"There’s no reason to date someone you don’t really think you would marry someday," said Liz.

"I used to actually tell my mom that I was only going to date the person that I was going to marry.

catholic books for dating couples-53catholic books for dating couples-50

God intends marriage to be based on authentic love, aimed at bringing one another closer to Christ.

As Pope Pius XI noted in his encyclical (On Christian Marriage): "To the proximate preparation of a good married life belongs very specially the care in choosing a partner; on that depends a great deal whether the forthcoming marriage will be happy or not, since one may be to the other either a great help in leading a Christian life or a great danger and hindrance.

That turned out to be true for me." The Sigmunds also point out that dating is about family: learning to live with each other’s families, which sometimes can be quite difficult, and preparing to form a new one together.

"Something I always felt to be important for a good relationship is for each spouse to be accepted and supported by the other’s family, and our dating time was often centered on the time spent with each other’s family.

Dating plays a vital role in the marriage-discernment process, giving young people experiences with the opposite gender so that they can learn what types of personalities may be a good match for them.

For Stu and Liz Sigmund of Oconomowoc, Wis., dating was an indispensable factor in their marriage discernment.

"Lastly, let them not omit to ask the prudent advice of their parents with regard to the partner, and let them regard this advice in no light manner, in order that, by their mature knowledge and experience of human affairs, they may guard against a disastrous choice and, on the threshold of matrimony, may receive more abundantly the divine blessing of the Fourth Commandment: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother, (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with thee and thou mayest be long-lived upon the earth.’" "He/she will unleash in you the best, highest and most virtuous version of yourself," explained author and speaker Mark Hart, executive vice president of Life Teen International.

Hart is also known as the "Bible Geek." He and his wife have three young children.

Southern Californian Leslie Lenko depended on prayer and the sacraments to guide her through a tough discernment process before marrying her husband of 20 years. "I remember many times, after work, driving to a beautiful Catholic church for prayer.