Jul 122015 6 Responses

Date Well to Marry Well

Dating well does not guarantee a successful marriage. Thankfully our lives are not forever determined by the decisions we make in the early months of a relationship. However, the mindset we have while dating will often set the tone for the married relationship. Dating well does put a couple of the fast track for a more successful relationship.

When it comes to dating there is one primary principle which can ensure a healthier relationship. Whether a person is 14 or 40, whenever someone asks me for my number one piece of advice on dating, I always say, “walk slowly.”

We live in a fast-paced world. The speed at which things take place is often overwhelming. While speed is just an aspect of modern life, when applied to romantic relationships, speed kills. (See: Dating to Break Up–A Unique Perspective)

The greatest failure of modern dating relationships is racing through the early developmental stages failing to take the time necessary to mature the relationship before moving to deeper stages. Instead of letting the connection naturally develop, individuals are forcing a connection which will not last. While it will briefly give the appearance of health, it will not have the support structure needed to nurture future growth. The relationship will spring up and die.

Fireworks are the perfect illustration for dating today. The relationship is lit, it races to the sky as quickly as possible, it explodes with great fanfare, and at the moment it is first seen by most people, the relationship is already over.

Ironically what most people see as the sign of great love—two people quickly becoming enmeshed with one another—might be one of the greatest predictors that a relationship will not last. Rarely does lasting love develop at a break-neck speed. And the more a couple tries to give the appearance to the public that they are inseparable, the more obvious it should be that serious trouble is lurking around the corner. (See: Don’t Blame God When You Break-up With Your Boyfriend)

Love is too intricate to happen in a hurry.

So slow down.

I like the words “walk slowly” because it shows movement. I’m not saying two people should relate to one another in a stagnant manner. They should be progressing, but it should take place at a much slower speed than most people prefer. Two people shouldn’t go from strangers to intimate lovers within a month. Trust should be built. Intimacy should be slowly tested. You should have some understanding of how the person might respond to various situations before you freely share the most intimate details of your life with them.

This applies to the physical aspect of the relationship—the physical aspect should always lag behind the process of getting to know one another and making emotional connections with each other. A couple should “walk slowly” in the physical realm. However, “walk slowly” is about far more than just physical contact.

Too many couples race toward emotional intimacy rather than slowly learning to trust one another. It feels as though they are falling in love, but they are actually stunting the potential of their relationship. Healthy intimacy requires trust. It is built experience by experience. It cannot be hurried. I should have to earn your trust before you entrust to me all the details of your life. I need to prove myself to you in small ways before I have the honor of knowing every aspect of your heart. You need to see I can be consistent over time before you are certain about my character. (See: Love a Person, Not the Idea of Love)

Of course there are some who might use this advice to excuse their apathy or fear. While the “slowly” is what I emphasize the most, we can’t downplay the importance of “walk” as well. Some, especially men, stop walking in relationships. They get to a place where they feel comfortable and they refuse to move the relationship forward. I have told multiple women over my career, “He either needs to marry you or you need to move on.” Walk slowly does not mean a relationship should get stuck. There is a difference between wisely taking a relationship slowly in order to get to know one another versus refusing to move the relationship forward because you are scared of commitment.

Walk slowly is a reminder to keep moving forward but to do so at an intentionally slow speed so that the relationship can mature at a proper rate. (See: This Is Who You Want to Marry)

Here is what walking slowly could mean:

Don’t immediately assume exclusivity after a few dates

Resist the temptation to talk/text 24/7 when a relationship first begins

Don’t tell others you are dating after one or two dates

Keep pictures and mentions off social media for a few months

Save “I love you” for when the relationship is headed toward marriage

Intentionally reveal intimate information slowly to see how the person reacts

Focus early dates on activities and having fun

If you are still in high school, don’t talk about marriage

If you haven’t dated for at least six months, don’t talk about marriage

New relationships can be powerful. The euphoria of a new relationship can tempt us to make foolish decisions. If you want to have a chance at a meaningful connection, walk slowly in order to give the relationship time to mature.

 

6 Responses to Date Well to Marry Well
  1. Linda jones Reply

    Kevin, this is definitely one of your best!! It should be required reading for everyone over 12!!

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