5½ Soul-Crushing Traps To Avoid While Dating

No one can resist a numbered list, right? Every magazine at the supermarket checkout counter is full of numbered lists—The Eight Things Your Man Wishes You Knew About Basketball, or Fourteen Super-foods That Melt the Blues Away. Every Web site that wants high traffic is practically a numbered list of numbered lists—Fifteen Celebrity Hairstyles We Love to Hate, or The Read more…

The Lost Art of Discernment

I smiled at the face on my computer’s screen—a MySpace profile pic of a Christian boy with bright eyes and a bass guitar. He was 21 and part of a band made up of a handful of my friends. I was 19 and had seen enough to come to a quick conclusion: I should date him. We texted and talked, Read more…

How My Prayers Transformed My Husband-To-Be

Katie’s story I was 17 when I had the life-changing opportunity to experience the program now known as Franciscan LEAD. This was the week I fell in love. This love had a name and a face and was more indescribable than anything I had ever experienced. It was Jesus who captured my heart and became the first Love of my Read more…

Why you should pray for your future spouse

“Pray for your future spouse.” It’s a beautiful phrase which often serves as a reminder to entrust everything to God – including our love lives. But more often than not we hear the phrase in the low points of singleness, when we’re encouraged to ask God to bring us the spouse we long for. The problem with that is we Read more…

Is it time to change our views of adultery and marriage?

My phone rang mid-day on a Monday—an unexpected call from a friend in a crisis sparked by a spouse’s newly revealed infidelity. I thought of my friend last week as I read a column on HuffPost Wedding, a request by life coach Lisa Haisha to reconsider monogamy, which is a promise implied by marriage but breached by many-a-spouse. The divorce Read more…

Chastity Before Marriage Fosters Chastity In Marriage

Chastity in marriage? Wait. What? Let’s back up and clear up some misconceptions about chastity… The word “chastity” isn’t synonymous with the word “abstinence”: Within this context, abstinence is defined as refraining from sexual intercourse. Abstinence is an aspect of pre-marital chastity but isn’t the endgame. Chastity runs much deeper by giving us a deep reverence and respect for both Read more…

Every Body Talks

Once upon a time I was “just friends” with a boy. But when we were together we would hold hands and were rather affectionate—as if we were dating. This is where it might have been handy if someone had brought my attention to the age-old-adage: “Actions speak louder than words.” We’ve all heard it a million times. And if you’re Read more…

Not All Men Are Bullets

A phone call is jarring when in it, your friend divulges the discovery she made of her husband’s infidelity. Of her boyfriend’s big lie. Of her crush’s double life. Or of his wife. Whatever the breach of trust, the result – at first, at least – is devastating. One person’s choice pulls the path out from under somebody else, somebody who didn’t Read more…

5 Reasons Chastity isn’t just for Virgins

  If you’ve ever lost your way on the purity front, you’ll no doubt be familiar with that feeling of sitting in the chastity talk at school just wishing the ground would swallow you up. I’ve been there, I know how you feel. For a start, hearing how important it is to protect your virginity can bring back the shame Read more…

How to Write a Love Letter (to your future husband)

My small hand reached across the dollar-store’s shelf. I don’t know if it was the roses or swirly script that caught my eye first. But there it was, a notebook covered in fancy, antique designs. My nine year old heart craved this book. After all, a romantic-looking notebook would be necessary for journaling about crushes, wedding dress designs, and ultimately, Read more…

It’s Facebook Official

You know the drill. You’re casually scrolling (mindlessly) through Facebook and then your eyes widen as you think – THEY’RE DATING!? I didn’t even know they were “talking!” You stop for a second and wonder. To “like” or not to “like”? It’s official. Facebook official. Relationships are tough. No doubt about it! Two people attempting to navigate each others’ thoughts, Read more…

How to help a friend who struggles with chastity

Being chaste in today’s world is tough. We are surrounded by a media that says it’s uncool to be a virgin, it’s weird to dress modestly, and it’s outdated to abstain from anything pleasurable. In high school, I had friends who allowed themselves to be objectified and tossed around. Once they were defeated, bruised and heartbroken, they would approach me Read more…

8 Practical Ways to Pursue Chastity while Dating

Seriously, I don’t want to write this post. I’ve been avoiding it for weeks. Just writing the wordchastity makes me feel lame. I wish we had a cooler word to convey the same concept, but any synonyms that I can think of sounds equally awkward. And every time I go to put my thoughts down on how to be chaste while Read more…

Why Am I Still Single?

“I must not be attractive enough.” “I’m too fat.” “If only I were funnier…” Oh, the thoughts that plague the single person’s mind. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy wallowing in singlehood. I’ve exhausted myself trying to figure out why on earth boys wouldn’t ask me out. How could I have so many boy friends, but none of Read more…

Challenging the Chastity Message

I grew up attending Catholic high schools – which meant that I frequently heard chastity presentations as a member of the student body. I’d like to say that I was receptive to the message, but actually I was just the opposite. I recall walking out of a session when I was 16 and I was angry. I didn’t want to Read more…

5 Ways to Tell if You are in Love

She is the last thing you think of before you fall asleep and your first thought in the morning… Your heart races when you see him in the hallway… You can’t remember life without each other…. But is it the real thing? Ask yourself the following questions to shed some light on the topic: 1. Are you in love with Read more…

The Devil Wants You To Settle in Your Relationship

Besides choosing to give Christ my entire heart and life at 18 (after falling in love with Him in the Eucharist), the best decision I ever made was to wait 28 years for the man of my dreams. There were so many times I could’ve settled for a nice Catholic guy who treated me well and bored me to tears. Read more…

It’s Worth the Fight

My butt hurt. I was sitting on the most uncomfortable bleacher that bleachers have to offer, listening to a guy I didn’t know talk to 1,200 high schoolers about…sex. For a nerdy high school sophomore, this was adolescent awkward at its best. The presenter spoke all about dating, marriage, “true love”, etc. which I tended to tune out at 2:00pm Read more…

When is your relationship ready for sex?

