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… πŸ™‚

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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89 Responses

  1. Thanks Dale. This is useful. Had someone special in my mind as i read this. Thanks for the tips.

  2. I love these tips! I don’t think anyone ever brings up the last one. Excellent insight! I hope you two have a long and awesome marriage! I just got engaged on July 4th; there’s definitely a mix of fear and excitement on my part but these tips just make me think of how many things we’ve done right getting to this point, and hopefully God will bless the years to come πŸ™‚

    1. Haha I remember that mix of fear and excitement. Marriage is the best thing that ever happened to me, and it will be for you too. Cheers friend

  3. I wonder how the girl I’d love to date would react if I told her I was going to marry her…..

    1. Well, if I were that person, I would take a step back, honestly. Too much too soon if you just met or have one been on a couple of dates.

    1. Hey Austin, when you get engaged there is a mix of emotions that happen. Both fear and exhilaration. Then fear again. Then unexplainable joy. Marriage is a big responsibility and is (meant to be) permanent. It also requires SACRIFICE and SELFLESSNESS – two things that go against most of our human nature. Just know when you start having these realizations, we’ve all been there too and you’re completely normal πŸ˜‰

  4. Great article!. I agree with taking one year to date before getting married. I got married under a year, actually by the time came around for one year of dating i was about to get married, and i have learnt that once u step up and make the decision to get married just enjoy growing with the person. My wife and i spent alot of time at the park talking we went to the movies alot but there came a point that i just asked her to marry me and we just got it over with and done there was no point in waiting, it was a leap of faith. Now we have been married 3 & half years with 2 children and i have no regrets.

  5. Great list! Absolutely agree with the modesty point. You have plenty of time to, umm, do that when you marry. Get to know the person, first.

  6. I have been married for almost 20 years now… Love her just as much when we got married in 1995… Love the article but would disagree with point number one. The whole dating atmosphere is just not the way to learn who that person really is. I have a philosophy that I am teaching our kids. I believe the way to really get to know a person is to watch them as they interact with groups. How do they treat their friends? How do they treat others within their circles of influence? How do they act with strangers? Once you see that then enter into the dating world but not before. Don’t know what others think of this but I have seen it help save marriages, broken hearts, and set people on a path of getting to know the real person. Hope it helps.

    1. True. Many people have given this dating advice to women: Watch how he treats his mother, his sister, his aunt…his treatment of the women in his life is a big indicator as to how he will eventually treat his wife.

    2. I completely agree with you Tim! It is important to observe (analytically watch) how others interact. It really can show you another side of the person which I feel IS important. Does this person speak and interact in a way that is sarcastic? Rude? Kind? Encouraging? This is how he/she will communicate with you, most likely. I’m really glad you made this point!

    3. I definitely agree that becoming friends beforehand is a great thing! And you can absolutely learn a ton about a person’s character by watching them act around their friends, family, and to the waiter when there’s a hair in their food. πŸ˜‰ Good stuff Tim!

  7. I agree, except for the point where it says you should date for one year before marrying instead of four. Marrying is a big thing and not everyone is ready to get married after one year of dating. I think people should get married because it feels right, not because their time’s up. Buuuut except for that: good article :3 It was very inspiring.

    1. Agree with you. Everyone has his/her own timeline, and often for good reason. We should not be dictated to by society that says 1-2 years is enough time to decide. There are so many mitigating factors that contribute to a longer dating span or lengthy engagements. The writer’s advice is too cut and dry for my liking.

  8. I like the last tip the most. I am not currently dating, but when I was, there was a sense of loss for my singleness. I’ll remember that this is a normal thing the next time I’m in a committed relationship.

    1. Absolutely. Wish someone had told me beforehand, but glad I get to pass that torch on now πŸ™‚

  9. I really like your article, I disagree with the dating for a year though. My boyfriend and I have talked about marriage, will be engaged soon; we plan to get married next year; I met him last September. We both believe in the “once you know, you know and why wait” theory of deciding to get married. There’s still a lot for us to learn, but we both strongly feel no matter what the other one says or does we are not leaving them. We both also don’t believe in divorce. We both know, a lot of people are going to question our decision, wonder why we are (seems like to them) rushing things; but when you can see this is a work of God, that you are meant to be where you are and who you’re with there’s no sense in wasting time with waiting; we know we want to be together for the rest of our lives and create a family together; why prolong it by waiting longer to get married?

