Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast. ―Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Once upon a time in seminary, a discussion was had between three good friends. The Nativity fast had just begun. The topic came around to dating during the fasting season, and three different opinions were expressed on the subject. The first said that all dating, and searching for a future spouse, should be put aside during these times, to focus on purely Godly things and to avoid the temptation for breaking the fast in other methods. After all, if you’re putting side marital relations during these periods, it makes sense to avoid anything that could lead to them. Sure, if you started dating someone before the fast, then it’s all fine and dandy, continue doing so, but the hunt must end. “If I met the woman who was perfect, I’d knew she wasn’t the one if we met during a fasting season and couldn’t wait to start dating until it was over. But I don’t plan on getting married anyway.”
The second friend countered that, yes, while these times are good times to focus on godly things, there was no reason to stop looking entirely. Perhaps yes, stop actively looking, but one should never close their eyes and mind to possibility. And furthermore, since these periods are a time of godly things, it forces the relationship to attain a higher state–focusing on how this match would work under the eyes of God. It focuses on spiritual connections between a partner, rather than the lustful connections. “And besides,” said friend two, “since we’re abstaining from sex before marriage anyway, does it really matter if we meet during this time? There’s not going to be any hanky-panky reguardless.”
The third friend said, “Whatever guys. I have a date tonight. I just met her, and she seems awesome. I love you all like brothers, but you think too much.” He paused, then said, “With due brogape*, suck it.”
*Brogape: (n) the love and affection between single men, who treat each other as brothers. Simular to agape, but may involve trolling, and noogies.
As for myself, I agree–we often overthink these matters. And furthermore, as for myself, the only season I won’t actively (or generally passively) date is Lent, unless something really wierd happens.
If that something wierd happens, then I have my own set of rules and boundaries that I enact (handholding is okay, but kissing anywhere other than the cheek is not. The idea is again, to force the relationship into a more spiritual mold, with less chances for lust to take over and enable me to do something stupid)
But for the nativity fast? If I meet someone who seems like a good match, I’ll take her out for a nice vegan lasagna.