Dating and Other Things Catholic: Men of Christ Monday with John Antonio

 

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John Antonio is a single Catholic professional who runs a medical ethics and professionalism program for resident physicians in the Texas Medical Center. He is also a lifestyle writer Catholicsingles.com and Catholic speaker. His new book Dating and Other Things Catholic: What Seminary Taught Me About Single Life is a smart, witty guide that I recommend to all millennials who are just starting out or for anyone who needs to start over from a major setback.

1) Where did the inspiration to write Dating and Other Things Catholic come from?

4 years ago I was leaving seminary. I had spent almost my whole life there. I didn’t know anything about careers, dating, or the lifestyle of a single professional. I had never gotten a job. I had never gone on a date. I did not know a lot of things about the lifestyle of a single young professional. I did not know how to ask a young lady out nor how to get a job. I looked for Catholic books on this since I was a Catholic. I did not find one. So I decided to do research, gain new experiences, and write the book myself.

2) Tell me what it’s like to be single. How is that different from dating, marriage, and religious life?

The religious has the Church. The married have each other. The dating have each other to some degree but not in a stable form of life. Someone who is “single” could still be dating but generally not in a serious relationship. He/she makes many decisions alone and is very in control of their destiny. That adds a new opportunity to life. Single life is a huge opportunity.

3) One problem I personally have with being single is loneliness. How do you deal with that?
A single person needs 3 things: friends, a mission, and the right type of daily routine. I find that when singles have these 3 things they feel loneliness much less.

4) Who’s your go-to saint when it comes to living the single life and discerning your vocation?
St. Valentine. “Love is all you need” or is that the Beatles?

5) What advice would you give to young adults who are discerning vocations to marriage? What advice would you give to those discerning religious life? And for those who are indecisive?
There will always be a fork in the road at some point. You will have the choice to give your freedom away or hold on to it tightly. In my experience, giving it away is risky but it leads to more exciting things. If you give it away to something good, that is.

6) Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Subscribe to my blog and I’ll keep you up to date 🙂 …I already have another book in the works though for starters; the one that will tell all and tell things as they are.

Pros and Cons of Flirt and Convert: Catholic Relationship Problems Part 2

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This next installment of my “Catholic Dating Problems” series is a response to Melinda Selmys’s blog post.

Everyone has probably heard the term “flirt and convert” or “missionary dating,” in which a person of faith dates someone outside of his or her denomination (or an atheist/agnostic) in the hopes of both winning their love and saving their souls. I mean, if it worked for J.R.R. Tolkien, it could work for the modern young adult, right?

I asked my fellow Catholic young adults about how they saw the whole concept of flirt and convert and this is what they have to say.

On the Pros side:

Sarah R.: I think it really depends where your heart is at and your true intention. For me personally, before my boyfriend and I started dating we would talk about the differences of non-dom and Catholic. It was really obvious he was searching because he had a desire for God that I hadn’t found previously in a man and I knew his desire would be fulfilled in the Eucharist and I knew he’d love Mary. Realizing these qualities made me fall for him. We started officially dating and these debates continued. He did research of his own, found Scott Hahn and Bishop Robert Barron and well…obviously he didn’t stand a chance. In the time he was asking me questions about the Church it caused me to grow in my faith a way I probably never would’ve.

Long story short, it’s become extremely obvious that this was God’s plan. Too many LITTLE weird things happened in our life that if those small things hadn’t have happened we wouldn’t have met. He said growing up non-denominational left him so many unanswered questions that gave him a serious depression because he thought “There should be more. But there’s not so how can this be real?” It honestly left him in a really bad place and he said Catholicism put together all those missing pieces together and it lifted him from that dark time he’d been feeling his whole life.

Of course I was skeptical as to if he was doing this for me. But his family was extremely angry and it caused a lot of problems. He’s extremely non-confrontational and would’ve avoided that if he didn’t care but he would passionately argue them during their family bible study. He also cries almost every time he receives the Eucharist (which is adorable but whatever) and it’s very raw and real and it’s obvious. So I would 10/10 recommend. Even if unfortunately there is a breakup.

As long as you were in it for the right reasons you will receive so many graces and they will as well and that helps them get to Heaven which is what the goal is anyways.

