Thinking about post-wedding dating

[A reminder to everyone, just in case this post does not make sense: as born again Christians we aim to avoid pre-marital sex. Also, by “two-yearing” I mean quietly evaluating someone for two years in a non-romantic context to see what their character is, whether they are genuinely cultivating excellent character or not, whether they are genuinely kind and gracious to people around them etc.]

I was just reading a post on relationships, and thinking – wow, my thoughts are so radical (as in radically different to what many relationship experts think)! But prompted by that post, I was thinking practically how dating might work. (Considering my last post which I wrote just a couple of hours ago – that is, with that last post fresh in my mind.)  In that last post, I Iaid out what I believe to be a far more reliable way to think of and progress through a relationship. Taken with thoughts that I have previously expressed, perhaps a reliable path to marriage might look like this:

1. Evaluate for character. In practice, this will be via two-yearing. This might sound like a huge waste of time, and as people get older, they might feel more desperate to “cut to the chase”. However, this would be a false economy. In my online readings, a large proportion of relationships fall apart because of character issues, and furthermore most people do not have the kind of outstanding character that would contribute greatly towards an excellent marriage. So if you were to randomly choose someone and drag them down the aisle, the likelihood is that you would be heading straight into a big mistake. Now you could ask how I know, what evidence I have, that most people don’t have outstanding character. But pleeeeeeze, let’s be candid! They don’t. They just don’t. Surely anyone who has ever interacted with people would know that! I keep reading more and more stories that leave me utterly aghast at the self-centred ways in which supposed spouses are capable of treating one another. So by evaluating for character, you are pre-empting a huge variety of issues that could potentially happen in your eventual marriage, and working to minimise the probability that such issues would happen. Trust me, you can afford those two years! Those are literally the two most important years of anyone’s marriage, before the marriage has even begun. I think that that is also the reason why the marriages of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations are thought of as being better than ours; I feel I can confidently make another unevidenced generalisation that people and society just had better character back then, especially in less sophisticated, more rural areas. They were more honest, there was more integrity, more marital fidelity, more community-mindedness, even though racism and sexism were likely to have been huge deals depending on wherever you might have lived. Am I being extremely naive in this way of thinking? Furthermore, remember that while two-yearing might sound like a big investment of time, as you are not getting emotionally involved with anyone or making a tacit promise to anyone, you can “two-year” any number of people in that time.

2. Once you have established genuinely excellent character from one individual, then you can work to find out whether there is true basic compatibility between the two of you: are you going in the same direction etc.

3. Question about genuine sexual desire; if it is already there and abundant, then obviously that is great. If not, perhaps pray to see whether this is something that God might use to bless this relationship.

4. Start talking, asking questions more intently, and with intention: where do you want to go in life,  who do you want to be?  Do you want children etc.  Obviously so many more questions!

5. If it is all looking good, then decide to get married ( I will have to cross-reference with other posts I have previously written to make sure that there are not more steps and that the steps could not be more logically ordered.)

6. Develop a strong foundation of communication, and a strong foundation for your marriage generally.  Learn how to talk, really talk, disagree, argue.  Deliberately learn how to communicate. Don’t make your eventual marital communication a matter of accident, but rather something you have worked together to deliberately, consciously and painstakingly develop.

7. Get married!

8. Dating!  So this is the entire point of this particular post, thinking how to address your dating after you have gotten married. Because I do not believe in pre-marital dating, then my current intention is that up to that point HW and I would not have gone out on elaborate or fun dates, although obviously there would have been plenty of time talking before marriage. So now then, after we are married we can start going on those fun dates!

One advantage of keeping exciting dates until after marriage is that you don’t waste money on a random succession of people whom you will not eventually marry. However, I was thinking that it might seem a bit much to go from talking pre-wedding to sex post-wedding without “lubricating” your relationship  with a few fun dates first (genuinely no pun intended!), getting a little flirtation into your relationship.  And you know what, I think that I would like a good length of time to really get those feelings pumping!  You know where this is going, don’t you – perhaps we should postpone our wedding night until a little while after the wedding. At this point I can almost hear Huggie-Wuggie firmly put his foot down. “No, Tosin, you’ve already made me wait two full years, I am definitely not going to wait an extra six months!” OK, you know what, six months was the length of time I was thinking of. But if not six months, then how about, perhaps just one month?!  Also, which couple would be more justified in sleeping together on their “first date”, than one for whom that same “first date” has already been preceded by a wedding?!  I’m just throwing ideas out into the open just now. I guess the thing is that all the ingredients for deep passionate feeling would already be there. So it is not that I am mandating that you “should not sleep together” – you are now married, it is now acceptable, I’m just saying that for me it might feel a little weird.  But perhaps that is because I have been conditioned to think of exciting dates preceding marriage, and in the event, who can truly say how I might feel, or what might work for us as a couple?

Also, something else is that it might also feel weird to go straight to living with my husband if we have been deliberately avoiding cultivating the emotional intimacy brought about exciting, passionate dates.  What is the solution to this? Honestly I could not say without further thought.  Maintain separate living conditions for a while longer?  Move in together but keep separate rooms?  Would these solutions tend to be expensive?

I will think about it a little longer.  However, I think that, having deliberately avoided “big dating”, it would be lovely to start off the marriage with a strong focus on that.
This is what I am thinking:  Getting dressed up, flamboyantly. Gorgeous clothes, make-up, perfume, exquisite jewellery, high-heeled shoes (she laughs happily!) the works.  Going out for dinner, if not every night, then a few nights per week. (It is not expensive, it is an investment!)  We could also of course save money by cooking intimate dinners at home, and finding inexpensive or cheap dates – perhaps inexpensive places for a couple of nights per week, then one nicer place at the weekend. So what I am thinking of is a time to deliberately work on investing into your marriage, and injecting fun and laughter into it in a way that might not be sustainable in the long term when humdrum real life has set in. Perhaps also taking a little time off work, or changing your hours, to be able to invest more into this.  Although I am not suggesting that you should take months off at a time from work, otherwise with nothing else to do for months on end I would probably just get bored with all the hedonism. Not to mention broke after all those pricey dates! Then, after a little while of lubricating our relationship in this way, then maybe we could finally have that wedding night – perhaps not for the first time! By this time it could well be our tenth or twentieth “wedding night”. And then a few months later yet, when we feel thoroughly warmed up, we could then have the honeymoon, (moneymoon?!) And yeah, as I write this, I  definitely think it would be great to take serious time off work for this! Wink wink! Honestly, if you are a Christian, and you’ve been “waiting”, I feel a honeymoon is wasted for the very beginning of your marriage! You need to get sexually warmed up and a little physically used to and comfortable with one another first!

And you know what, as time and money permit, alongside regular date nights, I think it would be lovely to have an annual period of two weeks to a month to intensely focus on one another, to go on exciting dates, to give one another your undivided attention, away from the thoughts of everyday  life. To not be thinking about work, or even children, or any other everyday concerns, but rather to be deliberately injecting a fresh injection of passion and romance into your marriage.  Obviously no-one is going to forget about their children altogether for a month, especially if said children are young!
I’m thinking that it would be lovely to focus on one another with time and attention, (long days together, indulging one another’s preferences) money (dinner dates, debuting beautiful new clothes for one another’s benefit), and effort (ironing your clothes, getting new hairstyles, doing your make-up, nails).  Time, focused attention, money and effort are the costly things that for me make a friendship a true friendship, rather than an interaction with an acquaintance, and surely it can only work to enhance your union if you deliberately invest them into one another.

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