I came across a quiz in Seventeen magazine (don’t ask why I was reading it) – asking the question, “Are you ready for sex?” I was intrigued, so I took the quiz. Thankfully, the quiz determined that I was in fact ready. So how did Seventeen magazine determine that I was able and ready to take this step in my Read more…

To the Girl without a Father

The most pandemic wound of our world is fatherlessness. Every little girl yearns to be pursued by her father. She desires to be wanted. She asks the questions, Do you delight in me? Am I worth fighting for? Do you want me? Do you see me? Do you value me? Am I beautiful? Am I enough? When these questions are answered through Read more…

5 Secrets to Successful Dating

There is a strange phenomenon that has happened in our culture, where the elderly, weathered and wise have been labeled as “old” and “obsolete”. We are one of the few cultures in the history of civilization that does not value the elderly for their wisdom. You would think that people would want advice from someone who has been through all Read more…

Searching for Emotional Chastity in all the RIGHT (Media) Places

Several weeks ago I promised you something on the FOCUS Equip blog, and I haven’t forgotten. Below is a list of media that shows love, the way it was intended to be: good, true, and beautiful. Amazingly it does exist, but like any treasure, you have to hunt for it. Because this list is incomplete, please add to it the jewels Read more…

Where are the real men?

I was at an amusement park with my kids recently, where I observed a guy and a girl holding hands. The couple couldn’t have been older than 15.The girl led the guy up to a booth where the goal was to knock over a stack of bottles with a baseball. If you knock over the bottles, you win a big Read more…

Why I’m Waiting to Have Sex Until I’m Married

My inbox is flooded daily with questions from young women saying, My boyfriend says that if I really love him, I’ll have sex with him. If I don’t have sex with him, I’m afraid he’ll leave me. If I don’t give him what he wants I’m terrified he’ll cheat on me. My boyfriend looks at porn and it makes me feel like Read more…

Practical Advice for a Pure Life

Who likes a challenge? Some people really enjoy a daunting dare or being told that something is impossible so they can try it anyway. Well here’s my challenge to you. I want you to go sign up for the next big golf tournament and win it. I won’t accept second or third place – you have to win. Maybe you’ve Read more…

Flirting 101: The 4 Things Guys Should Do

Ah, flirting. That ancient art of trying to get the attention of someone you’re attracted to while trying to prevent oneself from looking like a complete tool. I’ll never forget my friend from kindergarten who thought he would win a girl’s heart by putting all of his toy cars in envelopes and giving them to her each morning as gifts. Read more…

Flirting 101: The Do’s and Don’ts for Girls

So you’ve met a guy. What do you do next? Act interested? But you don’t want to come on too strong. Ignore him? But then he won’t know you’re alive. Knock him to the ground? No, that only works in first grade. Though I’ve landed quite a catch now (shout out to my wonderful husband, Brian!), I remember it all Read more…

The Trouble With Evangedating

e·van·ge·da·ting  1. Attempting to date a non-Christian of the opposite sex with the intent of converting them to Christ, sharing the Gospel. (UrbanDictionary.com) Scenario 1: Girl meets guy through a mutual friend. He’s handsome, funny, and genuine, but isn’t really interested in God, which is important to girl. Guy asks girl out. She hesitates and thinks “Should I go?” Scenario 2: Guy Read more…

So you wanna go on a dating fast?

FOCUS missionaries do a lot of crazy things. They fundraise their salaries. They move to wherever they are told throughout the country. They talk to strangers about Jesus. But perhaps one of the most shocking things they do is give up dating for an entire year. That’s right. All first year missionaries fast from romantic relationships for one year. No dating. No Read more…

What is emotional chastity?

Maybe you’ve heard the term thrown around at your Newman Center. Maybe you read about it in your bible study. Maybe someone used it as their reason for breaking up with you. Emotional chastity, emotional purity, emotional integrity, emotional virtue, whatever people are calling it these days, has become quite a buzz topic in young adult Catholic circles. But what exactly Read more…

Can men and women really just be friends?

Raise your hand if you have had some form of a conversation based around the topic of whether or not men and women can simply be friends. Yep, I can’t even see you, but I know your hand is raised. We’ve all wondered about it, discussed it with our friends and drawn our own conclusions. Some say, “Yes, of course Read more…

The Pledge Card

I consciously gave my life to Jesus when I was 14 years old. I didn’t know all there was to know about the faith (still don’t) but I knew a few important things: I shouldn’t steal stuff, I shouldn’t lie, I should go to Church every Sunday, and I should save sex for marriage. So I made a commitment to stay Read more…

Hey, I just met you . . . So let’s get married?: Emotional Chastity

One day, a handsome, mysterious stranger walked into the shop where I work and I gave him a job. I had no idea where he had come from or how he found me, but we needed the help and he was willing to work. Over time, despite many obstacles, we fell in love – but then he was discovered with Read more…

The Story Behind the Photo

I made this blog because a photo of my husband and I has gone viral on the internet. I wanted to share the story behind the photo for the hundreds of thousands of people who found inspiration through this sweet moment we had. The Story Behind the Photo Moments before I was to walk down the aisle my soon to be Read more…

How to Sabotage your Love Life

During my years in the sorority, I read a lot of great resources on preparing yourself for finding your future spouse. They were very helpful in the journey to finding the vocation God had for me. There was even a recent post on the FOCUS blog about growing in emotional maturity to set you up for relationship success one day! Read more…