3) You should examine your heart and emotions closely. Is it just to have companionship, is it to fulfill a desire, etc.? You should also talk them over with a spiritual director who can provide a more objective viewpoint for you. If not, then this is where the discernment process should start and end. 5) If you do decide to date, there are certain guidelines that I think can help.First of all, you should make sure that you are guarding your heart, mind and body for the proper intimacy that the relationship ought to have.But, for the most part, dating exclusively is novel.2) You do not need to date to discern your calling in life to marriage or the priesthood.Remember that throughout most of history and most cultures marriage was not discerned through a dating process.So, we have had arranged marriages, courtships, and other ways of planning marriage.
Could you provide some guidance on these questions? It is a big one, so it may take me a while to adequately answer it. Dating is a big issue with many Christians, because of the culture and expectations that go along with it.
Some advise them not to date, not to get involved in social situations, begin living as informal candidates or postulants, dress the part, etc --- and unfortunately they do this --- all under the rubric of being in the process of "discerning a religious vocation".
For many, this pre-discernment process stretches on, is transformed into a kind of limbo which is supposedly dignified with the title "discernment" and life simply stutters to a stop as these folks neither enter nor discern anything else which demands a life commitment.
So, I will try and help you out by approaching it from several different angles. What we call dating and how we date currently in our society is a very new and novel way of going about forming a relationship.
There are both good and bad elements that go into it.