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In 2009, I told my wife that I was going to marry her. The problem is, we were not dating yet. 

A few weeks later, I convinced her to take a chance. I lined up a grandiose night. We went to one of those fancy restaurants where you cook your own food over an open flame, followed up by a night of ice skating (which we could barely do), and capped the evening with dessert and a few hours of good conversation.

Now as many of you know, I've been married for almost 5 years now. But without an incredible dating life, we might not be here (well at least I like to think so). So what are some powerful tips, thoughts, or “must do's” while you're dating? And what things will hopefully help close the deal… 🙂

7 Must Do's While You're Dating
Disclaimer: Most of this advice is for people looking to eventually get married. If you're not planning to get married, then you should read this article.

1. Get Raw Details Early On
It can take some time to find your soul mate. This could mean many dates with multiple people over a few years. My advice… Don't waste your time. Ask the important questions within the first 3 dates. Religion, kids, where you want to live, dreams, career, politics, etc. If you can get this section right, everything else will be clockwork.

2. Be More Modest Than You Think You Should Be
If you marry this person, you'll have a lifetime of nakedness, flirting, mooning, and maybe some inappropriate flashing. But don't give up all of this fun while you're dating. You might call me prude, but I think it's just smart. Keep your first few years of marriage awesome. And naked.

3. Be Exactly Who You Are
Sure, wear your best, smell like flowers and leather, but be yourself. Don't sell a better, more organized, more thoughtful, more skanky, more wealthy version of yourself. Just be who you are. I promise it's enough and if your partner is captivated by the real you, there is nothing better.

4. Go Somewhere Awesome With a Married Couple
Around date number 10, plan a trip or daycation with a married couple (without kids). Watch their mannerisms and the way they talk to each other. Ask them about their dating life and what they would have done differently. There is no better way to understand marriage than seeing it with your own eyes.

5. Write Them a Future Spouse Letter
If this person is possibly “the one,” write them a future spouse letter. Tell them how you feel (now), what you're excited about and what you hope life will look like in 10 years. And if you do tie the knot, give it to them on your honeymoon. Even if the facts change, the thought will make their brain explode.

6. Take Your Time, But Don't Be An Idiot
Everything you need to learn in order to make the “can I marry this person” decision occurs within one year. Sure, you will not know everything about them, but you'll know enough. My wife and I dated for one year before we were married. I have learned a lot about her since, but nothing that was so critical it would have changed my decision of marrying her. Date a year. Not four. Don't make excuses. People have been dating and marrying in less than a year for thousands of years. And remember, one third of the world is still made of arranged marriages (and they have lower divorce rates). Step up to the plate, you can do this. 

7. Prepare to Mourn Your Singleness (Important)
Anytime there is loss there is a need for mourning. The primary symptom of PTSD is caused from people who lost something and did not grieve it. This is why the minds of soldiers who have left war zones still act like they're on the battlefield. This is also the reason why people who are no longer single still act like they are. Their minds have not mourned the loss. After you're married, you've lost the ability to show intimate affection to others. You've lost the ability to only care about yourself. You've lost the ability to flirt. Marriage is a great thing, but there is loss involved. Mourn the loss of your singleness. It will only strengthen your future marriage.

How did these must do's make you feel? Do you have any good dating experiences or tips yourself? Tell me your story in the comments below.

Post Photo by: Kelly Boitano

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Comments

89 Responses

  1. “6. Take Your Time, But Don’t Be An Idiot”

    I think it’s interesting that you would cast the last part of this advice so pejoratively (and also interesting given who the person is who happens to be giving the advice).
    I also wonder where you were with your advice when I, a woman, was being given advice from my elders over a way too long period of time to “give him a chance” and “don’t be so impatient”, when I was dating someone way longer than I should have been but didn’t have anyone off whom to bounce the suggestions you give here. And not everyone — especially not women, and especially in this culture — is just born knowing this kind of thing and/or gets these kinds of suggestions in his or her teens, when they would do the most good.
    Just because someone isn’t acculturated like you’ve been acculturated (you clearly expect everyone to listen to you, and have been conditioned as such from a young age) and wasn’t mentored like you’re mentored, that doesn’t make that other person an “idiot”.

  2. I love most of the points he made. In my own opinion, I would prefer to date someone for at least 2 years before marriage. I had an engagement go south after only dating a year. The second year, all the controlling attributes of my ex were forced to be exposed, because hiding that part of himself became harder and harder with time and outside stresses. You need life to present you with hardship, happiness, pain, challenge, ect. to truly show you a person’s character. Within a year, it is often difficult to see those things. Also, if I am committed to someone, marriage is more of a way celebration of that. I want to fully enjoy each step of a relationship, such as a year long engagement. You will never get that time back, so enjoy it/ process it and allow it to strengthen your marriage. I also agree with mourning your singleness, or at least finding a way to cautiously accept the massive change in your life. Take time, alone, to process this change and evaluate subjectively that this change and person is exactly what you want. Beautiful blog post though.

  3. “And remember, one third of the world is still made of arranged marriages (and they have lower divorce rates). Step up to the plate, you can do this. ”

    Why this example? I mean, that’s true but you’re ignoring facts; in most of the cultures that still have arranged marriages the woman is considerably opressed.

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