By Father John McCloskey
Chances are that if God is calling you to marriage, you will find your spouse during college. But “dating” on too many college campuses is fraught with danger if you don’t have a plan that keeps your faith and future front and center. Here are 10 rules to help guide you on your journey.
The purpose of dating is to find the person you wish to marry, the one who will become the father or mother of your children. It just is. No matter what the culture tries to tell you, keep this always in mind and end a relationship if and as soon as you realize this is not the person.
Never allow yourself to be alone in a closed room or parked car with your date. Your dorm room is your
bedroom, and it is too easy to get carried away with your date. So find other places hang out.
Always plan to be active on a date. Have activities lined up so you don’t find yourself in a position or situation of idleness. Offense is good defense. Think of activities that will provide opportunities for growth in knowledge of God, each other, and self.
Dress appropriately for the occasion but always modestly. Don’t tempt your date, or yourself, by dressing provocatively.
Alcohol can make it easy to give in to temptations, so be sure to avoid being in situations that you know will weaken your will.
Any actions that cause sexual arousal (and you know what they are) should be avoided, including forms of dancing that are designed to cause it. Help each other to stay chaste.
A peck, a quick kiss (mouths closed), a brief hug or holding hands are okay, of course, they are good non-sexual expressions of your affection for someone.
Don’t kid yourself. You are no different from anyone else. Don’t count on your self-control. You are weak! You just can’t go “just so far.”
Your soul is at stake and perhaps a happy marriage or a possible vocation. Date wisely to protect your heart and soul.
The road to a chaste life is paved with prayer, the Eucharist, and the reading of the New Testament. If you fail, pick yourself up, go to confession and begin again.
A final bonus rule
: no matter who “pays,” no one “owes” anybody anything. And if your date thinks that you do “owe” them, then you know that they aren’t the person you should marry. (See rule 1.)
Follow these rules and make sure your date or companion does also, and the search for a spouse and courtship can be a joy. Otherwise you may become accomplices in deadly sin and a lifetime of regret. Let these rules guide you on your way to marriage or a vocation.
Father John McCloskey has spent more than 20 years as a chaplain or confessor to college students.