Monday, 29 September 2014

Not Alone Series: Courtship vs. Dating

It might be easy to say that the pursuit of marriage is the purpose of dating (aka courtship). But, that's not how our culture views dating. Does viewing the person you're dating as a potential spouse add unnecessary pressure on the relationship? In your opinion, is there a difference between dating and courtship? If so, what are those differences?

This is very, very late. In fact I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish write it because I'm not sure what I want to say (one of the reasons this took so long to write). I do have a question.

What exactly is courtship and how does it differ from dating? I have previously (before courtship became this ridiculously popular thing) interchanged the two.

My understanding from the use of the term "courtship" it is meant to be dating but not just the couple involved but each others family. They are never left alone. It is meant to "guard" your heart and keep you from heart break.

My problems with these...
While I have no problem spending time with a guys family as I get to know him and we contemplate marriage we need some alone time. I need time to get to know you as you are without a constant audience. I personally will feel the need to be always "on" with my future possible mother-in-law watching.
In any relationship heart break is a possibility. Human feelings are involved. I read a blog with one couple they had their first "I love you's" at the proposal because they didn't feel it was appropriate before hand, they didn't want to endanger each other's hearts, etc. To each his own but I'm sorry if I'm in love with you whether I say it or not if we break up my heart is still going to break. Also if I'm in a serious relationship and the guy has never said he loves me I would feel seriously off-kilter and confused.

I told a friend this recently I wouldn't date a guy I couldn't see myself marrying but I don't think a date automatically leads to a marriage licence. Courtship as I perceive it assumes that jump to the alter.  My question then is there something that comes before courtship or is like a child going to a toy store and just choosing.

There are so many things I need to know and be attracted to in a guy before I get to the point I believe courtship is (just before engagement).

Is courtship just a term to differentiate christian dating from secular dating?

What are you're thoughts on courtship? Visit Jen for the link-up and see what everyone else who linked-up on time had to say.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Not Alone Series: Online Dating Dos & Don'ts

Not all of us have jumped into the world of online dating, but many of us have! What are those things that we should AND shouldn't do?! If someone you know is considering online dating, how would you encourage him/her? What advice do you have?

I put my toe into the online dating world about 3 years ago. I joined Ave Maria Singles (AMS), they had discounts for international users and it was a one time sign up, no experation. You had to apply for the discount and get an email with the code, I had that code for about six months before I actually used it. I kept imaging introducing my future husband to my grandparents , having them ask how we me and getting a lecture from my grandmother on the evils of the internet in front of him.

I joined Catholic Match early last year. Catholic Match is more interactive than AMS and I liked that about it but not every profile is an active, paid profile.

The do's and the don't's:-

Do participate as much as you feel comfortable. Check out the forums, the chat rooms, poll questions. There are great friends to be made besides just finding the one.

Don't spend all your time on the site. Live your life to the fullest, you'll have more to talk about with the people you do meet on the site. You'll be more relaxed, calm and rational if you are not constantly looking at and obsessing over the fact that you haven't been contacted, no one is ever online or whatever annoys you over time.

Do have pictures. I need to see what a person looks like and a general idea of how you spend your time. At a game (any kind cause I don't know jack about sports anyway), that birthday party, the trip you took. I personally don't click on profiles with a photo.

Do have reasonable expectations. If you are 40 don't expect the 20 year old to swoon on receiving your emotigram. Just because you are attracted don't expect the other person to be and don't get mad because they are.

Do be polite. I have a standard thank you but no thank you response. If someone has taken the time to write me a message I do try to respond even if it's just to say that I'm not interested.

Don't string anyone along. If you are not interested don't pretend to be. Sure this may be the only person who has ever contacted you but even after giving it an honest try you just don't see a future say goodbye (really say goodbye don't just stop writing). If you are getting serious about one person don't start a relationship with someone else to hedge your bets. If you are messaging multiple people don't hint at strong feelings to all.

Do leave the computer and meet in person. It's called online dating but the actual dating happens in real life you just meet online. You have to actually spend time with the people you meet in some real life situations.

Have you tried online dating? Are you sceptical about it? Do you have do's or don't's to add to this list? Leave a comment. Also check out Morgan for the link-up to see what every one else has to say on the topic.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Not Alone Series: Oh So Chivalrous

Chivalry should not become a lost art and we, as women, ought to step up to the plate a bit more and encourage men to treat us as women, thereby respecting them as men. Do you have tips, ideas, or stories to encourage men to be... men?! Open doors for us, initiate dates, honor us as women, etc? Let's chat!

Thank you Sarah Therese for the topic!!!

I am not a woman hear me roar type nor am I a shrinking flower. I believe it is a man's job to take out the garbage primarily because I don't like to do it but I would also love for a man to cook for me or do the dishes.

I do not think chivalry is not a lost art. When a friend of mine was dating her now husband I saw the kind of man I wanted to marry. I wasn't suddenly lusting after my friend's boyfriend but I was very attracted to some of his quality traits. He was chivalrous. He opened doors for her every time and me too if we were together. The car door, doors to buildings. He gave her his hand to help her our the car whether she needed it or not as well as a few other things.

