That got me thinking for a bit, not that she was encouraging or saying for me to co-habit, but she inferred that having a 'lady friend' put some feminine touch into my apartment would make it look more homely.
|That moment your mum asks about a 'Lady friend' *sips tea*|
The funny thing was that I was actually seeing someone at the time, but the whole brouhaha of playing house mates or home buds was something that didn’t cross my mind for a second. I know of folks who are dating, whether they’ve been together for donkey years or just fresh in the business, when you go to theirs to hang out, there are lots of the girl’s stuff in the guy’s house and vice versa and they are literally playing husband and wifey whilst dating.
So where does one draw the line in the responsibilities of a dating relationship and the ones in a marriage. When are you crossing the line between being the girlfriend/fiancee or boyfriend and being the husband?
Writing from a Christian perspective, here are some of my thoughts:
If you’re in a relationship whereby you’re always expected to cook, clean, tidy up, do the laundry, go food and market shopping or perhaps you are very happy to render these services on a regular weekly or daily basis, you might just be short-changing yourself as your partner may be satisfied with having a free-of-charge house maid or sitter who does this for them. Don't get me wrong, I’m not saying one shouldn’t do any of these for you partner while dating, occasionally it’s cool, however as an everyday affair, you may probably be giving too much away too soon that may not bring you the desired results and rewards you get if you were in a marriage situation. Indeed these gestures are admirable and desirable but are more rewarding in a marriage setting than in a dating relationship.
Now, you have situations whereby some folks think that sleeping with their partner, will bring them closer together - closer to the end goal of walking down the aisle. He may be encouraged to pop the question / she may see that I’m very committed to her etc. How grossly mistaken and wrong! Sex outside marriage is just sex. Physical exercise. Calorie burning! You can even say there's some sort of emotional connection, but this is one that can lead to unnecessary soul ties and baggage being carried going forward.
There is no intimacy in sex that’s engaged outside marriage, regardless of how good you may think it is. It’s meant to be reserved for those who have made vows to one another and are fully licensed to explore and access ALL areas.
You are giving much away and saving little for later when you are giving yourself away totally in this regards in a dating relationship. There isn’t any mystery, wonder and longing desire that you or your partner would have to look forward to in marriage, when it has already being sampled in the dating process.
Remember, only 1 or 2 out of 10 people who test drive actually go back to buy the product! A lot of folks prefer to test drive for life, as they say, "why buy the cow when you are already getting the milk for free!"
I know times could be hard, it’s good to save money etc but don’t fall into the trap of “If we live together, we will get to know each other better, work out our dynamics, find our rhythm and even save money". There is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll even fully know the person you are married to after 25 years of marriage! Even if you’re engaged and the wedding date has been set, it’s not the best practise to live together until you’re married, not for the fear of the wedding not happening, but simply because you might be putting yourself in situations and scenarios that you will be better equipped to deal with if you were married.
Remember, it’s still an engagement or a dating relationship, no formal contracts and agreements have been made till the “I Dos” have been said. Anyone can walk away at any time. Then one party will have to move out...
|So painful.. So painful!|
Expenses and Responsibilities
While I believe that being considerate, compassionate and kindhearted are admirable and desirable traits to possess, there really isn’t a mandatory obligation that your dating partner has to fend for you, pay your bills, pay your rent, pay for your shopping etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if one has the capacity to help or be kind, they shouldn’t. I’ll give and offer to help the person I’m in a relationship with in any and every way I can, if needed or asked or not even asked. But being in a dating relationship is not a reason to automatically demand or expect that what is theirs is yours, and what is yours is theirs.
This doesn't mean that people in dating relationships can not have agreements between themselves like, splitting the dinner bill on a night out, or agreeing on who covers what or even offering to take on responsibilities in certain areas - It shows good partnership, which is a good foundation for a good marriage.
