This is taken from the little Booklet Clean Love in Courtship by Father Lovasik:
Clean Love in Courtship
CHOOSING A PARTNER
The decision of supreme importance in your life is the choice of a helpmate for life. The consequences of that choice reach even into eternity. It follows that your choice should be made with the greatest care, prudence and wisdom.
Company-keeping and courtship have no other reason for existence except to assist you in becoming better acquainted and in making a wise choice. Acquaintance and friendship between the sexes should be fairly extensive. Dances, dramatics, and social affairs are designed to promote such acquaintance. Meet many young people of good reputation and character. Mingle and talk with them in a friendly way. Learn their interests, disposition and character.
Out of many friendships you are likely to form one based upon disposition, character, training, outlook and convictions—one which will ripen into conjugal love.In courtship you must first of all be true to yourself. Because a choice is made while the emotions tend to disturb the even functioning of the mind, you stand at that time in particular need of guidance.
The advice of parents, the priest, and of other sensible people of experience should be sought. Do not make the mistake of confiding in no one about your choice of a helpmate in life. This would close the door to many helpful suggestions and perhaps open it to an unfortunate marriage. Love is blind. Commonsense can give it eyes.
So keep at least one ear attuned to the voice of reason. Do not be content to gaze upon the beauty of the face of your sweetheart, but learn to penetrate to the disposition and character with which you must live when the bloom of youth has gone.
Beauty vanishes, but character remains.Do not rely on superficial factors. Character, piety, disposition, intelligence, understanding, sympathy and unselfishness are the things which count in creating a happy home and a permanent union.
Be on your guard against elements which make for separation and divorce. One of the chief causes of these disorders is that the couple discovers after marriage that they are mismatched; they have little in common. They are uncongenial in temperament and disposition; they differ in moral character and in religious outlook, in culture and tastes.
Association loses its charm; boredom sets in and finally leads to aversion.Test yourself to find out if you are really called to married life with this particular person. As soon as you realize that such a union does not and cannot appeal to you, gently discontinue the courtship regardless of consequences.
It is better to part as friends in good time than to be compelled either to live together very unhappily for life, or to separate as enemies later on. After all, it is the purpose of courtship to learn this very thing.Courtship should be entered upon with a deep sense of responsibility and mutual respect.
Intelligent choice of a mate must not look only to mutual physical attraction, but more so to harmony of tastes,feelings, desires, aspirations, and of temperament. It must weigh spiritual more than physical values.
What has begun as a mere sex intimacy is not likely to end in a happy marriage.In courtship you must also be honest and honorable towards your partner.
Reveal yourself and your family and personal stature with sincerity and truth to the extent to which he or she has the right to this information. However, there are certain things of a family or personal nature one need not and must not tell, such as personal repented sin. They are best left buried and forgotten.
No one except God should ever know of past sins. As soon as you know that a person has no prospect whatever of marrying you,you are in duty bound to discontinue receiving his attentions.
After you are engaged to be married, you can no longer keep company honorably with others, as long as this engagement holds.Listen to the wise voice of the ancient Church which has seen millions of young couples through happy marriages and has only their earthly success and eternal happiness at heart.
The Catholic Church warns you in advance that you will pay a heavy penalty for negligence, haste, and rashness in choosing a partner.
Before she admits candidates to the priesthood, she requires them to spend long years in training and discipline, meditating all the while on the seriousness of the step they contemplate.
Yet Holy Orders imposes no obligation of greater duration than that imposed by matrimony. Refrain from beginning to keep regular company too soon. If you begin to do so at sixteen or seventeen years, you expose yourself either to the danger of a premature marriage with its frequent mistake of poor choice or you court the hardly lesser evil of an immoderately long courtship with the attendant disadvantages.
You tie yourself down to one person and thus lose the social advantages and contacts that will have a great influence upon your later life. You expose yourself in a special way to temptations against chastity, because this love affair may be a very prolonged one, and the danger of violating chastity increases as the affection is prolonged.
If you begin “to go steady” while you are a student, you will find it almost impossible to do justice to your studies.Since courtship limits your interest to a single person, it should not be undertaken until you are in a position seriously to consider marriage in the not too distant future.
This presupposes that you have attained the age to understand the great responsibilities of marriage and that you have enough financial resources to establish and maintain a home.
Marrying in haste nearly always means repenting bitterly at leisure. Do not prefer to be sorry to being certain.While the Church warns against courtships of undue brevity, she likewise counsels against those of excessive length.
No hard and fast rule can be laid down determining the exact length of courtship. It should be of sufficient duration to allow young people to learn the character and disposition of each other quite well.
This can usually be done in a period ranging from six months to a year. Ordinarily regular company-keeping should not be protracted much beyond a year. Aside from the obvious moral dangers involved, long courtships are undesirable because they often end in no marriage or in an unhappy marriage.
