Just Because We Got Engaged After 5 Months of Courtship, Doesn’t Mean You Should Too

engaged after 5 months

It’s time to make this official statement:   just because we got engaged after 5 months of courtship, doesn’t mean you should too.”

Let me tell you about someone who rushed into marriage when she shouldn’t have.

Jennifer was desperate to get married, and after reading many books about courtship, she decided to pressure her boyfriend to marry her.  They had been courting for 4 months and she wanted to to ensure she got her ring within 6 months!

Deep down, she knew there were a few troubling aspects of her relationship. For one thing, he was very secretive and would not allow her to touch his phone, even to use his apps. One time, she outright asked him if he was concerned she would see some sensitive texts and he teased that she was acting jealous.

The other troubling issue was that even though he told her he had an annulment years ago, he could never quite get around to showing her the official papers.

But she wanted to marry and she was afraid that 6 months would come and go with no sign of a ring.

So she pressured him until he proposed to her.  He finally did show her the annulment papers and they were married within a year.

They were also separated after five months due to infidelity, and sadly divorced within a year.

Three to Get Married

What Can You Learn From This Story?

Since I’ve been writing about courtship, I have become more and more aware that sometimes readers don’t use posts as guidelines, but as literal maps.

It is important to know that there courtship guidelines are just that: guidelines.

It is true that if you are following “The Four Stages of Courtship”, which I first heard about through Fr Chad Ripperger, engagement usually happens around 6 months, and no longer than a year. However, your mileage may vary.

It is also true that I am really passionate about women not wasting their time. The key to not wasting your time is to get good at sorting and filtering, and knowing when it is time to move on.

The power of NEXT is tremendous.

What if You Are Ready to Be Engaged After 5 Months?

If you go through the proper stages of courtship the proper way: friendship, courtship, engagement & marriage, it is possible you might get engaged after 5 months or 6 months, or 7.

But do not allow the length of days to force you into a bad marriage.

Recommended Reading on Courtship & Marriage

Check out my FB Live Surprise Engagement

6 Ways to Banish Your Unchaste Thoughts

unchaste thoughts

What Are Unchaste Thoughts?

In a nutshell, unchaste thoughts are sexually arousing or impure, sinful thoughts. They come in three  flavors.

  • Involuntary.  The unchaste thought enters your mind and you immediately do your best to banish it from your mind.
  • Involuntary that becomes voluntary: The unchaste thought enters your mind and you linger on it and take pleasure in thinking about it.
  • Voluntary: You set aside a time to think about the particular unchaste thought/activity.  An example would be someone who can’t wait to leave work so that that he could lay in bed, thinking more about something impure he’d like to do.

“If the mind takes pleasure in unlawful thoughts, which it ought to banish at their first appearance, it evidently commits a sin, and this even when it does not propose to itself to execute what it thought.”

~ St Augustine

Moral theology says that we do not sin if an impure thought enters our minds.

But if once you know that what you think of is unchaste and sinful, and nevertheless entertain it with pleasure without fighting against it and trying to banish it from your mind, you commit a mortal sin, because the pleasure in the unchaste thought is entirely voluntary. It is not necessary that you take pleasure in the unchaste object for any length of time; for, to entertain this voluntary pleasure only for a moment, is a mortal sin. That impure thoughts, in which we take voluntary pleasure, are grievous sins, St. Augustine teaches in these words: “If the mind takes pleasure in unlawful thoughts, which it ought to banish at their first appearance, it evidently commits a sin, and this even when it does not propose to itself to execute what it thought.”

Rev. John Evangelist Zohlner, The Pulpit Orator: Low Sunday through the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost Vol. 3 (1884)

When you’re lonely, it is easy to fall into a fantasy life, to look forward to getting home so you can relish those thoughts of how you want your life to be.

If you’re not careful, you can fall into all sorts of sin like masturbation and porn.

How to  Banish Unchaste Thoughts

Here are some ways to banish unchaste thoughts:

Firmly Intend to Not Linger On Unchaste Thoughts

“Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” ~Daniel 1:8.

All good actions require an act of the will. 

Will with all your heart that you will not fall into sin.

By resolving not to sin, you are sending a signal to Satan to stay away. At the same time, you are signaling to your brain over and over that these thoughts are not pleasurable for you, and in time, you will automatically dismiss those thoughts as they arise.

Recognize That You Can’t Do It Alone

The Act of Contrition ends with the following: “I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.”

If you truly want to banish a sinful habit, cry out to God and plead with Him to help  you.   He will help you.

“Holy Purity is granted by God when it is asked for with humility.”

St. Josemaria Escriva

Attend Daily Mass & Adoration to Banish Unchaste Thoughts

“One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion is to preserve the soul from sin, and to help those who fall through weakness to rise again. It is much more profitable, then, to approach this divine Sacrament with love, respect, and confidence, than to remain away through an excess of fear and scrupulosity.”

–St. Ignatius of Loyola

If you are able, attend daily Mass and receive the Eucharist. 

The Eucharist feeds, us and sustains us. 

Offer up your struggles  with chastity and unchaste thoughts to the One who can free you from all vice.

Ask for Our Lady to Intercede for You

“More souls go to hell because of the sin of the flesh than for any other reason.”

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady is our mother and she shows us how to live lives free of impurity. She desires to show us how to please her son.

Specifically, cultivate a devotion to the Rosary.

Many have broken patterns of sin by praying the Rosary every night.

Avoid Anything That Might Create an Occasion of Sin for You

“Jesse thought he was immune to movies with explicit, sexual content. “Most decent movies, have some sort of sexual content,” he rationalized. I can focus on the main theme of the movie and not focus at all on the sexual content.”

This is what he thought until he started to struggle.

