Sunday, July 05, 2009

DATING; Daunting, isn't it?

The following five questions were put to me from a friend's blog:

1. Are you single, in a relationship, married, divorced, separated, etc?
2. When was the last time you went on a date?
3. Describe your ideal date.
4. Do you think dating has become archaic?
5. What are your feelings on online dating services?

Hard questions for me to answer from my own comfortable stance. My marriage for the majority of the time feels like the proverbial compfy old slipper. But I ask you; what's wrong with that?

For those who are young and panting for that perfect, fulfilling relationship you might assume my compfy old slipper of a partnership boring. For those married only a few years--10 or less--you may be yearning for the sparks of when you first started dating to flare up again.

There was a time back when my husband and I had been married about that length of time and we both struggled with some of those questions. We wondered if there was something wrong with us that we didn't experience those dizzy sensations that we had the first year and a half of our marriage. Had the magic gone from our love? It was during an especially stressful time in our life that my husband and I read a book, Divorce Busting by Michele Weiner-Davis.

This author and counselor had talked to many couples like us, who had been married for a while and felt the fire of their marriage had died out, and that they were left only with that comfortable slipper feeling. Like a lot of people they assumed there was something wrong with this, and maybe they should hit the divorce courts and find that sparkling effervescent feeling with someone else. But in response to that, this counselor said the same thing as me. What's wrong with feeling so comfortable in your marriage that you feel you're at home wearing your slippers?

The right answer is; there is nothing wrong with that. I should point out, I'm not talking about those marriages that have severe issues to work out.

So after my husband and I got over that hump in our marriage, somewhere around our 12th anniversary, we continued on as we had been. We loved each other, were kind to each other, both of us took our responsibilities as spouses and parents to our children seriously. And we looked to God's guidebook on everything, the Bible.

So years later, at first glance dating would seem to be a non-issue for me. But upon closer look I realize that I date and have dated my husband a great deal. Most of the time it's simply coffee or a Sunday drive, or going out for lunch just the two of us. And as our kids have grown and left the nest, or when they boomerang back to it, my husband and I love to get into our car and go wherever. Just the two of us.

But back to the questionnaire. When was the last time I went on a date. Aside from going out for coffee, officially my last date would be about a week ago. We strolled through a rose garden at Point Defiance in Tacoma Washington. The sun shone, the scent of flowers clung to the air, and we dandered. I was content. He was content. No fireworks, our relationship filling us with the pleasure of a deep flowing river.

Perhaps that's why I find question # 3 difficult. Ideal date? Champagne and a dozen roses ceased to cut it for me years ago. I suppose being filled with contentment after 29 years of marriage, I may be unqualified to have an opinion . . . at first glance. The way I see it, dating is for those who are seeking. Seeking a permanent love relationship, or seeking to deepen that love relationship. I guess God has blessed my husband and me; we've reached that point and gone further. Our life seems to be one long, compfy date. And I say that from a well of gratitude, for so many people I love do not have what I have.

Is dating archaic? Now there's something I do have strong opinions on. You see I have children who date, one is married and two are single. My husband and I encourage our married son and his wife to date as much as possible. But for my two single children, I believe the reason for dating is for them to find their partner in life--if that is what God has planned for them.

And here is where I might shock a few; I don't believe people who are not at the stage of looking for a life partner should be dating. I also believe that if you've dated someone for a while and discover that relationship is not moving toward marriage that you should stop dating. Move on. Strong opinions, but then it's filled with the passion of a mother for her kids, and from that of being a wife who has for many years dated while wearing slippers. I want my children to have what I have.

Lastly, how do I feel about on-line dating services? Again I may shock a few.

I consider myself a romantic who loves to watch the romance of life. To describe my style of romance I'd have to say it's got a strong dose of the prosaic to it. I look back in history to the pioneer days when people used to write letters to get to know a prospective mate. Then if they felt this was a worthy person, they'd travel thousands of miles on a wagon train across prairies and mountain ranges to meet that person. It was hard for them in those days. So, to my thinking, what is the difference for modern-day people to use a reputable on-line service to write "letters" to people, and then if you like them, meet them for coffee?

All I add to this is, use your brain. Just make sure you really know this person before you walk down the aisle. It's a lot easier for someone now-a-days to back out of a dating relationship. At least if your date doesn't work out, you don't have to hitch a ride on a wagon train going east.

Dating really boils down to common sense, and a lot of marriage does too. There are no short cuts, but if you're sensible and trust God, then just maybe you'll be lucky enough to have what I have, that compfy old slipper feeling when you sit on the couch and hold hands with your mate. That's what you really want, deep down.

I Corinthians 13: 4-7 "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

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