Dating can be really fun.
Ideally, it should be a enjoyable process of learning how to communicate with the opposite sex, learning how to love and be loved by someone, and how to be honorable even if you do not walk down the aisle with each other. Dating can also be full of unnecessary drama and heartbreak. Marriage has plenty of work that you have to consistently put into to it and has its own set of challenges, but none of the mind bending guessing games that dating can so often leave you playing.
Here are a few things to take into consideration if you are currently in a relationship or waiting and wanting to be in one.
\\ IF YOU'RE NOT SURE YOU'RE IN A RELATIONSHIP, YOU'RE NOT.
A lot of girls can have a hard time with this one. Sometimes we can get just a little ahead of ourselves... If you are involved in something that looks, feels, & acts like more than a friendship for an extended period of time then there comes a point where someone has to be assertive. Traditionally this would be the guy. Men are the pursuer and you are the prize. Guys usually know pretty quickly whether they are into you enough to date or not.
Until he has said something, he hasn't said anything.
Talking from a personal experience, I would wait...
before deciding to speak up because of the fear that I would lose him, ( or at least whatever I was imagining to have, because I didn't really have him.) I was fearful that I would come across as too aggressive, too controlling, or too anxious. I wanted him to initiate. If it seemed so obvious that we liked each other, it could only be a matter of time before he would say something right? Wrong. Once confronted, he admitted to never verbally declaring anything, he thought he was cleared. At that point, our non existent relationship ended swiftly. The truth is we were both wrong for waiting so long to communicate. There comes a crossroad in the relationship where he needs to verbally declare something of his intentions, whether its casual or serious. It's completely fine to get to know someone for a short period of time to see if you want to actually move forward with exploring a relationship, but if this period goes on for more than several months it can get confusing and misleading. Especially if you are having "dates" and sharing areas of your heart that you wouldn't necessarily share with just anyone. Trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.
By the way, it's okay to ask.
\\ Never say Never.
I married the guy that I said I wouldn't date.
My husband pursued me for years before we started dating. Since I was always on the worship teams surrounded by guitar playing swooners, I thought I'd marry some Jesus looking worship leader who just wanted to sing with me 24/7 in a field of flowers. I dated several of those types too and it just wasn't pretty. My husband just didn't come in that Jesus looking, worship leader package I was so fixated on marrying. (Attraction to him was never the issue. You HAVE got to be attracted to whoever you marry. Don't get it twisted.) So I ignorantly kept rejecting him. Long story short, a few years later I gave him a chance and actually went out with him. I found out that he had all of the qualities that I wanted, plus countless more.
You may be one of the girls that has a very detailed written list of what you want in a future spouse. It's important to have a clear vision of the type of character you hope to join yourself with, after all-- life is a long time. As a Christian, with your life supposedly submitted over to God, this can be very interesting.
I hear a lot of single girls saying things like, "He has to be rich and out of college", "He's just not my type", "There's no way I'd date someone younger", or "I don't think I'd ever marry an Asian/Black etc."
Fill in the blank.
These kind of statements are obviously petty. Once you have truly given God total control of your love life, you have no idea what good things he has planned for you. You need to be attracted and have high expectations in character and qualities and never, ever settle those areas in your heart. At the same time, while you're so busy with not settling, make sure you are not shoving back the very hands that are open to give good things to you. That may mean going out with someone for a second date or reconsidering that persistent pursuer who you never gave a second thought.
\\ Boundaries are not your enemy.
This is definitely not a popular view in our generation, but regardless of your spirituality, there are countless practical reasons to have physical and emotional boundaries.
As an adult you get the privilege of making your own boundaries. As a healthy adult in a relationship, safety guards are put in place to protect the both of you from mistakes.
Boundaries are like having map of where you will and will not go in your relationship. Without certain boundaries set in place ahead of time, there will be inevitable arguments, situations, and pain that both could be avoided with a little intentional communication. You also need to know where you both stand on physical intimacy. What is too much, and where the line is crossed. Get specific. Figure things out in the very beginning! Don't wait till you are already in the questionable middle ground and its too hard to stop. Without that discussion, one's idea of a romantic gesture might feel like violation or even abuse to the other.
You need to know the rules of how you will both communicate with each other. In the situations where disagreements will arise, you need to know ahead of time what words are triggers, so you do not use them! One person may have a past of being verbally abused and may be triggered by certain phrases or words.
Boundaries can also help gauge the health of the relationship. If you have already communicated & set boundaries in place and the other person continues to cross them, then that could be a indicator of needing to re-evaluate the relationship.
Relationships take risk and it can be a little scary when heading into any new territory, but it doesn't have to be. Even if the relationship never makes it down the aisle, you can successfully date and end the relationship honorably.
Have you ever ended a relationship successfully without any regrets? What was the biggest thing you took away from that experience?