Dating can certainly be fun and exciting, but doing so without intention or concern for the future is a recipe for disappointment.
Our hearts are not meant to be broken, and anyone who has found themselves in that unfortunate situation can attest to the pain and frustration it causes. Dating and marriage both involve inherent risks, but those risks can be minimized when the pursuit of another isn’t reckless and the parties involved are intentional with their actions.
Establishing your purpose for dating from the very beginning will help to eliminate a variety of uncomfortable and downright painful situations before they even arise. Full disclosure, I firmly believe that the ultimate goal of dating is marriage, as I think dating provides a time to get to know another and make a well-informed decision regarding whether or not that person is someone you could spend forever with. If the purpose of dating isn’t marriage, then you need to honestly ask yourself what you're expecting to get out of a relationship that isn’t directed towards that end.
If your goal isn’t marriage, then you need to ask yourself what you're expecting to get out of that relationship.
If the purpose is something other than marriage, it's probably tied to a lack of commitment in some form, be it physical or emotional. Lack of physical commitment is elaborated on in the Evie article "Do Experts Really Say “Hell Yes” to Sex on the First Date?", and a lack of emotional commitment brings similar problems. Getting to know someone intimately through a romantic relationship forces us to open up and share ourselves in a way different than we share ourselves with any other, and the further we let another in, the closer and more entwined with that person we become. It seems reckless to let someone in on such a deep level and not actively be thinking about having this person remain an integral part of your life.
Deciding to spend your life with someone is no small undertaking, and committing to the good and the bad, a forever partnership, is not something to be taken lightly. It requires that you fully assess the values, beliefs, and personality of another, as well as how those values and personality traits mesh with your own. Building a life together and entering into the equal partnership of marriage requires constant work and care, and dating can (and should) be the time to determine if you and this other person have the foundation to make it work.
Dating with marriage as the end actually brings the humanity and goodness of the other person to light.
This doesn’t mean that you then reduce a person to the value they could add to your life, and it certainly doesn’t mean that thinking about someone’s potential as a spouse reduces them to only that. Rather, it actually makes this person more human in a way, as you begin to view them as a type of “ultimate person,” someone you view as so good that you're willing to voluntarily choose to spend and build your entire life with. Rather than dating for sex and pleasure, dating with marriage as the end in mind actually brings the humanity and goodness of another person to light.
If you aren’t dating with marriage in mind, it's probably because you either think you aren't ready or capable of committing to a life-long relationship with another – or you actually aren't. If that’s the case, then it follows that you probably aren’t in a state to even commit fully to a serious relationship, wherein loving for and caring for another is required of any decent partner.
No one wants to be in a relationship where they're treated poorly, and no one wants to be on the receiving end of someone playing with their heartstrings only to let them down. When both you and your partner are dating with the goal of marriage, the chances of unnecessary hurt are greatly diminished. While even the most serious and committed relationships don’t always end in marriage, those that keep the potential of marriage at the forefront of their intentions are much less likely to go on for long periods of time, thus making the pain of separation less severe.
When you're both dating with the goal of marriage, the chances of unnecessary hurt are greatly diminished.
Having marriage as a goal brings a seriousness to relationships from the beginning, as the couple is constantly assessing their compatibility and values. When you're seriously thinking about how your political differences may affect your life together, decisions are made much sooner about the long-term potential of your relationship, and often time heartbreak is avoided because you haven’t allowed yourself to grow too close with this person. Sure, a relationship ending will always be disappointing, but it doesn’t have to entail the heartache that accompanies letting another in on a deep and intimate level and then having that suddenly severed from you.
Guarding your heart and mind is important to a certain extent, and it's not the same as building emotional walls and not letting another in. Slowly allowing someone deeper understanding and insight into who you are is wise, as you slowly open yourself up as you assess how this person is able to care for and respect you. Only as you continue to determine that this person is worth opening up to and potentially sharing a life with do you begin to disclose the deepest secrets and desires of your heart.
Slowly allowing someone deeper understanding and insight into who you are is wise.
Chances are if you share something deep and your partner has an uncaring or disrespectful reaction, you probably aren’t going to continue sharing. Generally, you would decide that this person isn’t a suitable partner, as your values and what you need from one another don’t line up. Over time, the disconnect only widens, and dating with the intention of marriage allows you to end it, rather than letting it grow more serious and ultimately bring greater hurt in the inevitable end.
Dating should cause us to seek the best in another person, as it affirms them and adds value to our own lives. Dating with marriage in mind ensures that we're purposely seeking the good in another and only setting the highest of standards for ourselves, both in the present and the future.