Grievous injustice can be done to the girl if the man terminates the courtship after monopolizing her attention for several years, and depriving her of other opportunities. Courtship is not the end but the vestibule leading to the great Sacrament.
How to Choose a Marriage Partner
The following questions will not only help you to fit yourself for leading a worthy and holy married life, but also enable you to choose a partner in marriage intelligently.
1.Is your friendship morally beneficial? Are you morally better or worse for having been with him, and what can you expect in the future? Would marriage with him help you to observe God’s commandments and practice your religious duties faithfully?
2.Imagine a crisis in your life (poverty, sickness) that might demand a high quality of virtue to remain faithful to God. Would he be a help to the practice of such virtue?
3.Does he drink too much? Gamble?
4.Does he want to indulge in petting, passionate kissing, even at the expense of chastity?
5.Does he control his temper? Has he a sense of humor? Can he keep a secret?
6.Does he practice his religion?
7.What are his views on divorce, on having children, on Catholic education, on frequenting the sacraments?
8.Can you actually point out any definite virtuous qualities, or are they put on for your benefit now?
1.Is there at least a reasonable degree of similarity between you in regard to the recreations you like?
2.Could you both enjoy staying at home in the evening, especially when children come?
3.Are there any habits now that not only get on your nerves but which you find extraordinarily difficult to overlook?
4.Do you both fit into about the same kind of social life?
5.Does he get along with your family and you with his?
6.Have you both sufficient health for marriage?
7.What are his habits of life: cleanliness, orderliness, good manners, good grammar?
8.Are you able to harmonize judgments on things that pertain to family life: food, kind of house, furnishings, etc.?
9.Have you the same religion and the same standards concerning its practice?
10.Have you the same attitude towards children and their education?
11.Do you feel at ease together, regardless of what you talk about? If you do not meet for some time, are you able to take up where you left off, with something of the naturalness of a family reunion, or do you have to try to work up an acquaintance all over again?
12. Has he a nagging or reforming disposition?
13. Do you see his failings, and are you willing to tolerate them? Does he admit them and is she willing to get over them?
14. With children in mind, would you say that this person would be just the right other parent for them?
III. Self – Sacrifice
1.Is your prospective companion thoughtful of others and has he the power of self-discipline?
2.In his home does he show thoughtfulness of parents and brothers and sisters, and do youget the impression that this is his regular attitude?
3.What little kindnesses, not only to you but to others, have you noticed in him?
4.When he is wrong, does he admit it and try to make up for it?
5.Does he easily and graciously pass over others’ mistakes?
6.Does he look for sympathy too much?
7.Can he give sympathy willingly, or does some one else’s trouble always bring out a greater trouble of his?
8.Does he show that he knows his temper, and that jealousy and other unpleasant traits ought to be controlled?
If It Is A Wife You Want:
I.Can she cook and make the house a home?
II.Has she that womanly quality that instinctively puts things in order?
III. Would this girl be a real mother?
IV.Could she bear children and sacrifice for them?
V.Could she give the child that early introduction to God that he would never forget?
VI. Is she convinced that motherhood is an all-day and an all-night job?
VII. How does she speak of children? How does she treat them?
VIII. What do her younger brothers and sisters think of her?
If It Is A Husband You Want:
I.How does he like children?
II.Does he like to work? Can he hold a job?
III. Has he a sense of responsibility?
IV .Is he “grown up,” or does he have to be pampered?
V .Is he unduly jealous? A braggart? An alibi artist? Is he courteous?
Such questions will bring you down to earth and keep you from estimating things merely on the score of fascination.
Many of the points are not in themselves important; the general picture that is created by the various answers is very important.
Many points cannot be tested out before marriage, but glaring risks can be easily recognized.
Though these characteristics need not be present in a high degree at the time of marriage, the beginnings should be present, or at least a genuine willingness and effort to improve.
If there is question of reforming your friend, it should be done before, not after marriage. Do not put your faith in vague promises which seldom materialize.
If you cannot get along agreeably before marriage, it is almost certain that you will not get along after marriage
.As soon as you have finally resolved to accept one another as mates, if no insurmountable hindrance is in the way, consult your pastor and set the date for your marriage.
You should derive a certain satisfaction from the publication of the banns of marriage because you have nothing to be ashamed of.Before marriage pay close attention to the instruction on marriage and its ethics given you by the priest.
Read a popular and practical treatise on the subject. It may be advisable to make a general confession before entering the holy state of marriage.
Penance is a second baptism. It will gratify you to know that you are beginning married life with a soul entirely free from every stain of sin. This is absolutely necessary for those who have sinned in courtship and have been receiving the Sacraments unworthily in consequence, lest they receive matrimony sacrilegiously and thus be bereft of its graces.
Arrange for a devotional and inspiring church wedding with Holy Mass and the special blessing of God and of the Church. It will always be a beautiful and heartening memory for life.