I saw one of your Road to Cana segments that talks about romance, friendship, and intimacy as part of dating. Can you expand on what is appropriate in a dating relationship for encouraging romance, affection, and intimacy in a chaste and holy manner, especially for those in their 40s?
I haven't been able to find any literature on this subject. The same rules pretty much apply to older singles that apply to younger ones. Dating is a process, and within the process are expectations. The first expectation is that both persons are positively open to finding their future spouse and they are spending time with each other specifically because they want to determine if the other might be that person for their future marriage. The second expectation is that both persons are serious about staying close to God and having a Define chaste courtship dating dating experience.
That means both persons are interested in making sure the relationship develops without having sexually related things happen that are reserved only for marriage. What are those things? Obviously, intercourse is the big one. But also any physical actions that would stimulate or cause arousal. For example, kissing on the lips for a few seconds can be a nice sign of affection and does not typically stimulate or arouse.
But a "French kiss" a kiss with the tongue or prolonged kissing on the lips along with pressing the other against you will naturally stimulate and arouse.
So the rule of thumb is to avoid anything physical that can stimulate and arouse you or the other person to desire something more sexually. You don't want to put each other into an occasion of sin, and you want to respect each other. However, as fallen human nature will have it, people fail in this area and they either try to get the other to do more than they should, or both concede to do more. Scrupulosity would cause one or both persons to see these failures as a sign Define chaste courtship dating the other person is no good for them Define chaste courtship dating to end the relationship.
Or one of the persons might see the other's desire for them sexually as a sign that this person is no good for them because of their sexual interest in them outside of marriage. It's good to not be too hard on each other. It's a challenging age we live in, so we should be quicker to give people the benefit of the doubt and not quick to make them feel bad. Just something to think about.
The heroic goal, however, that all good people of faith should strive for is that they never give up the Define chaste courtship dating they have to give their spouse on their wedding night, which is their body, given to the other in sexual intimacy that bonds the two in marriage and is open to children.
For older single persons who might not be able to have children, this purpose is still the same.
Sexual union is meant to bond the two in mutual love and to be open to life. That openness to life might not come from natural children, but their love will desire to reach out to the children of others and touch their lives.
You asked about romance, friendship, and intimacy. All of these things can be expressed chastely before marriage. And we are really saying is that to be chaste is to not allow those things to happen that pertain to the bodies of each other that only Define chaste courtship dating husband and wife have the "rights" to give each other in marriage.
In marriage, a woman gives one man "rights" to her body for a lifetime, and the man does the same for that one woman. It is an exchange of rights to their bodies for those purposes in marriage.
Romance and friendship build intimacy. They can also build sexual desire. Once sexual desire is aroused, that is when new things have to be addressed, including preserving chastity and determining marriage.
Romancing during dating is simply the process of making the other feel special and uniquely loved. Some people overdo it with what romance is and what they expect romance to be during the dating process. It does not have to be expensive dates and unusual or exotic places to spend time, or love songs or poems written, etc.
But whatever it is that can be done to make the other person feel special or make them smile is romance. Nothing is wrong with any of that in dating. Define chaste courtship dating the friendship is much more important than romance.
To marry someone you can count on, feel secure about and with, whom you can trust, and whom you just can't imagine spending your Define chaste courtship dating without is a precious gift.
Friends do still hurt each other, we must not forget. But friends are always "there" for you.
They can be counted on. They do not come and go based on moods or feelings.
They can be trusted to be your friend, even when you might not be that good of a friend. When you marry someone, you almost want it to be more important to hear "I trust you" than "I love you".
Anyone can just say "I love you", but it's hard to say "I trust you.
This is why I strongly believe that a man and a woman cannot be "close friends" without there being romantic developments. Friendship that grows leads to intimacy. Friendship is powerful, and it is so special. Men need other close male friends, and women need other close female friends.