you to make use of this Sacrament. We know it is not always easy to go before a priest and confess the mistakes you have made, but it is always so worth it and often not as hard as we think it is going to be. 

 

As for going forward from this point, we realise this is not easy. It's natural to want to physically express your love and affection for someone, even when you have made the commitment to wait until you're married to have sex. So, it is important to have some clear physcial boundaries. Eg. we won't go into a room alone and close the door or we won't make out, as we know this only leads us to want to do more. Every couple is different but it's realy important to have clear and open discussion about the physical side of your relationship and how you can best respect each other's physical boundaries. It can also be great to have an older couple or a mentor who can check in and keep you accountable on staying true to your boundaries and your desires and goals for your current and future relationship/s. Also check out some of the great video links above for some more inspiration.

Links
Books

Catholic

  • How to Find your Soulmate Without Losing your Soul

    • Jason and Christalina Evert

  • Good News about Sex and Marriage

    • Christopher West

    • Answers all the big questions

  • Theology of the Body

    • Various authors, but Christopher West’s TOB audio is accessible for the average person

Christian

  • Captivating

    • Stasi Eldredge

    • For women

  • Wild at Heart

    • John Eldredge

    • For men

  • For Men Only

    • Shaunti Feldhahn​

    • For engaged/dating couples men to better understand the opposite sex

  • For Women Only

    • Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn​

    • For engaged/dating couples to better understand the opposite sex

  • Worth the Wait

    • Jason Stevens

    • Footy player, easy read, Aussie​

www.chastityproject.com

- A great, American based website with loads of resources related to dating and relationships

 

www.chastity.com

- Another American based website with resources and links related to dating

www.thepmrc.org

- A great Aussie site for engaged couples or those considering marriage

www.catholicmatch.com

- A Catholic, online dating site

www.jackieandbobby.com

- A Catholic couple in the US who write/speak about dating and marriage

 

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