Let’s not pretend . . . A relationship that’s exclusive and that’s discerning marriage is, by all natural intents and purposes, a romantic relationship! There’s mutual interest and attraction, increased happiness in one another’s company, and hope for the future. Obviously!
So the first logical step for The Dash and I, in an effort to secure both the spiritual and emotional health of our relationship, was to set our physical boundaries with one another.
It was a pretty brief conversation. Of course, purity must remain intact until marriage. And we both already possessed the intention of saving our first kisses for marriage as well (something I’m especially thankful for!). But in today’s culture, expressions of affection such as kissing, holding hands, embracing, etc. are typically seen as normal and acceptable for any exclusive couple to engage in, no matter where they are in their relationship. We knew, from the onset, that we were going to be different.
The Dash and I agreed from Day 1 that holding hands would be reserved for betrothal/engagement (more on that below), and that, essentially, our courting relationship was going to be hands-off except for brief hi-and-bye hugs, like we would give to other friends. (And leaning in for pictures, as you’ve probably noticed by now…)
We wanted to do this 1) to safeguard our purity and 2) to safeguard our reasoning.
Later on, we would discover that this method of behavior has an even clearer, more insistent reasoning behind it.
This is where Fr. Ripperger came in.
We listened to this talk when we had been courting for several months; and it brought our perspective of what we had been doing so far to a whole new level. We realized that the existence of our physical boundaries revolved around the issue of justice towards one another (I went into this in greater length in the post I just linked to), as well as purity. I highly recommend that anyone interested in Catholic courtship to listen to this talk!
Are these boundaries hard? The longer courtship lasts, and the more your knowledge and love of the person increases, the answer is, of course, yes! As of writing this, The Dash and I have been courting for 9 months. And so of course, it’s hard. But I am here to tell you that maintaining boundaries and waiting on other expressions of affection becomes incomparably beautiful overtime.
Why is it beautiful? You are proving your love for one another by being willing to sacrifice. Sacrifice is beautiful love.
I know The Dash cherishes me when he wants to be with me, even though it must be without embracing, holding my hand, or kissing me. I know I cherish The Dash when simply talking with him and listening to his words brings me delight and peace.
When you build a relationship of love and can form its foundations without physical expressions of affection, you know that you are expressing true manhood and true womanhood; something noble and mature that is capable of doing without, even when you want it. This builds trust.
You are not taking advantage of one another; you are rejoicing with one another. And one day, the waiting will be beyond worth it when you don’t have to wait any more to physically express what you have already built spiritually, rationally, emotionally, and sacrificially.