      1. I was more commenting on that it doesn’t always take a year, I will be engaged before my boyfriend and I hit our year mark. My boyfriend knew way before me that he wanted to marry me, he hasn’t really been dating me. It’s better described this way; a friend asked him, “so, you don’t date but you have girlfriend, are you courting her?” And his response, “I would not have asked her out, if I didn’t think marriage was in the picture.”

    1. I totally understand what you mean! I knew right away when I wanted to marry my wife, and as I said in the blog, it was before we were even dating! I was more speaking to wait no longer than 1 year because you know everything you should in that time.. and it sounds like you both do πŸ™‚ Congrats on your future!

      1. Thank you! He makes me so happy, I can’t wait until engaged and married to him. =)
        I agree with you, sometimes yes couples need that year, but with us it has felt like a God thing the whole time; the way we met, the timing, and the pace of us getting together and deciding we want to be married. I have never felt the way I do towards him with anyone else, and I have never trusted someone as quickly as I did with him. Don’t get me wrong, he did have to go through some hoops, I had given up on love and didn’t realize I was even interested in him at first. But I am so glad he continued to pursue me. =)

  10. Simple, practical and honest. Love it! Thanks Dale! Forwarding the link to all my single friends))

  11. I definitely don’t think that’s being a prude! We are called to be pure, and it only makes things difficult when you’re not. I like the point you made about not waiting four years to marry. I’ve noticed that four years seems to be the breaking point for couples who are just dating. Usually these couples are already intimate and haven’t saved ANYTHING for marriage and it has a huge impact on the stability of the relationship. Save it for marriage, and if you can’t see yourself marrying this person then why on earth would you want to be intimate with them??

    1. My husband and I dated for four years before getting married. We knew we wanted to get married, but we wanted to finish college and establish our careers first. Before we got engaged (after 3 1/2 years) I wasted a lot of energy wondering why we were already engaged because “most people don’t wait this long”. In the meantime, my hubby was working to create a life where he felt he could provide for me. I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I didn’t worry so much about a ‘one-year rule’ and just trusted our love for each other and things would work out. We have been quite happily married for over a decade now. I have learned that the end result is what matters, staying married is more important than getting married quickly.

  12. In reference to number 7, I think it is quite funny that the loss of singleness is compared to PSTD among returning soldiers. Either marriage and the “mourning of singleness” are terrifying, or this comparison is a fine example of hyperbole! LOL. Furthermore, if you have found the right person, your “soul-mate” as Dale puts it, then why the need to mourn? Marriage is supposed to enhance your life, make it better, more exciting, more fun, more fulfilling, more secure and with greater contentment and happiness. Losing the ability to be “affectionate with others” and “to flirt” should hardly be a sacrifice of any significance compared to the new married life one is experiencing, if the correct partner has been chosen. Signed, Ain’t Got No Time for Mourning.

    1. Haha thanks for sharing your perspective, Cat! Comparing the loss of singleness to PSTD among returning soldiers was an apples to oranges thing, and only used to get my point across. I obviously know there is NO comparison with the severe trauma soldiers experience. And I do agree with you that marriage is incredible, but there is an extreme amount of sacrifice and selflessness and sometimes plain old hard work to make a successful marriage. It’s important to realize this (as much as possible) pre-marriage and to be able to let your old life fall away so you can cleave to your new life.

  13. Great article, but I want more details about YOU and the wifey! πŸ™‚ Were you guys friends beforehand, or did you literally meet her one night and say, “I’m going to marry you.” That is so sweet! Thanks for the article. πŸ™‚

  14. I’d listened to all the advice possible about dating. But my story is very different. I was married. Then at 24, I was left a widow with 2 children. Dating for me was an exercise in rejection. So I gave up. I had been a widow for 17 years, my last “date” was 12 years ago. I met my current husband at a church I was visiting. 24 hours later, he asked me to marry him, and I said “Yes”. We had always been raised for the “date each other for a year” mentality. But after 3 months, our Pastor asked us “what is it that you are waiting for? You are both over 40, and it is clear, that you were meant for one another” So 6 months after we met, we were married. Course the difference is we were both over 40, had realistic expectations, and had already discovered who we were individually. So, how did that work out you might ask?? It has now been 18 years, we have worked together almost everyday of our marriage side by side, and honestly, neither one of us could imagine it being any other way. I don’t know if you would call it “love at first sight” it is simply I had long ago surrendered my right to choose to someone who was much more qualified. God.

