Newly-engaged couple, Angela Tabucan and Lincoln Tesluk, left, and newly-dating couple, Ben Mombourquette and Abigail Huntley agree that prayer is an important tool in inviting God into their relationship. Photo left courtesy of Angela Tabucan, photo right courtesy of Ben Mombourquette

Dating with holy intention: Youth share their stories on matching faith life and love life

By  Gabriela Pariseau, Youth Speak News
  • March 14, 2019

When 20-year-old Ruth Savidge meets a guy, several questions run through her mind before she even begins to consider dating him.

Does he go to church? Is he a practising Catholic? Who has he dated before? Has he been sexually active? Does he listen to inappropriate music? Does he swear?

Savidge holds men to high standards because she believes her relationships should help bring her closer to God, not draw her away from Him. In a society entrenched in hookup culture, many young Catholics like her are committed to keeping God and their faith at the centre of their lives, including their dating lives.

“I don’t want to date someone who thinks (marriage) is just a social contract or who does not see the vocation of marriage in a similar light,” said the third-year Catholic Studies student from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont. “They need to be someone you can journey to Christ with.”

Savidge said getting to know the moral character of a person is just as important, if not more important, than learning a person’s passions and hobbies. 

Emma White, 24, also believes in keeping God at the centre of her singlehood as she discerns which vocation God has planned for her. She said vocational discernment should be a lifelong process and at this point in her life, White does not yet know whether she is called to religious life or marriage. 

She said she is waiting for God to direct her toward a permanent vocation but, on a day-to-day basis, prayer allows her to keep from idolizing her vocation as she surrenders to the will of God. 

“How else am I supposed to know the mind of God and what He desires for my life if I don’t actually talk to my Father, my Creator, my God?” she said. “I know what my vocation is in the duty of the moment and that’s the only way I can fulfill a vocation right now.”

Fulfilling her duty of the moment can mean helping out a friend who just had a baby, going to daily Mass or teaching catechism classes. As a single person, White said her time and responsibilities are more flexible than they would be if she was in a permanent vocation. 

Abigail Huntley and Ben Mombourquette, both 22 years old, believe the centrality of prayer becomes even more essential to vocational discernment as a couple.

Huntley explained that while getting to know her boyfriend and having fun with him over the past five months is definitely part of their relationship, “all that comes beneath the fact that this is discernment,” she said.

While individually they each feel called to the vocation of marriage, dating is how they discern together whether they are called to marry each other. This can mean going to Mass together or praying silently together, but oftentimes even their dates become opportunities to pray.

Mombourquette recalled one date in which they snowshoed up a hill together. When they reached the top, the couple prayed, basking in the beauty of God’s presence in Creation. 

“We make the normal things, whether it be going for a walk or going for a hike, into a prayer,” said Mombourquette. “And through that we are able to grow closer to each other, have a lot of fun, and praise the Lord.”

Huntley and Mombourquette agree that without prayer a couple relationship would not work. A relationship with God is central to who they are individually, so when they come together prayer becomes a point of deep connection.

Newly engaged couple Lincoln Tesluk, 20, and Angela Tabucan, 21, are preparing for marriage by making God the third person in the relationship. 

“In every aspect of our relationship we have really, really needed to cling to praying together and really asking God for grace to help us, in particularly with purity,” said Tabucan.

She mentioned that whenever they find themselves alone as a couple, they will ask God to fortify them with the grace of purity. And when in conflict or confusion they bring their difficulties before the Lord asking Him to rework things in their relationship. 

Tesluk and Tabucan can testify to the fruit of these prayers and allowing God to enter into their relationship these past two years.

“When our faith is very much a part of and interconnected with our dating, fundamentally everything is so much better,” said Tesluk. “Everything goes so much smoother. It is easier to love. It’s a lot easier to communicate and know each other and traverse the different paths of dating.”

(Pariseau, 21, is a third-year Catholic studies student at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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