Those who know me are probably confused by this title. This is the complete opposite of what I teach, of what I preach. But stick with me here.
I’ve made this mistake before in the past. Going into dating with a marriage mindset.
I had horrible dates.
I was constantly disappointed.
And I made a TON of excuses.
He is more of a homebody. He just isn’t great with compliments. He is not big into gifts. He’s busy. He’s had a long day.
Every. Excuse. Possible. I was miserable… but yet I stayed. I even remember saying to myself one time “Most people have a really tough year their first year of marriage; we are just getting our year out of the way while we are dating.” WHAT.
How did I allow this to happen for so long?
Because instead of seeing if I actually liked a person, I was trying to see if they fit the mold of my ideal husband.
And when things he told me “seemed” to align with how I pictured my future marriage, I allowed my heart to already marry him. It’s much harder to separate from someone you have already married in your heart. I was checking off boxes while simultaneously letting my guard down. And before I knew it, I had already given my heart before ever truly getting to know the person.
By the time you realize you don’t even like the person, it is too late. We’ve gone off words and what we wanted to hear. So much so that when actions start to reveal what is true, we turn the other way, determined to make it work. We’ve committed in our hearts and to leave now seems more painful, more difficult, than staying.
This method proved detrimental for me. It would take months for me to finally realize I didn’t actually like the guy. So, after some time, I finally realized I needed to take marriage off the table. Not permanently, but immediately. I needed to see if I could even have fun with the person. Listen, I’m not even saying similar interests. And I’m not saying to compromise your faith for fun, but you need to see if there is an interest at all. A desire to get to know the other person. A curiosity. Excitement. A level of joy.
When you take marriage off the table, you release so much unnecessary pressure. You get to know a person for the sake of simply getting to know a person. How they think. How they view the world. How they view others. How they view themselves. And then, and only then, can it potentially grow into something more as you start to see core morals and values align. You start to see why you got along so well in the first place.