I love being on the listening end of conversations about new relationships. I get just as excited about the new connection as the friend or family member who’s sharing the details with me. I have always been a sucker for love and look forward to those around me experiencing more of it. I am also realistic when it comes to relationships. Being married for over 16 years and working as a relationship professional, I know the amount of effort that’s required. Unfortunately, not everyone is equipped with the wherewithal, knowledge or willingness needed to turn a dating relationship into a marriage.
Most people don’t often realize dating is an activity that should be enjoyable, spontaneous and revelatory. What sometimes takes away from these particular objectives is the pressure added to it. Some singles enter relationships with a great deal of expectations. A few of them are unrealistic and often leads to a fast crash and burn. Others are fair, but sometimes requested too soon. As you begin your search for Mr. or Mrs. Right, you must remember this one idea, to stop entering each dating relationship with marriage on your mind. The reality is that not everyone you date has what it takes to be a good spouse and simply put, won’t even be marriage material.
There are phases to dating and if it leads to marriage, congratulations. But we shouldn’t begin the relationship with that thinking initially. Building a friendship first is an excellent starting point. It’s important to make sure you genuinely like the person you’re dating. Asking questions, listening and observing are all necessary to becoming familiar or acquainted with someone. It’s stressful to think about creating a future with someone, you first haven’t even really gotten to know. When you’re looking at a dating relationship through a certain/specific lens, you’re going to miss something, or only see what you hoped you would. It will alter your ability to be open minded, and present, in the moment. You’ll increase the chances of getting sidetracked because your focus is in the wrong place.
We can sometimes be so hasty in wanting to turn someone into a spouse, that we miss having fun while dating. We must first make sure, they are indeed marriage material. I know most of us don’t want to waste time dating someone we have no intentions on marrying. But dating, while fun, is also a learning experience. Through dating you get to learn more about yourself, what you bring to a relationship, as well as what you are seeking in a relationship. Dating can actually prepare you for a marriage, even when you’re dating a person you wouldn’t consider marrying. Knowing what you don’t want, and learning that along the way, helps you create a space and seek what you actually do want in a partnership. You learn what you can tolerate and what you can’t. You begin to recognize your own flaws and the damage they could do to a marriage, if not corrected. Dating is an exploration and it helps to shape you into the future spouse you plan to be.
You can’t be afraid to date just for the fun of it while removing any personal agendas centered on marriage. Make a plan of not going into every new relationship thinking this is your future husband or wife. Again, if it works out that way, perfect. If it doesn’t, look for the ways you’ve grown and prepare yourself for the future. We must stop putting all that pressure on the getting to know you phase of the relationship. I think when we enter a relationship with the thinking this could be the one, we accommodate and overlook things we typically value just to prove ourselves right. Imagine entering the relationship without any expectation of marriage. When it feels right you’ll know it and the relationship will naturally move from one phase to the other. You won’t have to force it.
Bolder Sisters, What are your thoughts on this one idea about dating?