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How to navigate dating relationships with St. Joseph


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Cecilia Pigg - published on 03/18/21

In this year of St. Joseph, why not look to him for help to find a good spouse?

You know you’ve got a keeper if your date has St. Joseph’s virtues.

St. Joseph — the man who listened to God humbly, who immediately went wherever the angel told him to go, who worked hard and cared lovingly for the son of God, who shows all of us how to love Mary, the mother of God. St. Joseph can help us get to know God better because he is so relatable — fallen like the rest of us, and just trying to live his life as a carpenter and husband to the best of his ability.

While you’re looking for someone who has his qualities, consider if you’re imitating his virtues yourself. What might a date say about your patience, humility, and ability to sacrifice?

Here are four of St. Joseph’s qualities to focus on..

1St. Joseph put Mary first.

Even when he was going to divorce her quietly, he was thinking about how he could do what was best for her. Someone who has this quality won’t make you wonder if you are important to them or not. He or she will try to incorporate your interests and passions into their life. If you aren’t sure if someone is putting you first, they probably aren’t.

2St. Joseph had a spirit of listening.

He listened to God and to others. Does your date listen to you? Does he or she actively try to get to know what you like and need? Does your date consider what God might want for your relationship? Do you consider what God might want from you?  

3St. Joseph was a good dad.

How can you tell that someone will be a good parent? Well, it’s one thing to be good with kids, but being a mom or dad is more than connecting and playing well with other people’s kids. Instead of checking to see if your date can interact well with toddlers, consider what virtues are helpful in parenting. Two big ones are patience and humility. Every parent makes mistakes, and if you have the ability to accept and learn from those mistakes (while being patient with your child and yourself in the process) you both might come out okay. Additionally, if your date already has a child, then it makes it easy to see what kind of parent he or she might be. 

4St. Joseph was patient during life's unexpected challenges.

Imagine having to move to a different country unexpectedly right after your son’s birth — to escape someone who is trying to kill him. And then imagine that you had been traveling during his birth also, so you haven’t had a normal day at home for a long time. That’s what Joseph and Mary experienced right at the start of their time together. It was probably not how they envisioned their first few years of marriage. In that vein, one thing to notice while dating is how your date reacts to changes in plan. Are they more spontaneous or do they like things to happen the way they are “supposed” to happen? Notice also how you react to the plans changing. Learning to be flexible when things don’t happen how you want them to is an essential marriage skill. 

Sometimes, as much as you think and observe and discern, you still end up not quite sure what to do in a dating situation. If that is the case, and you can’t tell if someone is right for you, check in with St. Joseph in prayer. Ask him for his guidance and intercession, particularly in his special year.


Read more:
5 Tips for using online dating to find a Catholic spouse

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