Hi all. I'm pretty much brand new here, so I really don't know how things work. I hope I posted this in the right section; I'm a young adult, so I figured this was as good a place as any. Let me know if I've gotta move it, and I'll do my best.
Maybe a little bit of an introduction about me before I get into what I could use some help with. . .
My girlfriend and I are both practicing Catholics, and have been all our lives. I like to think that I'm really strong in my Faith, and that I do my best to live out God's Will for me in everything that I do. However, I'm having some difficulties with regards to romantic relationships (shocker, I know). I'm really struggling with how to approach the whole dating/courting situation. Unfortunately, modern society seems to have sucked most of the actual personal connection out of relationships, basing them on physical needs more than any actual deep feelings between a couple. I'm not here to complain about the way things are, and how much they need to change. There are enough people determined to change that, and I'm sure I'll jump on the bandwagon soon enough. What I'm having difficulty with is living out a Christian relationship without sucking all the romance out of it. Let me explain. . .
There are so many things to think about when approaching a romantic relationship that you want to last a lifetime. Here's a brief list of a few of the things I keep in the back of my head all the time:
1. Keep God at the center of everything
2. Don't get yourself into situations that you know will lead to unwise/impure/regrettable decisions
3. Make sure that your relationship is always centered around commitment, not intimacy
4. Don't become so enraptured by your partner that you neglect all of your other relationships
5. Think about the bigger picture, instead of living in the moment and doing whatever feels right
6. Don't let your emotions blindly guide you into unwise, impulsive decisions
7. Don't let yourselves spend too much time alone together (like, completely alone)
8. Never go any further physically than you would want someone to go with your child one day
9. Make sure that every action you take will help (and certainly not hinder) your partner's efforts to enter Heaven one day
Now, obviously some of the items on this list are up for interpretation, but for me, this is just the surface of everything I've been taught is important to give priority in a successful relationship. I don't really wanna talk about the in's and out's of what a long-term Christian relationship should or shouldn't entail, I'm not here to start an argument.
What I need help with is that with all of these things always running through the back of my head, I get so bogged down mentally that I feel like my relationship is nothing more than a set of rules, and I'm only romantically involved with my partner because we both live by the same set of 'rules'. This, of course, isn't the case; I know that my girlfriend and I are together because we love each other, and we were meant to be, and whatever else you wanna say about it. But how do I keep my relationship going without letting it turn into a mental workout any time I want to even think about it? With so many different elements to keep in mind, and being so concerned with doing the right thing and not making a potentially detrimental mistake, how do I keep the romance feeling alive and active? When every moment feels almost as though the weight of the world depends on it, it makes it difficult not to get discouraged and depressed about the whole ordeal.
I could really use some help here. I refuse to compromise mine or my girlfriend's integrity by sacrificing what we believe just because it's difficult, but honestly! Is it going to get easier after a year or two, am I overthinking everything, or are pure relationships actually THIS difficult to uphold? I haven't been in a lot of relationships before, but none of them have ever been this trying. Can anyone help me out here? I could really use some quality advice, or at least some sympathy. . .