 

Ana P.: I can say that sometimes “flirt to convert” works, in a convoluted way sometimes. In my situation, though, the guy saw (and he told me this) how in love with my faith I was, and how much joy it brings me. We broke up. This easter vigil, he’s entering the Church.

 

 

On the Cons side:

Illyana M.: Honestly for me even though people joke about it and make it seem harmless I feel like it’s very dishonest and makes the person appear untrusting. A person shouldn’t necessarily convert because of another person but because they found God. A person could have led them to God. Someone they fell in love with could have led them to God. It amazes me seeing people convert because they want to marry the person they love.  There’s the other side I see though where a person is brought to God from another but their relationship if it was friendship or significant other ended and the person becomes lost afterward. I don’t know where flirt and convert started but people I know who aren’t catholic find it rude and intimidating like Catholics or other religious people can’t be trusted with their hearts, their choices, or best interests. Another thing is I’ve found some people to be prideful over situations where they dated a non christian, brought them to the faith, but broke up over time. I find it disrespectful towards a person’s feelings and wrong to take credit for something I think God helped with.

 

Emily A.

  1. If it doesn’t work, your heart gets put through a meat grinder
  2. You can potentially objectify the person because you love them for who they could be and fail to see who they actually are – people aren’t projects.
  3. It takes a vast deal of maturity to truly love someone in a way that will lead them to conversion, and this also requires acceptance that they may in fact never convert- so you can’t go in with the intention of making it happen, that’s totally counterproductive and unrealistic.
  4. It can give you a false sense of intimacy, as well as cause you to feel as though you are solely responsible for “saving” this person which can cause resentment and frustration on both sides
  5. As one who tried it in both romance and with a friendship and got seriously screwed over as a result, 0/10 do not recommend.  This doesn’t mean don’t be a witness, but don’t ever make it your “goal” to convert someone. Just take them as they are, be an example, answer questions, and yes, pray for them. But realize that’s all you can do and they have free will and you shouldn’t try to manipulate that with emotional connection, because if they potentially do begin the conversion process and you break up/things go sour, it’s going to potentially undo everything anyway.

Siobhan F.: I know a girl who dated a guy and converted because of him. When they broke up, her entire spiritual life was dependent on him and she fell away from the church. She didn’t know how to be Catholic on her own. One of my friend’s had a boyfriend whose spiritual life was dependent on her and when her faith was shaken, so was his. He had no faith life of his own.

Are you going to be okay if this person never converts? Is it going to become an issue in your relationship later on? Are they going to drag you away from the Church? Are you going to turn into someone who just badgers them?
If they don’t convert, you have to consider your future kids. If you’re a woman, your child’s future faith is mainly dependent on the faith or lack thereof of their father. Are you willing to risk your children’s faith? Going to Mass without Daddy? Would your husband support them in the faith? Go to Mass with you even as a non-Catholic? Say prayers with you? Encourage family prayer time? Will your husband be okay with NFP? Will this be a point of tension in your marriage?  So. Flirt to convert = bad.

Kathryn O.: My mother points out that it’s kind of silly to go out with someone, or flirt with someone, who’s so weak in their faith that you readily believe you can convert them.

 

In Conclusion:

While all things are possible with God, I would advise to Catholic young adults to make sure that if they are gonna date outside of the Church, proceed with extreme caution and do not make this relationship into a conversion project.

A Different Kind of Tinder: The Differences Between The Hookup Culture, Friendship, Casual Dating, and True Love

Clusterflunk stock photo.

I practically live on the internet. I wrote a post about how awesome it is to have friends on the internet. I love that I can be open about my faith online to friends and acquaintances who see themselves as atheist, agnostic or “spiritual but not religious” without having any kind of yelling or belittling of myself or my beliefs. But I still have friends in real life as well and while I have a lot of social networks, I haven’t signed up for any online dating sites or installed any kind of dating apps on my tablet. Hypothetically, if I were to ever go out on a date, I’d want to meet the guy in real life, have him ask for my number, and take me out to dinner. It sounds old-fashioned, I know.

