Dating is an important and sensitive process in every relationship. It is a pathway to marriage, and as such, it must not be done in a hurry. Every stone must be turned, and tiny details must be taken note of to ensure a successful marriage. Dating is a form of relationship in which partners assess each other’s suitability, especially in regards to marriage. There are a lot of factors to be considered in dating, like character, emotions, personalities, temperaments, habits, likes, dislikes, hobbies, morals, and values. Therefore, you cannot afford to go through this process haphazardly.
Answers must be explored to specific questions to gain a sense of clarity and direction, especially for the future. The Bible says, ‘’For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it’’. Luke 14:28. This fact, in itself, underlines the importance of planning. Partners need to know who they are going to spend the rest of their lives with and what they are getting into. This takes time.
Most of the time, meeting someone new, especially someone you like sparks up a whole new level of excitement and a desire to know the person. If the person equally warms up to you, things just got simpler, and yes, you have chemistry, but even at that, can you really say you know the person well? A study shows that a person can date a person for up to 18 months before that person reveals their true colors. Therefore, a great deal of time and effort is needed to really know someone. (That’s why I favor friends over romance, so you can see that person for who they really are, and not get your heart hurt if it doesn’t work out. You didn’t venture into romance and building feelings for them before you got to know them honestly)
Being able to understand someone’s character, wants, needs, and ambitions is a certain level of knowing that person, and that is no easy feat. This can be determined by genuinely spending quality time with the person. Understanding these factors and being able to identify if this person is a good fit for you requires a lot of time.
Summarily, it is quite possible to know someone, but there are always exceptions, and there are no norms or laid down rules since spontaneity is after all part of life. However, regardless of how spontaneous the relationship-building process is, observation and character assessment are vital to a healthy relationship. When it comes to knowing how long to date, it is essential to take your time. This is because people reveal themselves to you gradually or over-time. Regardless of how open and accessible you are to each other, time is needed to evaluate each other fully.
Certain factors must be seen in a person you date to make them suitable:
Honesty: There is no substitute for transparency and honesty. Both partners should be able to tell each other the truth without fear or any form of prejudice.
God-fearing: One of the most critical values couples must share is their faith. They must be God-fearing, as this will reflect in their behavior and conduct towards each other. Furthermore, they can relate to each other based on those terms stated in their faith.
Hard-working: Both parties need to be hard-working. This is to enable them to able to provide for themselves and their families when they start one. Not only that, but be willing to work hard to have a successful relationship.
Communication: It is not possible to know someone 100%, but communication creates a clear channel to know the person well, to adapt, and learn to coexist with each other. Communication is extremely vital not only in getting to know each other but serves as an indication that if quality time was spent, you have grown to know and understand each other. This implies that behaviors of partners have been mastered to a certain extent if that communication is achieved. The Bible says in Amos 3:3 that “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?’’.
Envisioning a future together: Often, when you see a future with someone, it can serve as an indication that you have learned about each other enough to decipher if they are a good fit for your life. Once again, this takes time. Your values, beliefs, and goals must align to consider sharing your future with anyone. There is a saying that goes thus, “patience is a virtue’’; in this regard, it is indeed a virtue that must be practiced when relationships, dating, or marriage is involved.
Keep in mind this is not a complete list of essential qualities, but they are some to get you started. I hope this helps. Happy Dating!