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          There is one major objective in dating…or rather there should be one major objective in dating, and that is to find someone with whom you are compatible enough to marry someday. In today’s society, such an objective is not as prominent as one might hope, however there are many college students who choose to date for conventional purposes.

            Most dating relationships start out with an “aha” moment where two people realize that their personalities, beliefs, and values blend together harmoniously. Sometimes, the relationship develops over long periods of time, other times the connection is immediate and the relationship flourishes. Regardless, when you are a college student, relationships are exciting! As well as they should be. There’s typically a few dates, a first kiss, a honeymoon phase, and then a declaration of mutual feelings of love. Though they sound cliché, these different steps all add up to something really spectacular. . . a committed relationship! Wait…what? Not marriage?

            Yes, it is true, for many couples, marriage is not the next step.  Though it is hard to imagine, not everyone finds their other half and immediately ends the journey there with their happily ever after. In college, there are some people that have been blessed with the opportunity to get married to their significant other without their diploma in their hand. However, there are also some who know that getting married is something that probably should wait. Whether it is because the relationship is new, the couple is waiting to get their degrees, or God just hasn’t laid it on their heart yet, some couples choose to wait a few years to get married.

            Now, either solution is one that works well with different couples in various circumstances. Neither choice can be said to be better than the other. However, for the couples who choose to wait a while to get married, this leaves a space. The space between dating and marriage. For some couples this can be several years, for others the wait can be until a goal is met, or an outside problem or circumstance is resolved. Regardless, the waiting period is long and drawn-out to a couple whose goal is marriage.

            To couples in this situation, keep this in mind, knowing that God is not calling you to get married yet is an indicator that he is actively working in your relationship! He is looking out for your best interest, and desires to pull you closer together during the time you have to wait. In fact, statistics show that a couple is 39% less likely to divorce when they’ve dated for three years or more. In the meantime, know that your relationship is not lulling! This waiting period is simply a time to be patient with the Lord, and to dive deeper into your loving relationship with your significant other.

            Actively dating your significant other is an amazing experience, and getting to go to the movies or out to dinner is always a great memory to share together. However, there comes a time in dating another person when you get to a place where you can branch out a little more. The waiting period is the perfect time to do this. There are some things like going grocery shopping together, touring a museum, or going on a hike that develop your relationship in such a way that a regular date night at the movies won’t. For some reason, when we take the time to do everyday tasks, like going grocery shopping, with our significant other we develop a greater understanding of who they are. And when you find common interests, like going to a museum, hiking, or taking a class together, it rounds you out a little more as a couple. It gives your relationship depth and allows you to cultivate new interests together. These experiences uncover stories, emotions, and feelings that you or your significant other have encountered individually. This is what the space between dating and marriage is all about. The time you spend doing everyday life together will never be wasted, because ultimately that’s what marriage is.

            Marriage was instituted by God, and he blesses us with a person that he designated for us. But sometimes, marriage isn’t the next step in the relationship. Sometimes getting to know your long-term boyfriend or girlfriend on a deeper level is what the next step is. Treasuring the moments where you can experience new things with your significant other is just another way that the Lord works in couples in order to prepare for marriage. Before you know it, the space between will be a memory, and you will be in the next chapter of your relationship. By that time, you will feel confident and ready for married life, and have many cherished memories and moments to hold onto from your purpose-driven dating life.

 

GCU 2019 Entrepreneurial Business Major
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