Courtship goals - Mutual esteem, sympathy and trust
By Fr. Daniel Pinheiro - The purpose of courtship should be to verify the existence of mutual esteem, sympathy, trust and ideals.
Note from the translator: Fr. Luiz Carlos Lodi da Cruz and Fr. Daniel Pinheiro wrote a good number of articles on Courtship that we are translating now.
General View on Courtship by Fr. Luiz Carlos Lodi da Cruz
Ideal duration by Fr. Daniel Pinheiro
Mutual esteem, sympathy, trust by Fr. Daniel Pinheiro
Agreement in ideals by Fr. Daniel Pinheiro (coming soon)
The need of chastity by Fr. Daniel Pinheiro (coming soon)
Means to be chaste during courtship by Fr. Daniel Pinheiro (coming soon)
We took the freedom to break the articles when they were too big for a single email/post and we added images and headings for easier navigation.
Original in Portuguese here.
The Most Reverend Father Lodi says that the purpose of courtship is “the knowledge of the soul of the other”. This knowledge of the soul is to know the qualities and defects, natural and supernatural, of the other, as well as to know what is the “ideal” (the goal) of life of the other. However, the conditions for a young man and woman to be able to safely build a Catholic home are four:
Great mutual esteem;
Deep mutual sympathy;
Deep mutual trust;
Agreement on the ideal (goal);
The purpose of courtship should be to verify the existence of these four conditions or to develop them. What follows is based on the work of Father François Dantec, Fiançailles Chrétiennes.
1. Mutual esteem
Esteem is recognizing certain real qualities and values in the other and appreciating these qualities and values in a particular way. This esteem must therefore be motivated, it must have a real motive and be serious, and not be based on impressions or feelings. This quality and these values are nothing more than the virtues. Here is the true crown, the most precious treasure, for founding a worthy home. Before choosing a spouse, you need to pay attention to his or her moral, natural and supernatural qualities. If there is a serious defect that is difficult to correct in the other, one should not hesitate to break off the relationship. If, on the contrary, the presence of virtues is verified in the other, esteem can be given to the other. This esteem is the first step towards true love between those who want to marry.
Sympathy here means a certain inclination towards the other. In general, it stems from the esteem mentioned above. So also sympathy must be motivated. However, there may be cases where there is esteem without sympathy.
It should be made clear that this sympathy is not a sensitive or physical attraction (…) for nothing is more unstable and variable than sensibility and this physical inclination
The signs of this sympathy are the desire to see each other again, the joy of meeting and talking together, having your thoughts turned towards the other, worrying about the other's problems and concerns, etc... It should be made clear that this sympathy is not a sensitive or physical attraction. It is necessary for engagement and marriage that there be attraction between the two, but an attraction like the sympathy we described above. There doesn't have to be a physical, sensitive attraction that makes the heart flutter. This is of extreme practical importance, for nothing is more unstable and variable than sensibility and this physical inclination. The pretense of building a home on such a shaky foundation is to live in illusion and build on sand. The marriage will fall apart.
Marriage needs to be based on motivated esteem and the sympathy that derives from that esteem by virtue of the real moral qualities of the other. It is clear that the physical and sensitive inclination is not in itself a bad thing and can be a good thing, as long as it does not lead the person to make decisions based on them. If this physical and sensitive inclination is absent, but esteem, sympathy, and the other conditions we will speak of are present, young people can marry with confidence.
If mutual sympathy is absent, it is very unwise to marry. This absence of sympathy can happen even between a young man and woman who are Catholic and virtuous. It would be very unwise for them to marry without liking each other or having a dislike for each other. It would also be imprudent for them to marry if there was some kind of physical repulsion for the other. Grace is based in nature. If in the natural field there are factors that discourage marriage, it would be difficult for grace to overcome such problems. Whatever the cause of this antipathy, whether conscious or unconscious (incompatibility of temperament, difference in age, culture, etc.), it is a very serious contraindication to marriage, as it would expose oneself later to very frequent trials. and very strong, with risk to the marriage.
3. Complete mutual trust
In addition to esteem and sympathy, there must be trust for a happy marriage. The other person needs to be trustworthy, that you can be sure when he says something (it is true).
In the good (times) and in the worst (times), being wealth or in poverty, in health and in sickness, one must be sure of being able to count on the other
This trust is also having a certain security and stability, based on the real qualities of the other. Furthermore, this confidence is to be certain that it is possible to lean on the other to face difficulties, trials, suffering. Married life is completely different from the previous life: the spouse is no longer alone. In the good (times) and in the worst (times), being wealth or in poverty, in health and in sickness, one must be sure of being able to count on the other. To get married, boyfriends/engaged must have this deep trust in each other. This confidence is a reason for a lot of strength and joy for the couple's life. This mutual trust also has the sense that a spouse entrusts himself to the other, that is, that he does not keep secrets from the other. Of course, there are degrees and stages in this mutual openness. The essential thing is that one is at ease with the other (in a good way), to trust the other with everything that is really worthwhile and to tell everything that it would be disloyal or imprudent to hide.