We see it all the time in the movies.
Lonely woman meets handsome charming man. They go out on one, maybe two dates, endure a mini-crisis that helps one of them overcome their fear of commitment and then BOOM! Within days, even weeks, they are strolling down the aisle.
It’s the stuff Hallmark Channel Christmas (and Valentines Day, and Fourth of July, and Saturday night, and well almost every Hallmark Channel Movie ever) are made of!
For years, I’d watch these fantasies and think, “How romantic!”
The idea of meeting someone, instantly falling in love and moving right into happily ever after while avoiding all of that dating stuff is really appealing.
However, the older I get the more I gain a new perspective: Reality.
Reality is that it just isn’t wise to marry someone you barely know.
No matter what the world says, it isn’t even wisdom (or morally right) to instantly become physically intimate with someone before you get to know their heart, their ideas, their personality, and what makes them tick.
Good, strong, healthy relationships take time. There really is no need to hurry.
Relationships aren’t like microwave macaroni—Ready to enjoy in 3 minutes or less.
No, they are more like a delicious stew that simmers in the pot for hours soaking out every ounce of flavor and getting better and better with time.
…Spending time talking with the one you love,
…interacting with them among other people,
…spending time with his family and friends and seeing him respond in familiar environments,
…watching how he responds in a crisis,
…whether or not he puts others above himself---
…how does he handle his money, his time, what are his priorities?
The answers to all of these questions take time, but knowing who you’re signing up to share your life with is worth the wait. Best case scenario, you’ll find out that the man you’re dating really is Prince Charming and you want to make a commitment to him. Of course, the real best case scenario might be finding out that he’s really a frog disguised as a prince before you make a lifetime commitment or give away too much of yourself. Sure, you’d still be single---but single is better than a bad marriage---way, way better.
Please don’t read this article as being anti-marriage, because that isn’t the intent. Quite the contrary, I am very pro-marriage and hope to someday have a happy marriage of my own. It’s just that over the course of my life, I’ve experienced some things that have also made me pro-taking-your-time-while-you’re-dating.
Over the past few years I’ve learned a very important lesson: Don’t rush into things too fast. Don’t trust too easily. Don’t jump into a commitment without really knowing the person to whom you’re making a commitment.
Even though I haven’t necessarily learned this lesson through bad romantic relationships gone wrong (although I have observed my fair share and seen many women with broken hearts because they just moved too fast), I (like all of us) have met people who proved that what appeared to be on the surface was very different than reality. Each time I’ve moved too fast and leaped before I looked, I’ve had to deal with pain, heartache, and regret.
So I’m learning to look before I leap. Stop. Pray. Inspect the fruit of a person or organization before I decide I want to join.
Of course, it’s not only the hard times that are teaching me to wait.
I’ve also noticed a pattern in which I’m really not the best with first impressions. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that there have been several instances where I’ve met someone and been instantly intimidated by their strength, their personality, or their integrity. Because they seemed like such a powerful force, I’ve wanted to back away from the relationship.
Thankfully, God didn’t allow it.
Instead, He kept arranging circumstances where I would be around them and get to know them better. The more I became acquainted with them, understood their heart and their perspective, the more time I spent with them, I learned that they were truly some of the best people I’d ever met. In time, I was no longer intimidated by their strength, but I came to rely on it. I came to appreciate their candid personality because I learned that it was backed up by true wisdom and a desire to help others. Now knowing their character, I can truly say that I would trust my life to several people that I would have run away from at first glance.
In the end, I’ve learned that time always benefits relationships. It weeds out the bad and enriches the good.
If this is true of friendships, how much more is it true of a relationship that is intended to last a lifetime and build a legacy?
The truth is that no matter what romantic mumbo-jumbo the movies promote, there really is no hurry. Real life doesn’t have to wrap up the plot in less than 2 hours…it goes on and on and on.
That’s why it’s important that we not hurry into relationships.
Don’t hurry through a courtship, but savor it.
If it’s a good relationship, it will only get healthier, stronger, and better with time. If it’s a bad relationship, you’ll be so glad that you took the time to sort it out on this side of the altar rather than in a divorce court.
The truth is that our God is never in a hurry. His timing is always perfect and He always allows enough time for us to do things properly. If you will allow Him the time to reveal the truth to you about the person you are dating, I can promise you He will. He’ll help you discern between a prince and a frog and guide you on the path that is best for your life, your future spouse’s life, and the lives of your future children.
It may take a little more time, but it will be worth the wait.
In the end, waiting will either help you avoid the trap of a bad relationship or make for some great stories to tell the grandkids years from now about how you knew that Grandpa was the one for you. Real life stories beat Hollywood fantasies any day!