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This picture was taken many years ago on a camping trip with some friends.
When my husband and I first started dating something happened that set the tone for the rest of our relationship. Roger had a conversation with my mother that not only slightly upset her, but it completely shocked her. He proceeded to explain that he was only interested in dating towards marriage and not just for the fun of it. Of course, to every woman praying for her prince charming, this is a dream come true! Even still, we were cautious, we spent many hours talking and getting to know each other and becoming really good friends before we made any decision for dating – I even insisted on meeting his parents before we started to date. Even though we both knew where our hearts were we wanted to make sure this was the direction God was leading us. Thankfully, in retrospect my mother understands now what he meant and even approves of him!
So many hearts are shattered when they find that their relationship is not heading towards the happily ever after they had imagined. Honestly there is no guarantee that your heart won’t be broken even when you date with the intent of marriage. Just because both partners say they are in the relationship for the long haul does not mean that you will get a fairytale ending. That also means that just because you are dating towards marriage does not mean that are obligated to get married, because if on the road towards marriage you realize this is not what God has intended than the relationship should be ended. Even though we were very clear with each other from the get go that we were dating towards marriage, about two years into our dating relationship I ended it with Roger – another story for another time. Honestly, I realized I wasn’t ready and that we both had things to work on before either of us would be ready for marriage. We know now that our sinful human nature had caused us to stray from the path He intended for us, but thankfully when the time was right He led us back together. Even when you are careful with your heart and date with the intent of marriage, there is no guarantee. I have even seen engagements end for various reasons; the only true commitment is one in marriage where both partners take their vow of love and devotion seriously.
Dating with Purpose through Communication
Even though there is still a chance of breaking someone’s heart and having your heart broken I can’t help but wonder why people date when they know the relationship will never blossom into something long lasting and eternal. For dental procedures – yes, my husband couldn’t help but compare the two – you are taught to “Begin with the end in mind.” In relationships, it is just the opposite; you should not begin with an end to the relationship in mind. Dating without a purpose is like setting yourself up – and the person you care for – for disaster, one that could have easily been avoided. Avoided through communication. I have always had a problem with communication – as I have mentioned in the past – but if I had been more open with Roger throughout the first half of our dating relationship we both could have avoided a lot of hurt and possibly even the break up. I have learned that communication is key to having a good and healthy relationship, and even though I still sometimes have problems with it, I know that without communication a relationship cannot last.
Photo by Brian Lowman
An Expected Engagement
In a serious relationship where there is open communication a proposal should not catch you by surprise. Yes, the way he proposes might be surprising, but the fact that it is taking place should have already been well discussed and expected. A planned marriage is the best marriage, not only is there no rejection, but also both minds and hearts are set towards a specific direction. There is no confusion, no questions, or uncertainty rather a yes that is exclaimed in confidence and joy.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt by the end of the summer of 2011 that we would be getting married in less than a year. It wasn’t that I hoped he would propose, or that I was dropping a lot of hints that I wanted him to propose, I knew he was going to propose, he knew he was going to propose, and we knew we would be getting married the summer of 2012. Knowing didn’t make the engagement any less exciting or memorable, if anything it made the whole process even more wonderful! There was no questions or fears, we both knew how the other felt and that God was the One leading us towards marriage.