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One of my favorite things to do when I have spare time is to catch a movie. There was no shortage of major blockbuster movies this holiday season – and the one that I was most looking forward to was the final part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. There’s a scene in the movie where the elf Tauriel holds Kili the dwarf and they profess their love for one another. I chuckled a bit during this scene because I knew some of my friends, who were Tolkien purists, would absolutely hate it. Tauriel is not a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book – she was completely made up by Director Peter Jackson for the purposes of adding a female character and a love story subplot into the movie. Some fans of the Hobbit didn’t want to see such huge creative liberties taken on such an amazing story. As for me, I understand why Peter Jackson added the character – every Hollywood movie needs a love story.

Think about it – when was the last time that you went to a movie and there wasn’t some sort of relationship subplot and love story worked into the movie? It’s the one common theme that you will find in almost any movie –regardless of the genre. Hollywood understands that the viewing public will get bored if there isn’t a love story – so you can find one in almost any movie. Why do we get bored? Because love – the kind of love that is selfless, giving, intimate and fulfilling – is what God made us for. Love is the deepest desire of every person and many people will spend the better part of their early life looking for “the one” who will fulfill this deep desire for love and happiness.

Unfortunately, finding “the one” isn’t as easy as Hollywood makes it seem. Our desires for love and romance can lead us astray – sometimes into relationships and situations where we wish the person that we are dating would be “the one,” but in fact, the relationship ends in heartbreak and confusion. Relationships are messy, and making a lifelong commitment to another person – for better or worse – is a pretty big deal. So how do you know when you have found, “the One?” Here’s a few things to consider:

They challenge and inspire you to become the person that you are created to be.

A relationship that is worth a lifelong commitment is a relationship that brings out the absolute best in both of you. Marriage is a vocation. A vocation is the process of discovering who God has created you to be. Therefore, if you are with the person that God has intended for your life, that person will motivate, inspire and challenge you every day to become the best version of yourself.

They won’t speak love with their body before their heart is ready to commit.

Sex is intended by God to be a physical expression of love that communicates the promises of a lifelong commitment. That’s a fancy way of saying that sex renews your wedding vows. A man or woman who wishes to engage in intercourse or sexual expressions intended to lead up to intercourse, before they are willing to make a lifelong commitment in marriage is not worth your time. Ask them to commit, in love, to give you everything and not just their body.

God gives his blessing to your relationship.

God has made you and your future spouse for each other. You cannot know if the person you are with is God’s plan for your life unless you pray (and pray together). The closer you get to Christ’s heart, the more self-aware you become of your own heart. Also, always remember St. Ignatius Loyola’s advice, “Never make serious decisions when in a state of spiritual desolation.” This means, God should always guide the major decisions in your life, not simply your emotions about a person. Trust in God, grow closer to His heart every day, and he will reveal His plan for you.