Dating With Marriage In Mind

I started dating my boyfriend in high school and a lot has changed since then. I know him inside and out, but the nature of how we love is constantly shifting. When we started dating, our relationship was about having fun and making each other happy. The beginning of any relationship is always such a giddy and exciting time but it never lasts through all the seasons of life. When you and your partner are in it for the long haul, at least one of you is bound to encounter some times of great difficulty. Suddenly, how you are called to love the other person changes before your eyes. While you both still make each other happy, you can't love like frivolous teenagers forever.

While this may scare some people, rest assured this process of growth also equates to growth in your relationship. Loving one another like grown-ups also means looking to the future and loving each other on an even deeper level. My boyfriend and I are no longer dating for the sole reason of spending time together and going on cool dates (although we still do). We are dating because we are confident in what we have, how we work together, and how we complement each other.

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes

There is something so peaceful about growing with the one you love. While not everyone may be in a relationship, it is important to have expectations and know what you need from a partner. Date someone who understands you. Date someone who you recognize a piece of yourself in. Trust and understanding takes time to build, so it is not often that people can rest, self-assured in saying, “This is the person I will end up with,” immediately. However, what you should do is analyze the relationship you are in and how well it is working. Are you bettering each other? Do you get along? Is it moving anywhere, or are you stuck in the same place? There is nothing wrong with having standards or looking to the future when you are with someone special. In fact, looking to the future often signals the commitment and seriousness of a relationship. Anyone who is scared to do so may have their doubts or reservations about getting married, or may not even be thinking about it yet. Having these conversations with your partner are important in tracking where you both are in your dating lives and seeing if your goals align.

Photo by Scott Broome

Most of the time, we can more or less gauge if someone is right for us within a few months of dating them. If a couple months down the line you find out that the two of you are not a great match, do not be afraid to end that relationship. If you do not see the relationship you are in going anywhere, do not stay in it simply to make the other person happy. Dragging out a relationship with no future is unfair to both you and the other person who is involved. How can you get serious with someone you aren't even serious about? How can you grow with someone you don't see having a life with?

Do not close yourself off to others because it is easier than putting yourself out there. Do not feel pressured to be in a relationship because you see your friends getting serious. There is something to be said about taking the time to get to know and understand yourself before you can be your best and give your best. However, don’t waste your time with someone who isn’t for you when you could be meeting the person that is.

Photo by Ebi Zandi

When you’re looking into dating for marriage, dating for the sake of it loses its appeal. When the future is implicated, we become more serious and instead of searching for what we want, we get what we need. We search for people who can make us happy in the long-term instead of satisfying our needs in the short term. We begin looking for someone whose goals, aspirations and dreams match with ours. Dating with serious intention makes dating more meaningful and sustainable. When we orient our relationships to the goal of marriage, it makes us want to be better for ourselves and the other person. It makes us try to be our best and encourages us to grow and help our partner do the same. When you both know you are in it for the long haul, you both push each other to be the best you can be.