What images are conjured up by the words “dating fast?” Wait, is that someone not dating by choice? Yes, it’s that and so much more! It can include saying no to casual dating, flirting, making out, and the like; no spending an afternoon daydreaming about your crush or thinking about your wedding; and not encouraging any thoughts of lacking worth or how one relationship will fulfill you.
Wait, isn’t love a great and beautiful thing? Don’t we spend our whole lives looking for love, even if sometimes it’s in “all the wrong places?” Why would we ever fast from love?
I asked myself the same question until one day, during college, I listened to a talk by a priest about friendships between men and women. I realized that many men had not been friends, or even people, to me for a long time. They had become prospects. I was usually on the lookout for that next crush who would hopefully, finally, be the man of my dreams. This caused problems: a lot of heartaches and wasted time, especially the time I spent admiring my crushes on Facebook.
So, I decided to go on a dating fast. I had heard about “the fast” from many other sources, whether from close friends, spiritual advisors, blogs, or even the FOCUS missionaries on my campus who committed to a dating fast their first year of missionary work. But, I had always been skeptical because I didn’t understand what could be gained from a dating fast.
How quickly I learned! I came to realize that fasting shifts our eyes from the trivial to the infinite. It can lift us up and make us better by pushing us to work a little harder and exercise self-control even while we go about our everyday. So, I took the dive and went on a semester-long fast, trying to rid my heart of all the bad thoughts and perceptions I had about love and replace it with the wholesomeness of true love.
Despite how hard and long that semester was, it was one of the most fruitful times of my life. I started seeing the opposite sex and myself as people again: Glorious, flawed, desirable, sometimes obnoxious people, possessing infinite worth. I realized we all deserve more than daydreams, romantic comedies, fantasies, and relationships based only on the physical. We deserve true love, which involves work and hardship and joy and something almost akin to bliss.
To this day, I reap the benefits from that time of fasting. Sometimes, my vision becomes clouded with false ideas of love promoted by magazines, movies, and books. These things try to convince me that I have to have sex to have a good relationship, or that I am not enough if I don’t have a boyfriend, etc. When I’m tempted to entertain such thoughts, I remind myself of what I learned during the fast and I am back on track. There’s no need to start fasting every time I get a little off track. If so, I would be starving myself and that doesn’t help either!
So, to this day, whether I am single or dating, I keep in mind what I have learned: The person you like, or may not like, is first and foremost a person, with goals, dreams, and worth that cannot be fathomed. The same goes for you and me. This mentality has helped me through heartbreaks, hopes, and first dates, and I hope it can help you too.
Kathryn Dionne enjoys writing when she isn’t working for her alma mater, Ave Maria University. She is also a sports enthusiast, despite a soccer injury that cuts her physical exertion a little short. But that’s ok, because watching movies, her other passion, doesn’t involve running, so she still considers herself #blessed. Blogs: glenncococlub.wordpress.com sleeplessincinema.wordpress.com