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Dating—Part 2: What Should I Expect When Dating?

Dating—Part 2: What Should I Expect When Dating?

 You are attracted to someone you have met, and the two of you have decided to date in order to see if you would be good marriage mates for each other. What should you expect as the relationship moves forward?

In this article

 Expect to have honest conversations

 You and your friend will learn a lot about each other as you spend time together. Some things you will learn by observing the other person’s behavior.

 However, there are some things that the two of you will need to discuss openly. As you do so, remain as objective as possible and resist the tendency to let your emotions cloud your judgment.

 Topics that both of you should discuss include:

  •   Finances. Do you have any debt? Do you find it difficult to control your spending? If you get married, how would you and your spouse make decisions on income and expenses?

  •   Health. Are you in good health? Have you had any serious health problems in the past?

  •   Goals. What would you like to accomplish with your life? Are your goals compatible with the goals of your girlfriend or boyfriend? After you are married, will you still be happy if circumstances keep you from achieving your goals?

  •   Family. Do you currently have any family obligations? What obligations do you foresee in the future? Do you want to have children? If so, how many?

 When you discuss such topics, be honest and transparent. Don’t withhold or distort the facts just to make a good impression.—Hebrews 13:18.

 To think about: What do you need to know about the person you are dating? What should he or she know about you? How will being transparent pave the way for honest communication later if the two of you decide to marry?

 Bible Principle: “Tell each other the truth.”—Ephesians 4:25, New Century Version.

 “The girl might think, ‘In six months, we’ll probably be engaged,’ but the boy might be thinking a year. In that case, the girl might end up hurt and confused because she expects a commitment sooner rather than later. It’s important for both to be on the same page.”—Ariana, married one year.

 Expect to have different viewpoints

 No two people are alike. So don’t assume that you and the person you are dating will agree on everything or feel the same way about things. Factors such as your culture and upbringing can affect your viewpoint.

 To think about: When viewpoints on minor issues differ, are both of you willing to compromise for the sake of peace as long as no clear Bible standard is involved?

 Bible Principle: “Let your reasonableness become known.”—Philippians 4:5.

 “As ‘perfect’ a match as you may think you are, you will have differences. Although compatibility is important, the qualities that each one displays when dealing with differences are even more important.”—Matthew, married five years.

 Expect dating to be stressful

 Dating will no doubt take up a lot of your time and may cause you some stress. What can help?

 Set reasonable limits. Don’t become so consumed with your dating life that you neglect your responsibilities—or your other friends. Alana, married five years, says: “You’ll still need your friends after you get married, and they will still need you. Don’t ignore them now, just because you have started dating.”

 Remember, when you get married, you will need to balance all facets of your life. Why not work on achieving that balance while dating?

 To think about: Do you demand an unreasonable amount of time and attention from the person you are dating? Do you feel that he or she is demanding too much from you? How can both of you be balanced so that neither one feels drained or smothered by the relationship?

 Bible Principle: “There is an appointed time for everything, a time for every activity.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1.

 “If recreation is the only way dating couples spend their time, marriage might be a rude awakening. It’s good for a couple to engage in real-life activities like shopping, doing chores, and worshipping together. This can really help them to form a solid foundation for their marriage.”—Daniel, married two years.

 Remember, dating is a temporary period that will lead to a decision, either to marry or to end the romantic relationship. Part 3 of this series will discuss things you need to consider when making that decision.