خانه » Uncategorized » How Do I Know if it’s Time to Get Serious in Our Relationship?

How Do I Know if it’s Time to Get Serious in Our Relationship?

The last few months were amazing! You have enjoyed some incredible dates, shared some laughs, endured your share of awkward moments, and are coming up on a pretty important crossroads. Dating has been fun, but what are we? Couples who hang out regularly for several months usually come to the DTR (define the relationship) conversation with a mixture of excitement and nerves.

  • Are we just friends?
  • Do we want to be more than friends?
  • Are you ready for a commitment?
  • Do you still want to date other people?
  • Are we having the same thoughts about this?
  • Is it time to take it up a notch?
  • Do we even know what we are doing?

Deciding whether to pursue a long-term relationship with someone can seem overwhelming to some and that is understandable. We all know that couple who met in grade school, broke up in middle school, got back together in high school, got married in college, and never questioned their decision. Hearing such stories can lead us to think something is automatically wrong with us or our relationship if we question its rightness.

“I care about Janet, but I am not 100% sure we should start thinking about marriage. Does that mean she is not the one for me?”

“Jeff is a great guy and everyone is cheering for us, but I think we should take some time and think our situation through more thoroughly before we commit to each other. Am I just scared of being happy?”

Questioning is healthy. Many couples wish they could go back in time and ask the right questions. Just because you are not floating in a sea of self-assurance does not mean your relationship is doomed. Personally, I was so sure Eric and I were meant to be together, no one (other than perhaps my dad, had he tried) could have talked me out of it. We were “supposed to be together” because of the peace I felt in my heart and our similar desires to work in the counseling field. Unfortunately, my extreme confidence allowed me to trust my feelings rather than prepare for my future. Even if Eric were my one-and-only (a concept Eric and I do not believe in, by the way), I would still have benefited from looking at our relationship in several lights – our personality differences, cultural differences, worldview differences, financial philosophy differences, and theological differences… just to name a few. Difficult newlywed years taught me a tough but necessary lesson. Feeling sure and at peace about a relationship does not mean the relationship will automatically succeed. Preparing for married life, giving yourselves time to grow, and asking the right questions is simply wisdom in action.