One reason I don’t go on dating sites is for one thing, all the good ones are too expensive. I do know people who’ve met and even married people they met online, but as I said before, I’m an old-fashioned romantic. I want to get to know the guy I’m with as an actual person, not just chat with him on Facebook or talk via text messaging. It takes me completely out of my comfort zone, but hey, nothing safe is worth the drive.

There’s an article from Vanity Fair going around called “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse.'” It’s a pretty long article that comments on how fast and easy the hookup culture has become with the popularity of apps like Tinder which focus more on getting someone to spend the night with than getting to know a person. But honestly, I don’t see how that’s different from two strangers going to sleep with each other after meeting at a party or a bar. The hookup culture has been around for decades. It’s just that it’s happening faster now.

I don’t blame this so-called “dating apocalypse” on apps like Tinder. I blame the hookup culture. I get the desire of wanting to be with a person, but too many people are accepting of this idea that hookups are okay without thinking of the consequences, physical and emotional. There’s this dizzying, contradicting logic that  people can have sex without consequences and yet somehow still find true love if the person is also someone you want to be with outside of the bedroom.

So why do I cultivate the majority of my friendships online but prefer to find my dates in the real world? To be honest, it’s because online, it’s easier to find people who share the same interests. I can talk about Buffy as much as I want to with my fellow online friends because we all understand our love for the show and the characters. But at the same time, I hope I can meet these friends at a convention. Eventually, even with online friendships, there’s a desire to know the person in the real world. The reason I want to find my dates in the real world is because I’m not just looking for someone I talk about Buffy or Doctor Who with. I’m looking for a future husband.

Casual dating about knowing what kind of person you like to be with and hopefully learning some emotional maturity in the process. Casual dating is not for everyone. For me, casual dating helps me to not get my expectations too high. Love doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. While I’m okay with just getting to know guys and casually dating them without any expectations of a relationship or marriage right now, eventually, there will be a guy who will go the extra mile for me and I’ll want to get too know him more than any other guy. In other words, when it comes to dating, I’m cultivating love with a different kind of tinder.

The tinder that comes with authentic love is loving the other person as a person, not just as a means to an end. I’m not saying to go out on a date and talk about wedding bells and a white picket fence right away. I’m saying that you need to know the person you’re going out with as a legitimate and actual human being, created by God for a purpose. Eventually, the right person will come. But until then, there is no need for the instant gratification of a swipe and the ego boost that comes with a person thinking you look hot enough to spend the night with. I struggle with lonely nights just as much as anyone else, but I also know, that there are ways to deal with my loneliness that doesn’t require an app or an internet connection. I hope that others will come to realize that as well.

Nice Guy Syndrome, The Friendzone, and Entitlement Mentality

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Whenever I scroll through my dashboard on Tumblr, one thing that keeps popping up is this thing called “Nice Guy Syndrome.” “Nice Guy Syndrome” is (according to the Tumblr hive mind) when your average guy complains about his lack of relationships even though he acts nice to women. Most guys with “nice guy syndrome” complain about being stuck in the friendzone.

A good example of “Nice Guy Syndrome” or being stuck in the friendzone can be seen in “Prophecy Girl” (Buffy season 1, episode 12). Ian AKA Passion of the Nerd analyzes this scene in his Buffy Episode Guide. The scene I’m talking about starts at the 2:23 mark and the analysis of said scene ends at 4:17 so if you haven’t seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I recommend you stop the video at that point to avoid spoilers.

I totally get Xander wanting to ask Buffy out, but at the same time, I understand why Buffy turns Xander down, too. It’s not even that she has a crush on Angel, which Xander complains about later, but she sees him as a friend, plain and simple. (Also, kudos to Willow for refusing to be Xander’s rebound.) Xander thinks with his passion, but he lacks clear judgment and empathy, an issue that continues on for the rest of the series. One major thing I hated about the show is that they never showed Xander getting over Buffy. Even when he moved onto relationships with other girls, Xander still interferes in Buffy’s life, namely pushing her to stay in a relationship with a guy named Riley even though they’re all wrong for each other. (Not to mention the crap that went down in Season 6 but that is a completely different blog post.)

Now while it’s true girls fantasize about bad boys (I’ve mentioned my drooling over Spike on here, right?), they also fantasize about having the perfect gentleman as a husband as well. (Exhibit A: Mister Darcy from Pride and Prejudice) I don’t like guys who only act nice just so they can get a girlfriend. Guys should be nice to girls because you should love your neighbor as yourself, not as a means to an end.

