Discernment Challenge #4:
Don't Date and Discern

Now that you've learned in step three about the importance of having a spiritual director, I want you to consider the importance of considering not dating while you are actively discerning. Dating and discerning at the same time is not wrong, but if you are committing to a particular period of time for your discernment, then dating at the same time could be like trying to date two people at the same time.

Here is what is suggested by Sister Clare Matthiass, in her book, Discerning Religious Life:

Don't Date and Discern

During the 'six-month discernment challenge,' consider not dating. Dating is ultimately for the purpose of discerning marriage. If you are currently dating, then date! Enjoy it. Have fun. Consider entering into a prayerful, guided discernment of the sacrament of marriage. This is a noble and important undertaking. Would that all marriages were preceded by thoughtful and prayerful discernment!

However, if you are feeling restlessness within, and you don't feel you will have peace until you take adequate time to seriously discern religious life, then decide not to date at the same time as discerning religious life. It will only be a source of needless drama and perhaps a broken heart.

"In my experience of suggesting this moratorium on dating, an immediate fear arises for many young women. What if I take six months (or a year) to discern religious life and that's precisely when my would-be, future husband comes along and I miss him? This is a matter of trust. Let go of the controls. Will you trust the God Who made you and Who loves you? Will you trust that He wants you to discover your vocation more than you want to discover it? This is the truth. He has a dream for you and this dream is His gift to you. Trust Him. He is worthy of it.

"We are so often more than ready to settle for less than what God wants."

Order and read Sr. Clare Matthiass' book, Discerning Religious Life.

Tap or click and review all of our discernment steps:

Discernment Step 1

Discernment Step 2

Discernment Step 3

Discernment Step 4

Discernment Step 5

Discernment Step 6

Have questions about how to hold off on dating while discerning? Call Sr. Jeanette at 216-526-6435 or email her at sisterjeanette@hotmail.com.