It is typical in many established religions to have a set of rules, customs, or etiquette practices in place when a member comes of the age to date. These are mainly to help set boundaries for “acceptable” behavior between the opposite sexes when they become interested in one another. So, what are the dating rules for Catholic teenagers?
The rules of dating within the Catholic religion involve regulations on physical connections, dress codes, and appropriate activities. The goal of these rules is to limit the temptation to commit sexual sin.
Are you interested in the specifics of Catholic dating culture and what it may be like compared to other religions and society in general? Continue reading to learn all about the standards upheld when looking for a romantic partner within the Catholic religion.
One of the most important things to remember while dating within the Catholic religion is that steady dating is a big no-no unless you are ready for marriage. Dating is not a light matter in the eyes of many Catholic members and it is viewed as a preparatory stage for marriage.
The Catholic religion places significant value on the concept of marriage and procreation. Since Catholics believe that God’s purpose and intent in creating man and woman were so that they could be married and bring more people into this world, dating has also become a serious matter.
Catholics should not date with the intent to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. They should date with the intent of being their potential spouse. If one is not ready to be married, they should not date steadily.
It’s important for teenagers in the Catholic faith to see lots of people in order to avoid any temptations of sin or transgression that could potentially arise from seeing one person consecutively.
Teenagers are encouraged to go on lots of dates with many different people. These dates should not be alone. Catholic teens should strive to go on group dates instead of solo dates. These dates shouldn’t have romantic expectations tied to them and should be treated as a “get-to-know-you” opportunity.
If two people wish to deepen their connection and get “serious,” they are encouraged to have a counsel session to talk about their goals and future prospects with each other.
Catholics view dating as an intentional and purposeful process toward marriage instead of something done for recreation and fun. So, it’s best for teenagers to keep it simple, public, and in a group setting.
Dress and Appearance Guidelines
The concept of modesty is a huge deal in Catholic culture. Teenagers are encouraged to dress with modesty and conservation in order to avoid lustful thoughts toward and from others. Modesty is seen as a method to respect the body and avoid being provocative.
It is not uncommon that these “dress codes” predominantly target women. On dates, it is expected that a woman is modestly dressed. This means that shirts, skirts, shorts, etc. that are in any sense revealing be avoided.
The Catholic church urges women, especially teenagers, to cover their midriff, legs, shoulders, and chest area. When girls are dressed modestly, they believe it lowers the risk for men to act lustfully and takes away the temptation of physical intimacy.
Catholics are taught that bodies are gifts from God that are meant to be respected. Consequently, one of the ways they do this is by keeping a strict dress code. Activities that imply one to dress immodestly are to be avoided.
Men on dates are also encouraged to dress appropriately.
Physical Affection Do’s and Don’t’s
The most important expectation in dating for Catholics is that both parties are serious about keeping a close relationship with God and staying true, chaste, and pure in their thoughts and actions with one another. (Source)
Catholic teenagers are strictly implored to refrain from any sort of physical actions that would produce stimulation in arousal. Abstinence is one of the biggest prophesized concepts in the Catholic and many other religions. Couples should not participate in sexual activities outside of wedlock.
As a dating youth, you should withhold from activities that could potentially produce the desire to engage in sexual or sensual physical relations. Teenagers that are dating are welcome to hold hands and express care and affection in moderate ways, as long as they don’t feel the temptation to act in a lustful way.
In the end, there is nothing wrong with displaying affection so long as there is consent from both parties, and the intentions remain within the boundaries of the Catholic religion’s law of chastity.
Steering Clear of “Danger”
As mentioned before, teens are highly encouraged to stay away and abstain from activities that could bring upon the desire to sin. Especially as a youth in the society today, there are many things that are considered “fun” that aren’t good for teenagers to partake in. These things include drugs, late-night parties with alcohol, and sexual activities.
Teenagers in the Catholic church are urged to choose activities that invite a pure and harmless, but still fun, environment. Inexpensive activities done in groups are probably one of the most encouraged forms of dating while one is still a youth.
Youth should strive to hang out with people who uphold their same values and standards. Group activities allow teenagers to hang out with people who will hold each other accountable for appropriate behavior and keep each other in a light-hearted and safe environment.
Oftentimes, Catholic youth will hang out and go on a group date with other members. This is a great way for them to make friendships while staying within their same faith.
However, to an outsider of the Catholic church, these standards, expectations, and rules may seem a bit extreme and restrictive. However, the whole goal of the church’s standards is to keep the youth from facing consequences they aren’t yet ready to handle.
Dating is a crucial step that leads to marriage, which is why it is so heavily regulated within the Catholic church.