But unfortunately, girls are just as guilty of acting bitter over guys they can’t have. Trust me when I say I’ve been there and done that. My boy-crazy phase was basically like Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” I would see this cute guy and immediately think that I’ve fallen in love with him. I’d act all nice to him, doing my best to flirt (usually with spectacularly awkward failure), but the minute something goes wrong, I start panicking. I start seeing any girl he’s friends with as a rival. And yeah, I’d eventually write the guy off as all wrong for me, spend some time single and then boom, onto the next guy.

Things have thankfully changed since then. I hang out with my friends, which consist of both guys and girls, but I don’t expect anything out of the guys. Even the cute ones. This is because I’ve accepted my life as a single person and don’t feel entitled to having a relationship just because I want one. Believe me when I say that I get lonely and I miss being in a relationship sometimes and I hope to have a good relationship sometime in the near future. The difference between now and then is that I recognize that the guys in my life are people too, not just means to an end.

The thing about the friendzone is that it comes from an entitlement mentality. People act nice as a means and think that they can have the perfect guy or girl if they act a certain way. But a relationship built on the expectations of getting everything you want isn’t healthy. A good example of that can be seen in Buffy and Riley’s relationship during Season 5.

 

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Buffy is the Slayer, which means that she has super strength and speed and can kick a normal guy up and down the curb without breaking a sweat. Riley, being a normal guy, felt emasculated by the relationship. It eventually led to him seeking pleasure from prostitutes and giving Buffy an ultimatum when she finds out. Riley was never considerate of Buffy’s real life issues and constantly made her feel like she had to carry the weight of their relationship. In other words, he felt entitled to having a certain kind of relationship with Buffy that she couldn’t give him. He decided to return to the army and left Buffy picking up the pieces, thinking that his leaving was her fault.

America tends to have a major entitlement mentality when it comes to things. You can see that in prosperity gospel or in the Law of Attraction. But as the Rolling Stones said “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you find you get what you need.” I think if people realize that love isn’t something you’re entitled to, we can start treating each other with more respect.

Screenshots from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are copyright to Fox and Mutant Enemy and are used for editorial purposes only.

10 Tips on Learning How To Date Like An Adult

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There’s this funny commercial from Match.com that kind of sums up the three paths people tend to go when it comes to dating.

The first extreme, as you can see in the commercial, is that people want sex and they want it now. Think Sex and the City or Girls (which is really a poor man’s Sex and the City, in my honest opinion). Teenagers especially are filled with lust. I still remember listening to Leah Darrow’s testimony about how her friends were pressuring her to have sex after Homecoming back when she was just fifteen years old. Many Catholic chastity speakers like Jason and Crystalina Evert preach about the importance of being chaste. Arleen Spenceley said that chastity isn’t abstinence but “a virtue that aims to integrate sexuality with the rest of the stuff that makes us human.” The thing is, though, learning how to be chaste is only the beginning.

The other extreme people go, and this applies to people who misunderstand chastity, is an overemphasis on marriage. Marriage is beautiful, marriage is important, and yes, young adults should date with the intention of eventually getting married. But marriage shouldn’t be a be-all, end-all when it comes to starting out. The way people meet will always be different and I can’t speak for everyone on how one should start out a relationship aside from the fact that you need to treat the other person with respect because they are your brother/sister in Christ, not the fulfillment of your fantasies or someone you’re entitled to have.

Dating as a young adult is vastly different from dating in high school or even dating in college. In this new stage in life, some young adults are already getting married and having babies while other young adults are searching for full-time work and binge-watching shows on Netflix and aren’t ready to settle down but are still going out on dates. I’m gonna be addressing the latter group here. This list is for those who are just starting out in the weird world we call “dating.”

1) Don’t stay stuck in the past. The first thing people need to learn when it comes to dating as an adult is that this will be an entirely new experience so don’t compare the person you’re dating to past relationships. You don’t want to compete with the ghosts of your significant other’s past so don’t put them through the same comparison process. Also don’t compare yourself to how you were in past relationships, either. Learn from the past, but move on from it.

