“I know sex isn’t important to you, but it’s important to me.”
That was my co-worker who was telling me all about her new boyfriend and how well they were getting along but didn’t like hearing my suggestion that they shouldn’t be sleeping together.
I was purposely digging a little deeper into her new-found elation and asked why she would sleep with her new boyfriend so quickly. How could she really get to know him when she’s all wrapped up in the good feelings and emotions that come with intimacy? What would happen when the good feelings stop happening? That’s when I got reprimanded for “not liking sex.” She knew that as a single woman (at the time) I believed chaste dating was the way to go.
The attitudes of many non-married people today are scary. Sleeping with each other apparently is the primary goal of any date. If you seem to be compatible with each other in the bedroom within the first few days, then you get the “happy relationship” stamp. What happened to courtship, people?
I think I know why so many people get discouraged trying to find a solid, lasting relationship. It’s because there is no excellence in dating.
Excellence is what you work hard for in your career, in sports, in whatever it is you do. Especially after divorce, when learning to trust someone again is a big deal, doesn’t it make sense that you would want to make dating the best possible experience?
Beyond the obvious suggestion of remaining chaste, here are a few tips on how to have excellence in dating:
1. Be completely available to date. No strings attached. Make sure you have a decree of nullity from your tribunal that states you are free to marry in the Church. But more than that, make sure there are no burdens of anger and resentment toward your ex-spouse. Forgiveness frees your heart and prepares it for the excitement and fulfillment of love. Also, make sure your children, if you have them, are ready for this step. Kids need a lot of security to help them heal. If they aren’t ready to see you with someone else, there will be difficulties and that will take away from your excellence in dating experience.
2. It’s not me, it’s you. Don’t go into the date thinking, “Is this the one that will make me happy?” Think, “Is this the one I can make happy?” Of course, you want to be with someone who makes you happy, but too many people have the Janet Jackson syndrome: “What have you done for me lately?” That’s a recipe for disaster, my friends. What do you bring to the table? What makes you the right one? Let your desire to love translate directly to how much you listen to and how well you respond to the needs of the other person.
3. Accept your date for who he is, not what you think he can be nor what you wish he would be. A big mistake women make is believing they can change a man. This should not be criteria for choosing a spouse. Be yourself, and let your date be authentic as well. In doing so, you’ll know whether or not you are right for each other much sooner than later.
4. Be romantic. Romance might mean walking on the beach together for one person or dinner by candlelight for another, but what is really romantic are words. They way you communicate with each other should be the key to romance. Physical affection is good in appropriate amounts, but love each other with your words and actions. Don’t be afraid to let your date know what it is about her you find attractive. Don’t hesitate to give a genuine compliment or do something nice for him. When my husband and I were long-distance dating from Connecticut to Atlanta, I called a near-by pizza joint one evening and ordered him a pizza for dinner when he was swamped with work and couldn’t take a break to eat. (By the way, I successfully talked the pizza guy into making it a heart-shaped pizza!) It’s OK, you can laugh, but from a distance, it was the best I could come up with.
Ladies, gentlemen, let’s bring class and integrity back to the dating game. Sex is easy.
Getting to know and really love someone takes effort, but doesn’t everything that’s worth having take effort? Saving the honeymoon for after the wedding is not only classy, but smart. By the time you walk together to the altar, you’ll know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, gifts and faults, and just how compatible you are together. There’s no smoke and mirrors, just a lifetime to spend with your best friend.