At night time when everyone else was asleep, his mind drifted to what he had seen earlier and he began to fantasize about engaging in those same acts.

We are not as immune as we might think.

If you find that social media imagery that enters your feed is an occasion of sin, limit your screen time.

If you find yourself reading websites that contain sexual imagery and content, even if it is not porn, consider using an internet filter like Covenant Eyes.

Read the Lives of the Saints

The Saints lived by example and you can’t read the lives of the saints without having the desire to be saintlier.  Check out some recommended books in the resource section below.

In a world where sexual intimacy is the norm even while dating, it can be incredibly hard to not think about and desire to have sex, as a single person.   Even though it can be hard, a chaste mind totally achievable.   This year,  why not crucify your unchaste thoughts on the cross?

Resources To Strengthen Your Resolve

Chaste Courtship Articles



Lives of the Saints


This content was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020.

Showing Affection in a Chaste Courtship: How Far is Too Far?

How far is too far You’re spending some time at the park with your boyfriend or girlfriend,  and judging by the googly eyes you’re giving each other,  you are both feeling overwhelmed with romantic love and passion,  and want to show it. But how far is too far?

Before you know it you’re embracing, and since you’re good Catholic kids, you’re pacing yourself to make sure you don’t go too far. 

After all, you have your boundaries.   You’ve discussed them and you both agreed to do certain things and not others. 

However, as the minutes tick by, somewhere at the edge of your brain, is a little voice that is telling you that maybe you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing.

The question  of “how far is too far”,  is one that is both easy and complex at the same time.

Obviously, if you avoid all signs of physical affection, along with improper speech, you’re in the clear.

But life is not always like that.

Sometimes you want to show affection to the person you are in a courting relationship with.

How far is too far?

how far is too far

Every couple is different and what works for some might not work  for others. Boundaries defined by couples might differ. So “how far is too far” may be different for different couples, within reason. 

For example, my position when it comes to open-mouth kissing is to avoid it altogether.

Let’s look at some  questions you can ask yourself to make that determinatioon.  

Is Your Intention Arousal or Affection?

how far is too far

Arousal and affection, can get a little muddled, can’t it?

Even a closed-mouth kiss can be arousing, depending on the intention.
Some feelings of desire are inevitable when a man and a woman who like each other spend time alone (don’t spend too much time alone).

How do you know if you’re getting near the danger zone?

Are you experiencing physical signs of arousal?

Do you get a thrill  after going a little further each time? That should clue you that the reason you’re showing affection is either to entice or become aroused yourself. 

Be honest with yourself and identify  your intention. 

Are you starting to fantasize about being married so you can go all the way?

Of course, it is natural for us to desire our future spouses and to daydream somewhat about being one flesh.   However, you should try not to linger  on those thoughts, because they have a way of popping up in when you’re spending time with your beau or gal.

We can’t help the thoughts that enter our minds, but if you start fantasizing about sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend, while expressing affection, you’re already in the danger zone.

By the way, this is the way the devil tricks us in to thinking we’re doing something proper by fantasizing about sex after marriage, when all that’s happening is that we’re getting more and more sex-focused, which can lead to either devaluing the relationship or lowering our guard. 

Do  You Sometimes Fear That You Might Be Going Too Far?

Once you begin to fear going too far, that means your inner radar, aka your conscience,  is warning you and it’s time to take a step back.

You wouldn’t feel that way if both your body, mind and soul weren’t picking up danger signals.

If we would listen to our conscience rather than overide it, we would avoid quite a bit of trouble.

I hope these guidelines were helpful. 

How did you know in the past when you were going too far?

Purity Resources

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12 Questions to Help You Judge Marriage Compatibility

marriage compatibility

When you are seeking someone to marry, it’s important to determine if there is enough marriage compatibility.  Marriage compatibility defines how much you have in common.  In  other words, how similar are you? Those with high marriage compatibility tend to have marriages that last longer.

Your potential spouse does not have to be your clone.  You don’t have to  like all the same things and have the same hobbies, but you should have some things in common.

A good friend of my mom’s married a man who appears to be the exact opposite of her.  She is outgoing.  He is introverted.  She loves to travel and travels several times a year.  He doesn’t like to travel so they take few trips together.

However, neither of them appear troubled by this apparent incompatibility.   He doesn’t care if she takes vacations with her friends and she doesn’t complain that she wished she had a husband who travels with her.

“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.” ~Leo Tolstoy

How Can You Judge If You Have High Marriage Compatibility

Some of the questions  below come from a book called “Clean Love in Courtship” by Fr Lawrence G. Lovasik.

1. What does he like to do for fun?  Can you see yourself enjoying at least some of those activities?

2. Are there any habits now that not only get on your nerves, but which you find extraordinarily difficult to overlook?

3. Does he get along with your family, and you, with his?

4. Have you both sufficient health for marriage?

5. What are his habits of life: cleanliness, orderliness, good manners, good grammar?

6.  What are your attitudes toward food and exercise?  Is he or she a picky eater, gluten-free, vegetarian?

7. Do you agree on the roles of wives and husbands in a marriage?

8. Have you the same religion and the same standards concerning its practice?

9. Do you agree on how to raise children, including whether the wife will stay at home when children are small?

10. Do you feel at ease with each other?  Are your silences comfortable?

11. Can you tolerate her faults?

12. Do you believe he will make a good parent to your future children?

Try answering these questions alone and asking your potential spouse to answer some of  them? It should make for an interesting exercise.

You don’t have to have everything in common to get married, but if you really have nothing in common at all, you should seriously consider whether you are meant for each other, or else you’re in for a very tough time.

What kinds of questions do you ask prospective spouses?

Recommended Reading

This page was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020.