*The following post was written by Ksenia, one of our monthly contributors here at TFG.
The first date, even the first few moments, can give you a pretty good sense of where things are going to end up. But sometimes, life throws you a curve ball that you really weren't expecting.
Currently, I'm dating Law School. Well actually, I'm dating an incredible guy. Perhaps a bit of both.
I'm discerning jumping into the commitment of law school, which is a big financial and time investment. I've been humming and hawing, I'm signed up to write the LSAT in a few weeks and I'm studying and praying.
Law school isn't something you decide overnight. How much more should we discern marriage?
The point of dating is to get to know someone, discern whether you connect, agree, or can grow from disagreeing, thrive, and continue unfolding the adventures ahead for the rest of your lives. Did you get that? THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! (If you're married and reading this, don't continue, these are the rambling thoughts of an unmarried woman who doesn't really understand marriage).
Dating isn't marriage, it's not pre-marriage, it's supposed to be a time to discern God's will. Sometimes it seems that in Catholic circles young women tend to think long term right away.
The end goal is marriage and it should always be at the forefront of your discernment, but starting to date someone doesn't mean you will automatically marry them. Also, it doesn't mean that you need to talk about what to name your 15 children, where you will live, and plan ever inch of your life until 85.
Getting married isn't a race! Learn how to be friends with guys, have fun with them and enjoy their company for its own sake. After dating for a while and when you're married, you'll really just be hanging out together. It's not about the whirlwind romances of Hollywood. I'd argue that the ending of those fairy tales is found on every magazine at the grocery store with the exclusive on this weeks break ups and that divorces.
Enjoy dating, meeting new people and getting to know them casually before jumping into dating. And even when you start dating, talk about the next year not the next decade. Sometimes dating can be a discernment of whether you should more seriously date.
About 7 months ago I started thinking about law school. So I started reading about law programs, then after a couple months I spent $20 on an LSAT study book. I think dating is similar, as your relationship progresses you invest more of your time, money, and energy into it. I'm not making the $200,000 (yikes) commitment to law school overnight.
It starts with dipping your feet in with a casual date where you begin exploring your one on one friendship that can potentially blossom into a relationship. Don't go around kissing all your guy friends. If you're interested talk with them, hang out with them with other friends, maybe go to a museum, start a project together, or try out a new coffee shop.
Going for coffee does not and should not end in "I do"; it's just sharing some liquid that keeps most of North America running.
Girls slow down, enjoy yourselves. I know we already have a Pinterest board of our wedding just waiting for the right guy to walk in, but do yourself a favour and don't show him your colour ideas after two weeks.