8 Must-Have Moments to Make Love Last

Boundaries in DatingOne of my (Dr. Townsend’s) closest friends, Chuck, is a talented songwriter. When we were college buddies, I was visiting him in his room one day. Chuck picked up his guitar and said, “Want to hear my new love song?” I said I did, and he sang me the following: “I love you. Always have, always will. What’s your name?”

I never found out whether Chuck was referring to his dating history or simply observing college romantic life, but I knew I could identify with his lyrics. I understood the ritual of intense professions of undying love, followed by the realization of utter ignorance about one’s beloved. In other words, too much, too fast.

Relationships grow in a healthy manner only as they undergo experiences, and there is no shortcut to experiences. In other words, we only “know” each other to the extent that we have experience with each other. We can know facts about the person we are dating: their friends, job, hobbies, and so forth. But that doesn’t mean we “know” them as a person. That kind of “knowing” cannot come from reading a file on someone.

Experience requires time. It is simply impossible to get enough experiences under your belt without spending a lot of time dealing with the relationship. Here are eight examples of must-have time-consuming activities on the road to becoming committed to someone:

  1. Entering each other’s worlds of work, hobbies, worship, and service
  2. Having enough talks to safely open up with each other
  3. Meeting and spending time with each other’s friends
  4. Understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses
  5. Going over basic values of what is important in life to each other
  6. Getting to know each other’s families
  7. Spending time away from each other to think through the relationship, alone and with friends
  8. Learning your best style of disagreement and conflict management

It’s hard to imagine doing all that in a few months, because it can’t be done. Yet, so many dreamy-eyed couples will say to their friends, “You don’t understand. It’s as if we’ve known each other all our lives. We were soul mates from the first meeting.” And, while I know people who have met and married quickly, I think their success is due more to their own character than to going through the process the right way.

For example, my Aunt Jonnie and Uncle Walton have been married over fifty years. I have seen his framed proposal of marriage to her. He wrote it to her when they were both in kindergarten! I guess they both knew each other was “The One” pretty early on in life. But I don’t think they would attribute their successful marriage to how early they committed. Knowing and observing them all my life, I think they would instead talk about love, the right values, their faith, and being able to go through good times and bad together.

There is no microwave dating that makes any sense. Go through the seasons of life with the person you believe might be the one God has meant for you.

________

Boundaries in Dating_sm2Get more helpful advice to build the best dating relationship and find the love of your life in Boundaries in Dating by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud.

 

 

Comments

  1. Gary Schelvan says

    Thank you so much for writing this very enlightening and right on article. I recently lost my Dad at 84 yrs old to prostate cancer, and my Mom has been suffering greatly due to his loss. They were high school sweethearts, only person each one had been with their entire life. 65 years of totally committed marriage, raising 4 boys in the 60’s in Southern Calif. They are what you talk about in your article, experiences in life together, all that you go through, god, bad, and ugly. They demonstrated every day that you have to make a commitment and then stick with it come hell or high water. I hope younger people read your article and take it to heart. It is sorely lacking in America right now, our disposable society.

    • Wandi says

      So sorry for your loss, Gary! And you’re absolutely right about how marriages are lacking this kind of commitment!! It’s become more about appearance, & big fancy wedding days, then the first big disagreement they have leads to separation! It’s pretty sad! I love hearing stories like that of your parents! It’s quite inspiring! My husband & I have been married 14 years, but we’ve known each other almost 20 years!! It’s a blessing to have the Townsend/Cloud team as a resource!! You’re both truly blessed!

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