2) Don’t be pressured to go the whole nine yards. If you’re just starting out, it’s good to go out on group dates where there’s less pressure or meet the person at events where there will be lots of people. You don’t have to start out with the whole flowers and dinner kind of date. Go bowling or play laser tag or volunteer together. If it doesn’t end up working out with them, at least you had a good time.

3) Don’t let your relationship define and consume you. Love as adults isn’t obsessing over the other person the way you would over your favorite TV show or sports team. Adult love means that we come into the relationship as ourselves and the best kind of love is one where we maintain our authenticity and integrity. You shouldn’t bend over backwards to try and please the person you’re with. Real love is the kind where the one we love stands beside us instead of making our choices for us or trying to take the parts of us that they like and putting the rest of us in a box. If the person you’re dating seems to be a control freak, get out of that relationship ASAP!

4) You are not entitled to have a relationship just because you want one. Let’s say that you have a crush on somebody and you’ve had feelings for them for a long time. Then you ask them out only for them to turn you down. As someone who’s been “friendzoned,” here’s some advice. When the person you want rejects you, you have to accept it and move on. Don’t beg or lash out at them or take your anger out on someone you see as “competition.” Your heart is going to break, but you can’t hate a person for not wanting you.

5) It’s okay to avoid exes. If you had a particularly awkward rejection or particularly sucky breakup, you do not have to talk to your ex if you run into them somewhere. On a related note, don’t stalk them on social media either. Defriend and unfollow ASAP from every social media you have connected with them. Delete their number. You can’t heal from the hurt if you keep thinking about the person who caused it.

6) Don’t put so much importance on being “official” right now. Give the relationship time to grow before anything becomes “Facebook official.” Chances are that you’re still getting to know the person you date. Take it easy on yourself and start out as friends. Life isn’t like a Nicholas Sparks or a Hallmark movie where you meet the right person right off the bat. Some relationships take time to grow.

7) Don’t be a perfectionist. Girls especially have a tendency to read into every minute detail and action that goes on during dates. I implore you to put aside the worry. There’s also a tendency for people to hold the one they’re dating to impossibly high standards. Don’t write off a person just because he showed up five minutes late or you don’t agree on everything. Focus on what’s important. It’s more important that the date showed up at all rather than promising something and not showing up without a very good reason for standing you up. It’s more important that you agree on, say, what beliefs you share and how much you actually value those beliefs than whether or not DC is better than Marvel.

8) Chastity is still important. You don’t have to hold hands or be touchy-feely with the person you’re dating if you are uncomfortable with that kind of affection. There are many ways that people can express their love for someone else. That being said, physical and emotional chastity are always going to be important when it comes to dating, even when you’re starting out. This is why you need to take things easy because putting your whole heart into something that’s just starting out will have major consequences later on.

9) If you’re dating someone who doesn’t share your beliefs, proceed with caution. While flirt and convert is a very popular catchphrase amongst Catholics, you don’t want to date someone with the sole mission of trying to change them. You can’t force someone to change unless they themselves want to change. The person your dating is still a person, not a project. It’s good to hope that the life you lead will inspire the person you’re dating and if you’re like me, your faith is probably part of everything that you do. But when you just start out with a person, it’s better to keep evangelizing off the table for the time being.

10) Pray through everything. When you first meet someone, pray. When you’re just starting out as friends, pray. And regardless of whether things progress into something more than friendship or if things stay platonic, you need to pray. God is the one who created your heart and He will get you through whatever happens. Offer your heart to Him so that if it breaks, He will fix it. Pray for the person you’re dating so that they will be led to whatever God wants from them.

The point I’m making from this list is that real, authentic, grown-up love isn’t about getting what we want all the time. It’s not about the emotional highs or kissing or being “Facebook official.” It’s about wanting the good for the other as other. It’s about learning more about who we are when we’re around other people.  And when we start out in this weird world we call “dating,” we still have marriage in mind, but it’s not an urgent matter. The more important thing is to treat the person we’re dating as just that, a person, an equal.

