Dating to marry nowadays is almost unheard of. The term “dating” has been stripped of its true purpose thanks to the casual implications of apps like Tinder and Bumble. Despite our best efforts and honest intentions, those looking for something more keep hitting roadblocks and dead ends in the form of lackluster text convos and shallow first dates. So what’s a person to do when you finally meet someone who’s also thinking long term?
First, don’t follow the impulse to lock things down ASAP. Just because you found someone who shares one similar goal doesn’t mean they’re the one, and fear that they might be the only person you find who shares your dreams of a happily ever after certainly isn’t a reason to get serious.
But if you really do like someone and consider your dating life to be the trial period for a much longer commitment, keep these 5 important things at the forefront of your mind.
1. Don’t Be Overly Critical
You shouldn’t enter the relationship with any preconceived notions. Although you may have an inarguable list of values that your future spouse must meet, that doesn’t mean you should begin to scrutinize every potential partner before you’ve truly gotten to know one another.
The best relationships come from not just sharing core values, but also being able to have fun together no matter what. Your future husband or wife should be able to talk to you about your deepest secrets and insecurities just as easily as they can indulge your Marvel movie obsession.
Have an initial checklist in mind that helps you gauge whether or not someone is worth investing time in and if they meet that, don’t put any pressure on them or yourself early on. Instead, enjoy the early stages of getting to know someone that leave butterflies in your stomach and your heart racing when their name lights up your phone’s screen.
2. Know Your Own Heart
The best way to truly discern whether someone is right for you is by knowing exactly who you are and what you need to be happy in a marriage. When you’re dating for marriage, being secure in yourself and your values is critical. When you’re introspective and understand everything that you require to be truly happy, you’ll be less likely to waver on the most important subjects and wind up settling for a compromise that isn’t good for you or the other person.
3. Accept New Ideas
We can get so caught up in the fantasy of our dream spouse that we forget it’s exactly that – a fantasy. No one is perfect and we all have sinned, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t any less worthy of love and happiness. Look at others with nonjudgemental eyes and an open heart, while still holding true to your own principles.
When you meet someone who shares your views on the most important matters, don’t be afraid to let go of other notions you once held. One of the greatest things about love is is that it transforms in ways we never thought possible.
Allow your soul to be warmed by someone new and your mind to grow by considering new ideas and perspectives.
4. Have a Firm Support System
Even the most level headed of us can be blinded by love. When dating to marry, it’s important that you surround yourself with trusted advisors who have traveled down the same path and can coach you through the experience. Have them meet the person your dating and accept their honest opinions. Choose mentors who you can go to for advice and whose opinions you respect wholeheartedly.
Dating to marry is hard, but it doesn’t need to be a source of stress and discomfort. Instead of feeling like you’re in a race to the alter, enjoy the experience of getting to meet knew people. Every relationship that doesn’t turn out to be “the one” only puts you one step close toward the one that is.