    1. Wow Donna I got chills reading your story. I’m so sorry for the tragedy you experienced so early on, but I am filled with joy at how the rest of your story unraveled. Thank you for choosing to share your story with me.

  15. Number 3 speaks well. Being yourself is easier otherwise one is able to pick up a fake character sooner or later. I am not married or dating but many thanks, this article has prepared me.

  16. I met my wife on an elevator in Dallas in 1991. We lived in different cities. My words to her 2 days later across the phone lines 500 miles away — ‘I told my parents I met the girl I’m gonna marry’…silenced ensued. 6 months later she moved to ‘my town’ and the rest is history. Fast forward 21 years and we have 5 children and a beautiful marriage. We are best friends. I’d rather do anything and everything with her and our kids see that everyday. ‘I wanna marry my best friend’ they tell us often. Pardon my interruption: Tip #8: Marry your best friend. What you said about being yourself; that is paramount. As in business, sales, pretty much all walks of life — be yourself otherwise you’ll spend time, check that, waste time trying to be someone you’re not or trying to cover-up what you were pretending to be.

  17. I met my wife on an elevator in Dallas in 1991. We lived in different cities. My words to her 2 days later across the phone lines 500 miles away — ‘I told my parents I met the girl I’m gonna marry’…silenced ensued. 6 months later she moved to ‘my town’ and the rest is history. Fast forward 21 years and we have 5 children and a beautiful marriage. We are best friends. I’d rather do anything and everything with her and our kids see that everyday. ‘I wanna marry my best friend’ they tell us often. Pardon my interruption: Tip #8: Marry your best friend. What you said about being yourself; that is paramount. As in business, sales, pretty much all walks of life — be yourself otherwise you’ll spend time, check that, waste time trying to be someone you’re not or trying to cover-up what you were pretending to be.

  18. My grandmother introduced me to my husband in May 2013. We got engaged 2 months later and were married 3 months after that. We just knew and there was no reason to stretch anything out. He told me on our third dare that he knew the moment he saw me that I was his future wife. That scared me, a lot! I also understand mourning singleness. I was 31, hadn’t been on a date in nearly 5 years and had gotten into the groove of doing whatever, whenever with whomever. I miss having the free time to hangout with my single friends. Sometimes I miss having my house all to myself, but I wouldn’t trade my husband in to have that back.

  19. I don’t think you know all you need to know about a person in a year to consider someone marriage material. I think at least two is good to get a really good sense of their family life, goals and dreams. It’s a good time to see where they are financially and career-wise or school wise and maybe getting married after a year isn’t practical. I also don’t think you lose the ability to flirt when you get married, you should still flirt, date, engage and encourage your spouse just like it was the first few dates. The couples I know that are married still flirt and hug and show affection as well as stand by and support their spouses. In needing to mourn something you can’t do anymore, it’s good to have that time but there shouldn’t be a huge discomfort.

    1. Of course he doesn’t mean you can’t flirt of show affection to your spouse!!! He means you can’t flirt with your other friends anymore.

  20. My husband and I both knew we were going to get married on our second date. We thought we were making a great decision by waiting 5yrs to get married. We wanted all our stars to line up. Just when we thought everything was in order my husband was in a car accident. It’s never a good time to get married, but if you love each other you don’t need everything to be in order, you’ll find a way to make it through the hard times together. If you know, just do it.