"But They're Not My Type!" – Balancing Standards and Flexibility in Dating

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As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Taylor Swift. I really hope I’m not jumping the gun when I say this, but as I showed in a previous post, I’ve been very supportive of Taylor Swift’s recent relationship with Calvin Harris. Her recent posts on Instagram (as well as one post from Calvin Harris) has only made me all the more excited. But what makes this particular relationship interesting, aside from the fact that Taylor is being open about it, is that before they met, Calvin Harris didn’t consider Taylor Swift to be his “type.” Given what I know about Taylor’s relationship history, Calvin wasn’t someone she would’ve considered dating in the past, either.

We all have this image of the “type” of significant other we want to have. We have an idea of what love is and what the perfect relationship is. If you asked me what my type was, I would show you a picture of my favorite vampire from Buffy, the one with the bleach blonde hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and bad boy attitude all wrapped up in a black leather duster. My relationship history, however, has been very different from that. I dated different types of guys in the past: a dry-witted boy next door who liked The Godfather, a wild-eyed bad boy that always made me laugh, and a guy that I met in a ballroom dance class who couldn’t sing on-key to save his life. Growing up, my “type” was similar to the one I still have, except I wanted a nice, romantic guy who was taller than me and a big brain. There were parts of my “type” in each of the guys I crushed on and/or dated, but none of those guys were everything I pictured in my head.

It’s one thing to have standards when it comes to dating. We need to make sure that we’re safe, after all. But life can’t be like The Ugly Truth or Hallmark’s The Wish List, where a girl has a long list of things she wants in a guy and judges every guy she meets based on that one list. When it comes to dating, you gotta be flexible to some extent. What exactly is a “deal breaker” for you? There are things to keep in mind, like making sure that we stay chaste when dating and not go after married men, but we shouldn’t turn down a guy just because he doesn’t dress nicely or likes a kind of music that we’d rather not listen to.

Dating in the 21st century has turned into a balancing act: making sure you stay safe, but at the same time being willing to risk your heart. You have to think ahead, but enjoy the moment at the same time. Most of all, you have to be sure that you still love God and yourself and not make an idol out of the person that you’re dating or the ideal relationship you have in your head.

Relationships aren’t fairy tales that end with a happily ever after. They’re messy and broken and change as we get older. Relationships are a lot like this spoken word poem by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye:

The best advice I can give about dating and relationships is to offer it up to God. Just when you start to accept that you’re single and not ready for a relationship, He’ll probably turn around and surprise you. After all, as they say “Man makes plans, God laughs.”

 

50 Things to Do Instead

Instead of what you may ask?

Instead of seeing or reading Fifty Shades of Grey. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not go out to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Don’t even read the book or its sequels. Both of them are different forms of soft-core porn that promotes domestic abuse and violence in relationships. So here are 50 things you can do for Valentine’s Day instead, whether you are single or in a relationship.

 

10 Movies I Recommend

 

  1. The Princess Bride. A classic fantasy/comedy that stars Cary Elwes, the only actor I know so far who’s 100% JP2 approved. (Inconceivable, you say? Read this if you don’t believe me!) And even if you’ve seen the movie before, I highly recommend re-watching it.
  2. Casablanca. This is a classic movie that is both romantic and historically significant. I got introduced to the movie in history class and my teacher said outright that it was basically an allegory of what was going on during WWII, specifically, the call to get America involved in the war.
  3. Clueless. A classic teen chick flick. Before the days of Mean Girls, this was the go-to high school chick flick. The technology is a bit dated, but the fashion’s making a comeback. Besides that, where do you think the styles from that Iggy Azalea video came from?
  4. Mean Girls. Because why not? This and Clueless are suggestions for singles, but I think this movie can be funny enough for guys to enjoy.
  5. Any movie with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn (Holiday, Sylvia Scarlett, The Philadelphia Story, and Bringing Up Baby.)
  6. Any movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Or just any Meg Ryan movie. Most Hallmark movies wish they were Meg Ryan movies anyway. Just not that Meg Ryan movie with Nicholas Cage. A romantic lead, he is not.
  7. Fireproof. A movie about a couple struggling with their marriage and a firefighter struggling with his faith. I love this movie as a whole, even if some parts tended to bug me. Still, I think it’s a great movie to watch.
  8. Gimme Shelter. A movie about a foster child looking for a home. This isn’t a romantic movie, but shows that family can be found in a lot of places.
  9. Return to Me: A movie starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver. Another movie about finding love where you least expect it.
  10. If you have to go out to the movies on Valentine’s Day, I’d rather you see one of two movies: Old Fashioned or The Last Five YearsI’ll be posting reviews on both of these movies later this month, but I’d be lying if I’d be saying that I wasn’t looking forward to The Last Five Years more. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good musical.

