10 Things I’ve Learned About Dating- Part Two

So yesterday I started a blog about the Top 10 Things I Learned About Dating and only got to number 3 before realizing that it was too long for just one post. This is the follow-up to yesterday’s post.  In case you missed it, this is really taken from the slant of a guy- cause I am one 🙂  In case you missed yesterday’s, be sure to go back and catch those too…

4) It’s your job to establish the parameters for the relationship.

It was months of “being intentional” before we looked at each other and said, “So, I think we’re ready to really take a stab at this thing, and actually start Dating.” It was here that once again, I had to be incredibly clear- especially since the next stage was engagement- the purpose of this relationship was to see if we could actually be married one day. Not that we were anywhere close to shopping for rings or picking out curtains. But that was the ultimate goal. And if either of us got to a point where we knew this thing wasn’t heading for marriage, then we needed to call it off.   And that was what was right for us at our stage of life.

There are circumstances when I think a dating relationship can be good, healthy, beneficial, and NOT ever be directed towards marriage- and there’s a lot of people who would disagree with me.  For example, teenagers.  I think dating relationships as teenagers are incredibly beneficial socially and emotionally.  Of course there is inherent danger in it, but when it’s led well and the teens are dating well, it can be great, and never be intended for marriage.

The point here is: its your job men, as the leader of the relationship, to establish the parameters.  Is it heading for marriage? Is it not?  Be clear, be concise.  If both people agree, then move forward.  If not, then you have some stuff to work on before heading down that path.  But at least you are moving there together.

5) Don’t dive in too far too fast.

In another word- boundaries- yeah- this is the physical stuff. This is one of the organic pieces of a relationship I talked about. Its different for everyone. Some couples don’t need to be home alone. Others just don’t need to sit on the couch for an extended amount of time or sit in a parked car- while for others, it’s perfectly ok.  There’s a great book on this called Relationships, by Les & Leslie Parrott that can help you through this. Here’s the other thing, if you set a “boundary” and find it isn’t working, don’t be afraid to redraw that line. And, as the relationship progresses, some boundaries might get eased. For example, it’s perfectly reasonable that in a new relationship, you may not be ready to be kissing yet. However, after a few months that it would be ok. It’s your job to see that.

But it’s not just limited to the physical stuff. Here’s the thing- even though dating is its own level, there are many many levels within dating. This is mostly connected to the emotional and spiritual side of things. I can tell you out right, I don’t think that a newly dating couple has any business have devotions together or praying together through the deep things yet. There are things from your past that you aren’t ready to share just yet. Because each time you go there with her, you two become more and more emotionally tied together- which is a beautiful thing in the right time, and incredibly destructive in the wrong time. But the longer you two are together, it becomes appropriate to share those pieces with each other.  So my friend, it’s your job as the leader to see when the time is right to go there.

…to be continued

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