  21. Wow. This article was terrible. Of course there are less divorce rates within arranged marriages, because the women would probably be beaten if she even said the word. And besides, they’d probably have to sell themselves on the streets if they got a divorce anyway. So duh they’d just stay married to someone who thinks they’re beneath them. It’s barbaric.
    I have one word of advice for people who want to get married while dating: stop reading these articles. Only you will know when you’re ready, and don’t be swayed by people like this who tell you to rush, or have a checklist of things you should do. You know yourself and your significant other, do things the way you feel most comfortable and when you have problems just be honest and talk it out. Don’t refer to articles over what your future husband or wife would to, go to them yourself and ask.

    1. Well this is a ridiculous response… First of all check lists are very helpful and so is research and learning about other people’s experiences. Yes, do things on your time but if you are serious, get the important stuff out there right away. You should be able to know enough in a year to marry someone so long as they are honest (most dishonest people will be figured out long before so watch for the signs). That doesn’t mean get married right away but move in that direction… Yes I agree the arranged marriage reference was stupid but also people here get divorced so easily without trying to really work it out. Either way, your response is unintelligent and ignorant. He was sharing an experience and his advice based on it… Not telling everyone the only way to make things work. People should read things like this and really figure out what they want… Your negativity is not needed. So because of your beliefs on these types of articles maybe it is you who should stop reading these types them and sharing your ignorant opinions with people who are seeking actual advice.

    2. So I know a couple how got married via an arranged marriage, and the guy turned out to be an asshole. The girl (my friend) divorced him not even a year later.
      I also know another couple, my best friend’s parents, who had an arranged marriage and they are as happy as they can be.
      The selling themselves on the streets don’t happen everywhere, but in really orthodox places and yes it’s unfortunate.
      Also I don’t think most people understand the plot of arranged marriages. In India, there are some cases where the couple see each other only on their wedding day, which is very rare and then there are cases where the family tries to set up a young couple, and they ‘court’ for a while and if both agree, they get married. That’s arranged marriage. Because it was arranged by the family, as opposed to ‘love marriage’ where a girl meets guy and they fall in love and then get married.
      If by the age of 30, I might not be able to find a guy to my liking, my parents will step in and help me look.

    3. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about it disgusts me to think that there are women who make comments about things they have no idea of. How dare you ought to think of someone selling themselves in the streets as an escape from an abusive marriage. Above all else that says something about you!

  22. My husband and I celebrated our second year of dating about three months after we were married. We always joke that we waited too long because we knew nearly a year before we were married that we were supposed to be. It is true, we regret that year we missed out on being married, but we’re so glad that we didn’t wait any longer. We have been married for two years now, are 22 and 23, and are finishing our undergraduate degrees together and having so much fun! Marriage is so hard, but soooo worth it and so sweet! Jesus is so, so good and ever-faithful every step of the way!! Also, #2 on the list is crucial. Nakedness is so fun and special after you are married! Don’t ruin it beforehand–it’s well worth the wait! Thanks for posting actual good advice, Dale! πŸ™‚

    1. Beth, you made my mind explode! It is great to hear what you just said about marriage. I am in 9 years long relationship , I met him when I was 16 and he asked me to marry him when I was 17. I refused with excuse that I am too young , but I said it this year too. And reading your comment made me realize that it’s not about my age, career , place to live or anything. It’s about never knowing “we were supposed to be” , as you said. I never had that feeling about him. I love dating with him, but marrying him… That idea simply does not put a smile on my face.
      Everyone there, please never marry wrong person. Escape divorce. If imagining living together with your date and having kids does not make you smile , move on. It’s not about you and wrong moment. It’s about your partner and wrong person. There is no need to wait right time, perfect job or whatever your excuse is , it will never come. It will not change in year, two or nine. Never.

      I will marry my boyfriend because I live in small town without any chance to ever move somewhere else, and being 25 and not married yet is social suicide. I know everyone in town and there is no right guy for me here, so I will just stay with my boyfriend in wrong relationship. If that is not your case, if you have any choice, do not waste your time.
      Move on, go find right person , live , fall in love , say the big yes with a smile on your face, not with tears.
      Live , love , smile , girls :))

      1. I truly believe God has someone out there for you… it takes time and patience. If you are not genuinely happy I so encourage you to not lower your standards and marry him just because you feel singleness at 25 is social suicide. God Bless.