 

 

10 TV Shows I Recommend

 

  1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Why would I want to watch some cheesy 90s show about vampires, you might ask? Because it kind of is and it kind of isn’t about vampires. Watch this video a fellow Buffy fan made and see if it intrigues you. For those who haven’t watched the show, I recommend that you start by watching “School Hard.” It’s not exactly a romantic episode, but it establishes a lot and has a lot of action. And there are some stuff dealing with relationships in that particular episode as well. For those who’ve watched the show and want a good episode to watch for Valentine’s Day, I recommend “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Lover’s Walk,” “The Prom,” “Once More With Feeling,” and “Tabula Rasa.” Full-on marathons of your favorite season or episodes are also recommended, but just remember you’ll probably be crying when you’re done.
  2. Doctor Who: This one kind of speaks for itself. Who doesn’t love a little wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey? If you haven’t watched the show, I recommend “Blink” or “The Eleventh Hour.” If you have watched the show, I recommend “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” two-parter, “School Reunion,” “The Girl in the Fireplace,” “The Shakespeare Code,” “Partners in Crime,” “Vampires of Venice,” “Amy’s Choice, “The Lodger,” “The Doctor’s Wife,” and “The Girl Who Waited.” Or just marathon your favorite season/Doctor.
  3. Firefly: This is for those who love sci-fi that kind of breaks out of the norms of the clean and lens-flarey stuff of Star Trek and Star Wars. While I’m a casual fan of the latter, I’m a bigger fan of the former. If you never watched the show, start with “The Train Job” or “Out of Gas” or the film Serenity. If you’re looking for a romantic episode, I highly recommend “Shindig” which is my personal favorite or “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” Marathoning this show is also easy enough, but will also likely leave you crying in the end.
  4. Pride and Prejudice. The classic 1995 BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle I also recommend most adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion.
  5. Death Comes to Pemberley: Based on a fan-created sequel to Pride and Prejudice, this mini-series combines a murder mystery and the romance of period dramas.
  6. The Bible mini-series. Might as well get started for Lent!
  7. The Office: A favorite of many of my friends. Emily Allen says “Even though they have sex outside of marriage, they are open to life/happily welcome a surprise baby, they get married, and seeing how they work through their issues is like hella inspiring. I actually wrote a persuasive essay on ways they embody Christian marriage on secular TV.” She recommends watching the Jim and Pam-centric episodes. Office fans, please do me a favor and comment an episode you’d recommend to non-fans.
  8. Gilmore Girls. This is mostly for the ladies. I grew up watching this show, so I honestly wouldn’t know what episode to recommend to non-fans. Just watch the first season on Netflix and see if you like it.
  9. RWBY. I recommend this show to fans of action-oriented animated shows. It centers on a group of female protagonists who fight monsters. There’s a lot of fairy tale/folklore themes and lots of fight scenes. Keep in mind, though, that this show was independently produced on a shoestring budget, so production values aren’t A-grade. But if you want a show with dynamic characters, I highly recommend it. It’s available on YouTube and Netflix.
  10. Youtube adaptations of literary classics. This has become the latest trend in online video. It’s also a great way to take a fresh perspective on classic literature. I personally recommend The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Autobiography of Jane Eyre, and A Tell Tale Vlog. There are other adaptations for works such as Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Much Ado About Nothing. Check them out if you’re interested.