Parents and Family Involvement
This one is a bit grayish, as it really boils down to personal preferences. I remember once, back in the days, I had never introduced anyone to my parents as “my girlfriend” and I had been seeing someone for a bit and I thought it was probably time to allay the fears of my mother (you know how mothers would worry over you with the "isn’t it time for you to settle down".. kinda talks). Anyway, I introduced her to my folks, and as expected, my mum was acting like my “mum”, probably thinking hmmm is this the next Mrs .... (I’m the only boy in my family, apart from my dad). She also got on well with my dad and sisters.
Unfortunately, when things didn’t go too well according to plan, I can remember my mum saying to me (please note, my parents give 100% into anything and everything they do) that it’s probably best to properly introduce someone to one’s family for accountability purposes, when you’re quite certain that the relationship is heading down the marriage-ville route. It’s usually heartbreaking when things don’t work out and ties and relationships have to be broken. Well, it also depends on the type of family one has in the first place!
Your needs vs their needs
In marriage, it’s pretty straightforward. His needs are mine and my needs are hers. In a normal relationship, when a man satisfies his wife’s needs (whatever they are - emotional, physical, social, financial,
dietary < < what’s that doing there?), it goes without saying that his wife will do the same.
On the other hand, in a dating relationship, if you’re always putting your partner’s needs before yours, I can tell you, without holding back, that there is no guarantee that your partner will do the same! You might just end up meeting their needs and be left empty with you trying to satisfy yours.
You’ve planned to go out and he says no, he needs to go to the gym so can you please help him to stay in for the delivery of the washing machine at his place. If you find out that you’re doing more of his or her things and having to make more compromises by putting your partner’s needs ahead of yours in a dating relationship, you may be over stepping the boundaries.
In dating relationships, you’re still single, and primarily responsible for yourself and your needs. Yes you can share, you can meet each others needs, but it should be reasonable and mutually agreed.
Often times, you see folks taking on roles and responsibilities in dating relationships that they really shouldn’t be doing. I’ve spoken to numerous folks who act like the wife or the husband in a dating relationship, hoping to seal the deal or make their presence known and felt.
I say this: the best book ever, the Bible says a man that finds a wife, finds a good thing. Don’t play the role of a wife when all he sees is a girlfriend. (I know a few guys are quite unsharp, but still..) A woman shouldn’t act and play the wife role for a man in order for him to see that she is a wife... Don’t give your all too early too soon, there are things that you should save to be explored, enjoyed and discovered in the haven of marriage and not the 'testing' grounds of dating relationships.
|.... Your price tag|
Know your worth, have your boundaries, know what your responsibilities are and aren’t, whether agreed or shared. You’ll find different rings on the window display in the jewellry shop, even pricey ones. But there are some rings that the shop owners will close shop, and take the buyer into the strong safe room, after the credentials of the buyer have been tested and verified and there is much security to protect the ring that is being bought.
It’s simply your choice... am I going to be on the window shop on full display, and access to anyone or everyone, or will I be that one that the “buyer” will do what it takes (not plan a heist!) to get into the secured zone and get his/her priceless desire?
Don’t give marriage privileges to dating relationships. They often don’t bring in the best returns.
You can read other Love, Life and Lightchild posts HERE. Also, follow Lightchild on Twitter@light_child , Instagram @lightchildfamily and Facebook -LightChildFamily
To be honest, I don't have much to add to this article. Loved it!!
My favourite points asides the different ones highlighted is the illustration using the jewellers jewels and the conclusion.
Don't we sometimes forget that we are precious jewels that should be handled with care? Not easily accessible but protected, sheltered and unravelled with love when the right time comes.
Truth is that sometimes the headiness of love makes us want to give over and beyond in relationships even to the extent of 'overstepping our boundaries', like Lightchild describes it. However, like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time and season for everything under heaven.
Often times, when you begin a harvest before the fruits have matured or ripened, you end up with a colossal loss or at least a tummy ache. Hold on, wait, set boundaries, be in a relationship in the sense of the word and then when it is time to move forward, by all means release yourself to give all. Then, you are more secure as a commitment before God and men has been made.
Sometimes, the weight of a heartbreak is exacerbated not only because sex is involved but because it seems almost like a divorce as you have practically invested your body, soul and spirit!
May God give us the wisdom to identify times and seasons and understand what is appropriate for each stage of our lives.
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