  23. This is a great article. I, too, am curious how you would recommend someone could mourn singleness. I’ve never heard the topic framed that way before, but I think it’s very accurate and necessary. Any more specific thoughts you’d be willing to share on mourning singleness?

  24. Is it just me, or do #2 and #3 contradict each other? How can one truly be themselves while acting more modest, unless modesty is already a natural part of their character? Sounds like #2 is asking the reader to put on a facade.

    1. Maybe instead of choosing the low cut blouse, you opt for a higher cut. Don’t talk about sexual situations, fantasies, or desires for a while. Get to know their heart, what makes them them. If a relationship is based on sex from the get-go when push comes to shove it’ll crumble. Build your relationship on something solid-friendship. That way should something happen and sex is no longer an option, you still have that base to fall back on.

  25. Don’t date for too long? No. I cannot believe anyone would have the nerve to tell readers to date for a certain period of time before marrying. Yikes

    1. In my mind it basically means if you can’t determine that someone is “the one” in a year of serious dating, then they probably are not. If it takes four years to finally say yep he/she’s the one, maybe they really aren’t.

      1. I understand the idea, but I will say that for some people- it takes a while. Obvious case: my boyfriend and I were best friends for 2 years before we dated from the moment we met. I was only 21 and was having fun…and he was 20-though he knew what he wanted from the get-go and has never swayed(amazing). Even after we became more, life happened, and we ended up being in a long distance relationship for a while- so it just wasn’t a typical situation. I am now 100% positive that he is the one for me, but it took ages for me to see that- regardless of the fact that from the moment we met, we have talked for hours EVERY DAY, about a year in, we were already constantly reminding each other that we were each others favorite people, and I never feel safer than when I am with him. Ok and one more thing-I’ll be honest– he isn’t what I expected as a young girl to end up with. He’s a little under average height, quirky, and has a receding hairline(which he shaves down- beautiful face and shape though). I imagined the man for me would be tall dark and handsome, and serious. That would have been a disaster! He levels my overly serious personality out and makes me laugh. Little girl dreams prevented me from seeing what truly mattered though..and ‘expectations’ can sometimes get in the way- not to mention life boundaries. We have been together for 4 years now and I hope forever.

        1. Aww this is great. Thanks for sharing! As a little girl I though the SAME thing. I would have someone who was just drop dead gorgeous and drive a Mercedes and be a serious-like “business man”, but who I am with now completely levels out my overly serious personality too. I stress way too much and he is always there to give me a little giggle and put things into perspective… and I like how he doesn’t use so many words to make me feel that way. He can say “it’s going to be okay” and do a little smile and the stress melts away. Me on the other hand.. I sometimes use TOO many words. Haha. πŸ™‚

  26. Have you studied any form of psychology? Do you even know what PTSD is? PTSD is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is in no way cause by the amount of grieving one does. The most common people who have PTSD are those who have gone to war and those who have been sexually assaulted or abused. These events cause a lot of stress and can be very difficult to cope with. You don’t just grieve after going to war. You don’t just grieve if you’ve had the shit beat out of you. You don’t just grieve if you have been raped. PTSD is a form of anxiety, and lack of grief does not cause it. Even if they are correlated, that doesn’t meet it is what is causing PTSD. They are correlated because one cannot grieve a traumatic event if they feel like they are in that situation when they are not. They cannot grieve if they relive the event over and over and over. The lack of grief does not cause PTSD. This article is bull shit. Before one can enter a relationship and especially a marriage, they need to know who they are, what they want for themselves first. For #1, as an introvert and a person who will share details when I am ready, don’t ask me how many kids I want on the third date. There is plenty of time to talk and get to know each other, that just makes for an awkward dinner conversation. “Hey we’ve known each other for a couple of weeks now. I haven’t met your parents or siblings and I haven’t seen you poop or burp or fart, but how many kids to do want? What should we name our children?” That’s not third date material. As for #2&3, those two mean the opposite things. Be modest, but be yourself. Oh! and don’t forget to ask about babies. Then, there is #4. Go somewhere awesome with a married couple around date ten. Why the hell would I want to spend time with a married couple around date ten? I don’t. “I’ve known you for two or three months now, so lets go with Jim and Sally and ask them questions about being married. You know, I still haven’t seen all sides of you and I still don’t know how you act since you are being more modest than you think you should be. But what the hell! Lets go on vacation.” And then #6. I actually laughed out loud on that one. 1 year? Really? It probably took you about five years if not more to figure out – and have a concept of – your “self” and you’re identity. Why in the world would you think that one year would be two much or two little? That isn’t your say and you should never tell anyone how long they should date before spending the big bucks on a ring. So tell me Mr. Dale Patrige. You’re 28 and the CEO of Sevenly. . . . what is your degree in? Have you studied the brain and behavior? Are you an expert in marriage counseling? Are you a master at disorders and emotional development? If you are, then please keep telling people how to fall in love, but back it up with some research and cite that shit. If you are not, then don’t write bull shit blogs. However, if you are still hell bend on telling people that getting married is as easy as these six steps (not even going to go there on number seven, that one was just idiotic) you should do some research. Take some classes at an accredited university. Catch up on the changes in research. Cite your work.

