I once saw a picture that had the caption: “You know that tingly feeling you get when you like someone? That’s common sense leaving your body.” As funny as it sounds, this holds true for many people. People do all sorts of things when in a relationship – things they wouldn’t naturally do.
With a head in the clouds and heart filled with images of the future, daydreaming is inevitable. Little wonder dating seems like a fairy tale and flaws are blissfully hidden from the doting eyes of the one in ‘love’. When the heart is feeling all mushy, it’s perfectly normal to experience the usual sweetness that accompany love – blushes, racing hearts and general nervousness – when the person so much as spares you a glance, touches you, spends time with you or whispers sweet nothings in your ears.
Waiting and Dating: A Cocktail of Hormones or Distorted Versions of the Real Thing?
From the sparks that fly when you are around that person to the flames that threaten to burn down everyone else to the cocktail of hormones coursing through your system like wildfire, “Surely,” you think to yourself, “we are soul mates and have been destined, right from the day of creation, to be together. Nothing can break this bond we share…” Until one day, the sparks are gone and you no longer feel the butterflies (or entire zoo) in your stomach when the person smiles at you and like a candle in the wind, the life is snuffed out of the relationship.
From one person to another the forbidden fruit is eaten…the growing trend of baby mamas has alarmingly been embraced and endorsed by social media users leading to more dysfunctional and totally meaningless relationships. The need to “feel among” has become more important than thinking things through before jumping into a relationship. Sex sells so what’s a relationship without sex? People change relationships like they change clothes, leaving behind a trail of broken hearts and a part of themselves with each person.
The dating period which is supposed to be a time of getting to know one’s partner has been turned into a fashion statement and the courtship stage which is meant for checking out compatibility and planning for the marriage years has been turned into a “How he should propose” contest. The important things are pushed behind and conversations are filled with loads of irrelevant activities and unrealistic expectations.
Back in the days, courtship was entered into only when both parties had checked each other out in a group and decided that marriage was the ultimate goal of the relationship. They took the courtship period so serious that often times they were already seen as an engaged couple even before he put the ring on it. And sex was left out of the picture entirely in most cases.
Understanding the Purpose of Dating and Courtship: 6 Things You Must Know
Butterflies show you are attracted to another and attraction is important for a relationship to last but the relationship doesn’t have to end when they stop (because they eventually will). The point at which people miss it is their inability to understanding the purpose of dating and courtship.
- Do not put yourself under pressure
I know your best friend just got engaged and your college roommate is already pregnant…but girl! This is not your college roommate you are choosing, we are talking about a life partner here; the one you want to grow old with. If you put much time and consideration into picking the right shade of shoes, then you certainly should put more time and consideration into picking “the right shade of man.”
- Observe and understand your partner
The dating period shouldn’t be taken lightly as it is a time to observe and understand the one you’re attracted to, a time to check out “your specs” – the things you’ve always dreamed of in a partner (reasonable things) – and see if this person meets them. It’s not just about physical attraction; it’s a time to get to know who this person is and what his/her value system is. Dreams, ambitions and future plans should be discussed.
- You must have an ultimate goal for entering the relationship
Except you want to be the female version of “Lord of the rings”, I believe courtship should be entered into only when you’re sure you want to walk down the aisle with this person. Keep in mind also that you reserve the right to call off the whole thing if they do not fit your future.
If however you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you have found your other half, then there’s a need to plan for the future knowing that after the wedding there’s a marriage ahead and the issues of life will come knocking on the door.
This is a time to project into the future and pinpoint and unashamedly discuss things that can lead to tension in the years to come – finances, roles and responsibilities, having a help or not, the value system to pass on to kids, backgrounds, number of children to have, personal friends, housewife or career woman,etc. Read more on important questions you should ask your partner here.
- Be ready to make sacrifices and extreme commitments
For some people, this is one of the hardest stages of being in a relationship leading to marriage: the accountability stage. The dating period is a bit flexible because at that point, your relationship is not yet considered a marriage item. As you gradually move into the courting stage, things begin to change and activities you ordinarily would do without having to be accountable to another will prove difficult. Excessive partying and several other hobbies that may not exactly help your relationship thrive may have to be put in check especially if your partner is not too keen on stuff like that. This is not to say you should change your entire life to suit another but there some things you’d have to give up.
- Discover your love language
According to Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, “The Five Love Languages”, every individual has a primary love language that appeals to their romantic side. I suggest both you and your partner head over to www.5lovelanguages.com and take the love language test for couples. You will be glad you did.
Knowing your partner’s primary love language will not only help you know their likes and dislikes, it would also help them know yours. Simply take the test, send them your results with a “Sweetheart, you should try this too” message attached.
- Discover new ways of having fun with your partner
Dating and courtship are serious events in a person’s life but while taking it seriously the fun shouldn’t be completely snuffed out of it. The best relationships are those in which both partners are comfortable around each other even if the disparities in their preferences are glaring. There is always a point of convergence in every relationship!
Find a way of bridging the gap that exists between you and your partner. If he loves football, talk about his favourite clubs. If he loves to read, buy him a book from his favourite author or read a book together. Don’t just cuddle way the moments, plan future moments and talk about relevant things.
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