When dating is hard.

As a Catholic, I believe that dating is for discerning marriage — for discovering the truth about each other. For deciding whether to choose to love each other until death.

Sometimes, dating is fun. You can go to aquariums together and stuff. There are otters at aquariums. Need I say more? Dating is good. If you pay attention, you learn about God and each other and yourself. Sometimes dating is easy — when you’re laughing, or at Adoration, or noticing a new reason to appreciate him or her.

But sometimes, dating is hard, like when there is conflict. Miscommunication. Insecurity. Distance (all the kinds). Inconsiderate decisions. Resistance to vulnerability.

Why I don’t miss Snapchat.

I don’t miss Snapchat. At all. And for lots of reasons. But one of them is the same reason that a Verily editor who recently wrote about Snapchat is sick of the app: some of its filters “Photoshop” your dang face.

She wrote:

In one swipe, my face was transformed to standards that the fashion and beauty industry has been pushing for decades: wide eyes, a petite nose, a thinner face, and a crystal clear complexion. I felt, in a word, ugly.

The filters she decries can be defended as “for fun.” But they are also disguises that reinforce the lies that the shapes of our faces and eyes, the tones and types of our skin, should align with a set of standards that human bodies don’t naturally meet.

What we’ve learned in dating long distance

I sat at the gate a half hour before I would board the plane and cracked open a copy of Harry Potter. It could quell the urge to pout about how I had to spend the morning: traveling 784 miles away from my boyfriend.

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The distance between my city and his is a difficult but worthy hurdle. A molehill that often feels like a mountain. An excuse I use to pout a lot at airports. And doing this — dating at a distance — has required teamwork to make work what wouldn’t work without effort.

3 Lessons and 2 Tips from Chris Donatto

3 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.

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This edition features Chris Donatto, who “has dreadlocks and a beard,” said his wife, Erika. “That’s really the most important thing about him.”

Except, she added, “he’s also a husband, a father, youth minister, and Adore missionary. And Batman. Yes, he’s Batman.” And Chris — ahem, Batman — is gracious today to share three lessons and two tips:

Do not quit.

In 2011, only five weeks before the end of what had been a difficult semester of grad school, I pined for finals week. Being in that place reminded me of what it feels like to aim for the finish line on a dragon boat.

Several springs ago, I spent a season on a dragon boat team and a day competing in the Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Races. It is an art to paddle in sync with 19 other people, which you must do in order to stay on course. It is exhilarating. And exhausting.

The easy part — once you’ve trained — is starting strong. The hard part is staying strong for the rest of the race. Your job is to throw your arm into the air and put the paddle back into the water, over and over, in unison with your teammates. You get splashed and you get blisters. Sometimes your whole body hurts.