    1. Well, someone is feeling aggressive. You could’ve stopped with the point about PTSD. That’s understandable… But then you go off on your Bullwinkle rant. Get over yourself. Maybe all of these things worked for him. Maybe not for you. There is nothing wrong with being brutally honest about what you want early in the dating relationship. That’s being comfortable with who you are. If someone takes off because of that, they scare too easy. You sound as though you’d be a good one to scare away anyways.

  27. My husband and I knew we were meant for each other and were going to get married probably 2 or 3 months into our relationship but we did not get engaged until our 2nd anniversary. We were both still in college and wanted to get on our feet a little before starting our lives together. My husband graduated before me, got a job, was able to buy a ring and pay our bills. He proposed when I had one semester left and our wedding was 10 months later. We were able to immediately buy a house and start a life together.

    We went through a lot together through those 2 years that strengthened our bond and commitment to one another without the feeling of being “stuck”. I think that is what puts a lot of stress on marriage the first year (why many call it the toughest year). People are just starting to learn about one another (this person snores, farts, clips his/her toenails and lets them fly all over, doesn’t put clothes away the way I like, all the stupid little things) and then they feel they don’t know the person they married and start to wonder what they got themselves into and they feel trapped because they are now married and it makes everything that is so small and magnifies it x10 and then fights begin to tear them apart. My husband and I knew each other very well before getting married. Our first year there were no surprises. We were 100% comfortable with each other which made marriage not a scary endeavor at all.

    My husband and I were not “modest” before marriage but it has not kept our first years of marriage from being awesome. My husband and I have been together for 8 years and married for 5 and we flirt more now then we ever have. We are crazy for each other. There is no reason for that to ever stop.

    Also I would be very careful which married couple you go out on a date with. I love my marriage but I would NOT want to have the kind of marriage that most of my friends have. I would never want to judge marriage based on those couples. My marriage is amazing. People always say marriage is difficult but I just don’t see that at all. My husband and I are best friends and I love being married to him. We very rarely fight and when we do we get over it and apologize to each other right away. We never feel one has to be right or wrong. We know we are on each others side.

    Mourn your singleness? How do you do that? I don’t get this one at all.

    My husband and I were happy to get married. We miss absolutely NOTHING about being single! But then again we are each others best friend and love spending every moment we can with each other.

    “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.”

    I guess your mindset is the problem…You feel you have lost the ability to do something instead of feeling like the amazing fact that you don’t want to show intimate affection to anyone other than your spouse, you care more about that other person than yourself, and you get to flirt ever single day with the love of your life.

  28. I really enjoyed this blog and perspective, and this was exactly what I needed to hear right now! It’s been almost a year since I was in a relationship with the guy I dated for 4 years and we were planning to get married. If I would have read this blog, I would have benefitted greatly then. But now… Starting over with someone new, I realize this is an awakening for me, a call for discernment if you will.
    I really appreciated this wisdom today!

  29. My boyfriend and I discussed all the “raw” facts on our first date. We’ve been together a little over a year and after two weeks I fell in love with him (and told him) and about 6 months into our relationship I confessed that I would of married him on our first date! He was blown away! I fully agree with what you’ve stated above, I may not know everything about him but I know because of how I love him there’s nothing I could learn about him that would change my mind about him/us.

