We all want to enjoy dating, but we also want to do it in a way that gives our new relationship the best chance of success. We want to find someone we can build a long-term relationship with. A key element which is often underrated is commitment. But it’s important to think about what this looks like when a relationship is still in its unclear early stages.
(The following extract is taken from page 114-116 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free.)
All Relationships Need Commitment
Spending quality time with people we love requires exclusivity. We can’t be texting people or taking calls if we want them to feel valued by us.
The Bible constantly encourages us to live deep lives by being mindful of others. It celebrates committed and loyal friendships where the friend comes first, like David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel, and Ruth and Naomi in the book of Ruth. Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 says:
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough!
Dating Needs Commitment
Before you start seeing someone, it’s possible to demonstrate a level of exclusivity that will build a good foundation.
As you read this, some of you are probably thinking this is a bit extreme. It’s not like you’ve said vows in front of a vicar. The person you fancy may not even like you and may be pursuing someone else. But we’re not saying that if you ever fancy someone, you have to ask them out and gear yourselves up to get married!
It’s only when we know that the person we’re with is not seeing anyone else that we feel safe enough to open up
What we are encouraging you to do is to start as you mean to go on.
If you’re planning on building a boat, why begin by sticking up tent poles? If you’re planning on building a happy relationship, it’s got to be a committed one. It’s only when we know that the person we’re with is not seeing anyone else that we feel safe enough to open up and share our lives.
We all want this, so let’s start as we mean to go on. After sharing a bit about yourselves, you may discover you‘re not right for each other, you may break up. But starting deeply will give you that insight early on.
So here are some of our top tips to help you start reaping the benefits of being exclusive:
- Watch The Flirting
- Be Ready To Put In The Work
- Stop Shopping
- End It Early
- Don’t Give Up
- Be Wise
Watch The Flirting
If you’re about to start a new relationship, or you fancy someone, don’t flirt with other people. Going after several people doesn’t signal a desire for commitment.
Flirting and being friendly are not the same thing, but if you’re in doubt, ask a friend to give you some honest feedback about whether your friendliness might be leading someone on.
Be Ready To Put In The Work
So many new relationships start and then burn out just as quickly because one or both of you hadn’t considered whether you have time to invest in a relationship.
Being committed means being prepared to give this new relationship space and room to grow. We can’t just fall into relationships without thinking. (Read Quick Guide: Discover What All Good Dating Relationship Have In Common)
Don’t worry, we don’t mean literal shopping, but once you have found someone who you are keen to date, stop looking around for someone ‘better’!
End It Early
If you’ve been investing time in getting to know each other and then discover that you’re not right together, it’s better to end the relationship earlier. Dragging out a relationship that is slowly dying makes it too easy for you to start looking for someone else before you’re free to do so.
Don’t Give Up
Sometimes relationships end against our will. This can be really painful. Pursuing love comes with a fair number of disappointments. It doesn’t mean that, if it doesn’t work out with that person, you will never find love. (Read The Best Advice For Getting Over A Break-Up)
Remember, our commitment to being exclusive doesn’t mean we are to stay trapped in a relationship that’s abusive or damaging.
Choosing God’s best for us sometimes means walking away from someone if we are not able to be in a healthy relationship with them.
Building Enjoyment Too
In case all of this commitment talk is putting you off asking someone out because it feels way too serious, relax!
Forming a new relationship is supposed to be enjoyable, because it’s full of lots of exciting firsts: the first time you have a deep and meaningful chat, the first time you pray together, the first time you refer to each other as your boy/girlfriend, the first time you hold hands, the first blazing row, the first kiss.
It will help to reduce the confusion and concerns many new relationships struggle with
Imagine if we remembered that if we build commitment from the start, it will help to reduce the confusion and concerns many new relationships struggle with and enable us to build a relationship we can enjoy.
Thinking about commitment is crucial if we want our relationship to thrive and survive, even in the early stages when we are figuring each other out. (Read Why You Should Remember That ‘Romance’ On Its Own is Rubbish)
What do you think of these pieces of advice? Why? Comments welcomed below.