So, you are here at a crossroads. Do you say, “Thank you for the marvelous dates, but I think we should call it quits,” or do you take your relationship to the next stage and consider pursuing marriage? Before you decide, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a factor which would make a relationship between us extremely difficult, stressful, or virtually impossible? It is possible to fall for someone you should not It is even possible to fall for a quality man or woman you should not marry. How we feel about someone is not enough to determine whether or not a marriage is advisable or even feasible. Romeo and Juliet, for example, were crazy about each other, but due to the feud between their families, marriage would have caused extreme problems. Best case scenario: their families would likely have disowned them. Worst case: they may have lived in fear for their lives. Romeo and Juliet are fictional characters, but there are thousands of couples who face familial dissension due to their differences in race, religion, culture, or lifestyle. These couples have to make a difficult decision. Do we stay together and risk losing our families, or do we go our separate ways? Fairy tales, novels, and movies make this quandary seem romantic. He loved her so much he gave up everything to be with her! (cue tears) But, in reality, such family issues are anything but romantic and can cause extreme long-term stress to the relationship. In addition to family concerns, some couples are simply too different to enjoy a fruitful marriage. Language barriers, differing financial philosophies, lifestyle preferences, cultural disparities, and disagreements on where to live can create one exhausting obstacle after another for fledgling relationships. Once again, these couples have to make a difficult choice. If they decide to move forward, they should do so knowing it will be a continuous challenge; and, if they decide breaking up is for the best, they should not have to endure shame from others for making a practical, albeit “unromantic,” choice. What if you are crazy about a man who has chosen a career which requires frequent travel, but you have dreamed of nightly family dinners since you were a child? What if you love a woman who is planning to be a stay-at-home mom as soon as possible, but you desire a two-income lifestyle? These are not small matters and they will surely cause tension if glossed over and ignored. Warm fuzzies are not enough to overcome extreme differences.
  • Have you observed character traits in him or her which cause you concern? Your love interest may be polite, hard-working, and caring towards family; yet, if he or she is also willing to tell white lies, cheat to get ahead, or disparage others behind their back, that is a problem. Good character traits do not cancel out negative ones. Often, it takes time to know someone’s character, but sometimes a poor character is obvious up front. When my college boyfriend blatantly lied to a police officer, I got a quick glimpse into his moral center and I did not like what I saw. This cop did not catch him off guard. He was not under arrest or even in trouble, yet he felt the need to tell an outright lie. If he lied to a stranger for no good reason, why would I expect him to be forthright with me for the next fifty years? We are not always fortunate enough to see someone’s true colors come out so quickly, which is one of many reasons we encourage couples not to rush to the altar. Give yourselves time to see each other in a variety of situations. Does he insult you with humor in front of others? Is she dishonest with her friends? Is he frequently defrauding his employer (e.g., goofing off while he is supposed to work, i.e., stealing time)? Does she act inappropriately with other men? Romance is blinding, so we need to take the time to see who we are truly dating (it is very easy for someone to put up a front for the first 3-6 months of a relationship, sometimes longer; the longer the relationship lasts, the harder it is to maintain a façade). Is this someone with whom I could imagine spending the rest of my life? If the answer is yes, and he or she has a solid character, proceed to the next question. ~smile~
  • Is this person emotionally healthy enough for the demands of a long-term relationship? Am I? A good job, a winning smile, a terrific personality, and even a good character are not enough to overcome emotional issues. If the person you are dating is struggling with jealousy, insecurity, immaturity, or emotional wounds, you will surely see negative effects show up in your relationship. This person may be incredible and yet still need time and healing before moving towards a marriage-minded commitment. Like Neil Clark Warren says, “Get yourself healthy before you get yourself married.” If you get yourself healthy before you start seriously dating, you will not have to worry about getting healthy before your wedding day. {Eric’s note: I once heard Dr. Sharon Morris May lecture and she posited that the maximum possible health of a relationship is calculated by taking the percentage of health of both people and multiplying them. So, if two people are 95% healthy, their maximum health together would be 90%… but, if one person is 70% healthy and the other is 30% healthy, then their maximum possible health together would be 21%. Yikes! Even though these are subjective numbers, the principle is very, very real!}
  • Does this person feel like home to me? The best way I could describe dating Eric is to say, “He felt like home.” Though I had only known him for a couple of years, when I was with him, I felt at home in a way I had never felt with any other man. If you are dating someone who is perfect for you on paper, who has all the qualities you are searching for, and who has won the affections of your friends and family, but you do not feel at home with him or her, do not jump the gun. Ride out the casual dating a bit longer to see if that sense of comfort develops. If not, do not feel pressured to move forward just because everything seems right on the surface. Doubt is not the emotion you want to experience when walking down the aisle.
  • Are we on the same path? Before determining if you and this individual are heading in the same direction in life, it is important to know if he or she is the type to change course simply to appease you. In high school, a young man I was dating asked me what I wanted to do with my life. When I shared my heart, he began telling me how he was interested in a version of the same industry. It was sweet that he wanted to support me… and, at the same time, it honestly freaked me out. In all the time I had known him, he had never shown interest in such a career. It left me feeling like he would be willing (at least for a season) to follow me down my path… and that made me exceedingly uncomfortable. In a partnership as important as marriage, you want someone who is enthusiastically heading in the same direction as you. Though you do not have to be heading towards the same career goals or even have all the same personal goals, it is important that you are on the same overall journey. If you are heading towards suburbia, children, soccer practice, and a lifetime of volunteer work, and he is planning on being in the South American rain forests, one could rightly argue that you are heading in two different directions.

But, Heather, you did not mention a strong relationship with God as something to determine before committing to someone long term! This observation is true… and purposeful. Should a believer look for a strong believer when seeking a relationship? Absolutely! However, this step comes long before a couple’s relationship crossroads. By the time two people are ready to decide if they should take one step closer to marriage through exclusive dating, courting, or whatever they wish to call it, they should already be confident in each other’s Christian walk. If you have doubts or concerns, you should not proceed to the seriously-dating/pre-engaged phase until those concerns are fully alleviated (cf. Matthew 7:16-20).

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? – 2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)

As worn out as we may be with hearing this verse quoted to singles, we should not be tempted to ignore it. Though I do not believe the context is solely regarding romantic relationships, I do think there is no other earthly relationship more important than the marriage relationship. So, if the marriage relationship is so significant, why would a Christ-follower enter into a covenant with someone who does believe – especially since our beliefs trickle down into every facet of our lives, affecting our worldview and decision-making? Whether or not your special friend is walking in truth is a precursor to all other questions. If the answer is no, is there any need to ask any further questions?

I remember my crossroads well. I was twenty-one, excited, somewhat naïve, and “ready” to jump into a serious commitment. It was a special time, but if I had it to do over again, I would slow my roll… at least a little bit. I would pry those love goggles off my face and look at our similarities and differences more objectively. Chances are, we would have still decided to get married, but hopefully with realistic expectations and fewer unpleasant surprises.

This time in your life is special even though it is full of unknowns. Enjoy it as much as possible and make as many memories as you can. Happy questioning!

Should you enter into a serious relationship with your special perso

درباره‌ی admin

همچنین ببینید

Simplifying Your Dates!

July 24th, 1998, I waited with butterflies in my stomach for him to pick me …

دیدگاهتان را بنویسید

نشانی ایمیل شما منتشر نخواهد شد. بخش‌های موردنیاز علامت‌گذاری شده‌اند *