I don't believe in one-on-one dating. I'm not a fan. These are the words I echo to my many twenty-something "daughters." I think unaccountable dating is an opportunity to find yourself in compromising situations for either short or very lengthy expanses of time. Some of my daughters have been in long-term relationships and are getting a bit uneasy about the fact that no ring or proposal seems imminent. Another Valentine's Day is upon them and they get this strange anticipation that this might be the time the commitment will become formal. Although with each passing "romantic" holiday their balloon-filled hopes lose a little more air. Through cheery and pearlish smiles they sometimes find themselves saying they really don't even want to get married. Yet Wisdom knows that this is a truth that doesn't pass the test. There's an old adage: Why buy the cow when the milk is free? I'll add to that phrasing that even if the milk does go on sale, the farmer won't trust buying the cheaper product for fear that it's tainted. It's in an odd way like having an opportunity to buy a new car. Most people desire to lay claim to something (in this case someone) that hasn't been handled previously. I think most men have trust issues that stem from childhood teachings and experiences. The sad echo of "Mama's baby; Daddy's maybe" rings in the ear of many men from their childhood years. It's been said that all men want to marry virgins; but consummate with every woman they're attracted to.
But this writing is more about young women who find themselves spinning their wheels; in a rut. In their deepest selves they know that what they have has died; fizzled like a fiery sparkler on a rainy 4th of July. And yet they hold on to a dim ray of hope that maybe they're wrong. Maybe this Valentine's Day will find them calling to tell of their Cinderella-style proposal. Anyone who asks me about dating learns very soon that I have a two-year rule. Before one commits her heart and life to a perspective suitor I think she should make an unwavering and very personal commitment deep within herself that after 12 months of loyal devotion, a ring and proposal of marriage should be presented by this "guy-in-love". I believe everything should have a past, present and future. The past is what was before the two of you met. The present is the life you have together today. And the future is what your intent is for the rest of your life. Most guys will admit that they pretty much know very early on, if not instantly, when they've met their future bride. They will also admit that the chase is often more exciting than the catch; though, time and time and time again women fall prey to affection with reckless abandon. It's for that reason, amongst many others, that choosing celibacy before wedding vows is your friend. But this is not about snaring, or entrapping someone to do what they are not interested in doing. Instead it is an opportunity to have a plan of self-empowerment if it becomes apparent that this boat is merely attached to the dock instead of desiring to set sail on the seas of life. After that first year, and the person shows a sincere interest in forever-after by fulfilling the aforementioned commitments of ring and bended knee, I sincerely believe an additional 12 months is ample time to set a date, plan a wedding within an affordable budget, and start life with a covenant promise to Father God. Let's face it. It does no good to show up in church on Sunday knowing you're playing house or doctor with someone who's not your husband. I believe strongly in Divine Order. God's Word clearly states in Genesis that a man should take a wife. He warns in 1Corinthians that it is better to marry than to burn in lustful passion. I would that every woman wait well into her 30s to welcome a love interest. But I'm not God. He knows when the time is best for two people to fall in love. When that happens, and it is truly a love sent by God, then in faith the two must go forward and legally become one. But it's those long-term relationships that have no solid footing and are yielding no peaceable fruit that this writing is for. If you've been hanging in there for more than two years it's time to have that talk; first with yourself and then sadly enough with the person whose abusing the privilege of calling you his own. This is NOT about ultimatums. Who would want that? Would you? No, this is merely a plea that you respect yourself enough to say, 'This is what I want; when I want it'. If your timeline does not align with his, then you have to ask yourself if you're going to be a friend of Compromise for a while longer; with one last and ever-applicable mention: Compromise is not, and never will be, your friend. Be blessed and always know that peace can only come in Divine Order.