  30. “Date a year. Not four” is possibly the scariest relationship advice I’ve ever heard in my life. Step up to the plate?? What kind of crazy pressure is this? Deciding to marry someone should never be about trying to prove something, or succumbing to outside pressure. I
    My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, and I am so glad that nothing about our relationship has been rushed! Maybe if we had that ‘rush to the alter now, think later’ mindset we wouldn’t both be pursuing medical school now. And if I would have married the first guy I was in love after one year, I would now be a divorced, depressed, broke 23 year old.. disowned by my parents and possibly without my bachelors degree.
    If you plan on being with that someone forever, why rush? Plus weddings can be extremely expensive for young people.
    Being yourself is very good advice though.

    1. Amen! I agree. Thank goodness I never married the first serious relationship I had. I would have been in some big problems and would have never met who I am with now.

    2. I understand the point he is trying to make here in the article. It has nothing to do with marrying the first person you date where the relationship lasts a year. It is about not waiting and waiting just because society has created the norm to wait and wait. Obviously circumstances such as money, career changes, educational pursuits, etc. can add more time to the dating process. But if you know the person is the one, don’t keep waiting just because you fear you haven’t been together long enough. “Step up to the plate” means actually working to have a great marriage.

  31. I just “found” your “site” a few days ago after reading a blog your wife wrote about not wearing leggings (Hence the late comment). I just Loved the blog she wrote, especially because I have experienced the SAME EXACT conviction & I began to dress modestly & for the same reason (although, my husband didn’t appreciate it).
    I can say that I LOVE the dating advice you have given – It is REAL & HONEST & for us who are also Real & Honest, Thank you for the “Realness!” – Good Advice!

  32. Thank you so much for this. I have been dating my boyfriend for less than 2 months. He’s in his early 40’s, divorced with kids and I’m in my late 30’s, never married. He and I have both said numerous times that we don’t know how we found each other and we can’t believe we’re already so passionate about building a life together (even though we both KNOW that God put us together). I’ve certainly never felt this way about any other man. While we both feel like this is it, and we’re going to be together forever, we know the importance of learning about each other and taking time to get to know each other’s quirks. I don’t know what that time limit will be, being that we’re older and are very established in what we want from life. We’re not building our careers, we’re already in them, and we’re both financially stable, so some of the same issues other couples have spoken about don’t apply to us. And I can’t fathom waiting more than a year….even a year, at times.. to marry him. But weddings can be daunting if you’re not in a financial situation to make that happen. Plus, we’re not going to live together before we get married, but we both have our own homes…I think a lot of couples move in to save money for a wedding. I’ve made that mistake before and won’t ever do it again, but that was ME and MY situation, so please don’t hate on me for that. We can’t wait to go through things together and see how the other reacts to things. I learn more about him every day, but the major things were discussed at length in the first 3-4 dates. I’m definitely going to write that letter, too. It’s a great idea. We are raw and real with each other, and it’s nice, although sometimes scary when he is honest with the level that he already trusts me and wants to involve me in his and his kids’s lives. I don’t know if I’ll mourn my singleness. I’ve wanted to be done with it for so long…but I guess I’ll know at some point, if I feel like I don’t have the same freedoms. And I’ll hopefully be aware enough to figure it out. But I’m prepared for it, and ready for it. Because this is what I’ve waited for. This man who is exactly what I need.

  33. I enjoyed reading your blog, good food for thought, especially the point of morning your singleness. I think that’s a very important point, people don’t realize it and/or think that it is appropriate. I was taken aback when I read the primary symptom of PTSD is caused by people “who lost something and did not grieve it.” People who develop PTSD develop it because of a traumatic, life threatening event that occurred to them, which they had no control over. We don’t know why some people develop it while others don’t. There are many theories, most are related to a person’s brain chemistry and anatomy being different from others, which makes these individuals reexperience the trauma in intense, violent ways. It is not because these individuals did not grieve something they lost. If it could only be that simple. I’m wondering if you would consider removing that analogy from your blog? Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    “PTSD is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster.”

  34. “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”.

  35. 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.

  36. “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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