 

 

10 Books to Read

  1. Anything by St. John Paul II, especially Love and Responsibility, Theology of the Body, and The Jeweler’s Shop
  2. The Beginner’s Guide to the Theology of the Body by Christopher West. It helped me understand Theology of the Body a lot.
  3. The Bible: Specifically the book of Ruth, Song of Songs/Song of Solomon, the book of Tobit, the Gospel of John, 1 Corinthians, and any of John’s letters.
  4. The Four Loves by CS Lewis.
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray. If you have to be with a Mister Grey, I would rather you learn the story of this tragic figure whose narcissism led to his own undoing. I think the themes of this book still apply today.
  6. The Five Love Languages. 
  7. Anything from Jane Austen. In particular: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion. I also have a soft spot for Mansfield Park, but I’ll go into why I don’t recommend it in a later post.
  8. Anything by Jason and Crystalina Evert. Especially How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, St. John Paul the Great: His Five Loves, Purity 365
  9. Chastity is For Lovers by Arleen Spenceley. See previous posts as to why.
  10. Woman In Love by Katie Hartfiel. See previous posts as to why.

 

 

20 Activities

  1. Prayer. Go to Adoration. Go to Daily Mass. Pray the Rosary.
  2. Spend $50 on something other than the books or the movies or anything relating to Fifty Shades of Grey. Donate to a battered women’s shelter or give that money to a homeless person.
  3. Carve something out of soap
  4. Learn calligraphy
  5. A Metropolitan Opera version of The Marriage of Figaro, even if you think you hate opera.
  6. Write an actual letter to someone you haven’t seen in a long time.
  7. Play. Play in the snow if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line and have snow in your area. Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart. Play board games. Play card games. Play dominos.
  8. Go to Half-Price Books.
  9. Spend an evening doing photo shoots with your friends or your significant other. “Doesn’t have to be sexy unless you want it to be, but it’s a good way of slowing down and taking a good, slow look at the person you’ve gotten used to living with, and it makes the photo subject feel really special.” -Simcha Fischer
  10. Use a Saint Randomizer to find a saint and read/learn about them. Pray for their intercession.
  11. Dig out old photo albums/diaries and look at the pictures/read the entries.
  12. Go to a national park. Admission is free from Feb. 14-16th for President’s Day Weekend.
  13. Make a Valentine’s day basket (candy, cards, cheap gift) and give it to someone in person. Give it to a homeless person.
  14. Send flowers to someone for no reason. Hand roses out to people on the street
  15. Look into various religious orders/vocations.
  16. “Couple of months ago, we went out to a noisy, beery pool hall for a date. SO MUCH FUN. So different from an evening at home with the kids and the dog. It was like the best parts of being in college again, without all the existential angst.”- Simcha Fischer
  17. Trampoline dodgeball
  18. Zip lining
  19. Horseback riding
  20. Spend your day doing random acts of kindness like paying for someone else’s coffee or meal, taking over someone else’s chores for the day, baking cookies for someone. I can make a list of 50 random acts of kindness to do. In fact, that’s probably what I’ll be posting on Monday.

Chasity Is For Lovers: A Review

First of all, I think a really good alternative title for this book could be: You Say “Virgin” Like It’s a Bad Thing. I’ve read books about finding love and the standards one should have when it comes to relationships, but the best thing about Arleen Spenceley’s Chastity is For Lovers is that it provides a lot of perspective on being single.

I love that she saw her dating history as a series of learning experiences. Yes, she cried and racked her brain trying to figure out what went wrong, but she eventually learned from her relationships and in my opinion, she has a wonderful, healthy, honest perspective of them. The entire chapter about dating is worth the price of the book alone because it reveals the actual purpose of dating. Dating isn’t about having fun or riding on the emotional highs of attraction, but about finding a spouse and gain learning experiences. And I mean learning experience, not sexual experience. She emphasizes the importance of having boundaries and standards, but never in a way that shames the reader.

Next to the dating chapter, the chapter that deals with the concept of purity has got to be my favorite. I still have bad memories of seeing rants and raves on Tumblr about the concept of purity, smashing of patriarchies, slut-shaming…you know, the usual Tumblr stuff. I want to share this book with those people in particular because purity is a very, very sad misconception. I might start calling the ring I wear on my left ring finger a chastity ring as opposed to a purity ring now.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for people who want a different perspective about relationships. I also recommend this book for people who have misconceptions on purity and abstinence because chastity is very, very different. Bust most of all, I recommend this book for us single ladies. Whether we are single by choice or by circumstances or because we’re all socially awkward, we need to at least appreciate that being single is a blessing and this book will show you why.