This weekend while running an insane amount of errands I ran into some pretty chivalrous men. I had quite a few doors opened for me. I said thank you with a smile. An upbeat thank you not a begrudging thanks. A careless thank you doesn't sound very appreciative, and when the gesture of doing something chivalrous is appreciated it is likely to be repeated.

For me, allowing guys to be chivalrous makes me feel vulnerable. Sometimes when the offer comes I feel like the person thinks I'm weak or incompetent. I'm not very big, have been skinny my whole life and as a kid I was picked to do some things because people thought I wasn't strong enough and that kind of stuck with me. I'm slowly coming into being okay with allowing myself to be vulnerable.

With my car I have never had a problem allowing chivalrous gestures. I can't change a tire and until a little over a year ago I didn't know how to put gas in my car. However a couple a months ago I was having car trouble so pulled into the gas station and popped the hood to check the few things I was taught to check then the rain just came down. Hard. One of the guys there ran over to me we an umbrella because I was fighting with the thing not getting it closed while getting soaked. I let him close the engine for me then I stood there feeling foolish as he asked me what I needed, to get back in my car or get across the lot to shelter. I was a little hesitant but I did let him help me into my car. Because I was a little embarrassed I didn't allow myself to appreciate this sweet gesture.

A few months ago I was at an event late, I didn't think it was late but a friend's husband did and decided he would follow me home. I did think it was nice that he wanted to do it but I felt bad that I was taking him out of his way. He followed me home and then he waited for me to get in the house. I had a lot of stuff to take out of my car so I told him he could go since my sister was home and I didn't really feel in danger but he stayed. I did remember to say thank you.

I am still trying get comfortable with some chivalrous gestures but chivalry is not dead but it does need to be encouraged.

Do you think chivalry is dead? Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you expect it? What are your thoughts on the topic. Leave a comment, join the discussion. Visit Jen for the link-up to see what everyone else has to say.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Not Alone Series: We're Back

We are back! As we get into the swing of things with NAS, what other ways can we be more involved at church or in our communities? Is there a parish ministry you have been wanting to help with or start up? What about that after school program for homeless kids? Has something been preventing you from getting involved? How do you think this will help you personally, spiritually, and emotionally?

I'm late to the party but that's okay.

After a summer away (sort of) the Not Alone Series is back to regular weekly posting on Tuesday not Thursday like I am posting right now. Although I did start this over the weekend but life happened so I am trying to finish.

This week we are looking at ways we can be more involved at church or in our communities. Right off the bat I thought about knowing the needs. At our church they are always requesting lectors and people to help prepare the Alter. There are also needs that are not being fulfilled at all that may exist. Once after Mass I heard a young mother asking the co-ordinator if there were any programs for her pre-school age son.

Now we have a thriving school-age children's ministry and a very good youth ministry but nothing for the pre-schoolers. I really thought about maybe starting something just crafts and bible stories or something but with kids especially younger kids you have to be consistent and unfortunately other commitments keep me from being there consistently right now. It is something I do think we need and maybe my job is not to lead it but just to get the idea out there and just help out where I can after it gets going.

I am a lector. I started back in Confirmation days because as part of our programme you have to be involved in some aspect of Mass. I can't sing so choir was out but I loved to read and I read well even those pesky Old Testament names once I get a chance to practice them. The first few time I read I raced through those reading like no bodies business but over time I got used to standing in front of the crowd without internally freaking out and wanting to get away as fast as possible.

I also work at putting on retreats, which is actually just something I fell into. There are two different sets of retreats that I work with. the first one I attended a few years ago and they usually try to encourage past retreatants to give back in some way. I started off signing up to be pray support but then a friend of mine really started getting involved and she put me down as a vicariate co-ordinator. I was a little hesitant at first, it seemed like a lot of work and also way out of my comfort zone, talking to strangers and answering questions about the retreat, pre-registration. It turns out it's not that much work and it was actually good for me. I am still an introvert but I am much more outgoing.

The second retreat I also just kind of fell into because yet another friend just thought I would be just perfect fit for the co-ordinating team. I really need to evaluate my choice in friends :). Turns out she was right. I am more involved with all aspects of this retreat and it is a lot of work but it really stretches me. A couple years ago there are many jobs I would have begged someone else to take over but I find myself many times taking the initiative to get things done, like calling up priests and asking if they will be available to give confession. For a weekend retreat you get more no's that yes because priests are busy and it's not just for Mass. Last year my former confessor had to make quite a few changes to his schedule in order to say yes and none of the events he needed to change was a Mass.

I am still learning this but balance is needed when getting more involved with parish ministries and community. Three years ago I said no to a lot because I didn't feel I had the time and the fear that I wasn't good enough to be involved. Two years ago I said yes to practically everything because I felt guilty for saying no so much the year before and I really wanted to be more involved. I was overwhelmed and tired, I frustrated and really burnt out. Last year I tried to strike a balance by not saying yes to everything but not saying no right off the bat either. Not sure if I got it right but it was definitely better than the year before.

This year I think I am recognizing more where my strengths lie and not letting guilt lead me into more commitments than I can handle.

What about you? Are you involved in your parish community? Do you want to be more involved, what's stopping you?

Visit Morgan for the link up to see what everyone else is saying and maybe add your own thoughts on the subject.