Dating was never my strong suit. Or rather, I was good at getting a guy, but they didn’t always stick around. So what was I doing wrong? How could I change my dating tendencies to help find “the one”?
I asked a couple of girlfriends in college what they did to get in and stay in their stable relationship. A lot of them said the familiar “compromise, be fun, don’t be jealous” phrase. But one friend of mine threw me completely off. She told me that there was no physical contact between her and her boyfriend. Say WHAT? She began to explain to me her view on dating, how she and her boyfriend set boundaries and how that led to their strong relationship. After I heard everything she put on the table I said something along the lines of “yeah, I might try that” and left knowing I would NEVER be able to follow her lead. After some time and another failed relationship I was again thinking about what I was doing wrong. I was reminded of the conversation with this said friend. I must have mulled over her suggested boundaries in my head a thousand times. “How can she be dating someone and not even kiss them?” “Why are they “dating” if they don’t even go on one-on-one dates?” “I like to be touched, and held and cuddled, what’s so wrong with that?” But… clearly whatever I was doing wasn’t working out for me. So I decided to actually try this whole boundaries thing.
Side note: If you choose to believe in God or not, this STILL applies to you. If you believe in Jesus Christ then this is a GREAT way for you to set healthy boundaries for your heart, and a way for you to help keep your potential husband from sinning. If you don’t believe in God or what the church stands for, these boundaries STILL apply to you simply bc of how men are built. Men are men; they see in black and white, I promise this is life changing for them too.
So… setting up boundaries? I had never done that before. I didn’t even know where to start.
First I thought about things I knew I wanted out of a relationship: a husband. I wasn’t looking to date anymore. I wanted a man who was ready to commit, settle down and have a family with me.
Second I thought about things I knew really screwed up my past relationship: physical touch. So for me, I absolutely love being held, or kissed. I love falling alseep with someone… it makes me feel safe, which most girls can relate to. But the problem was always the same. Just because I felt safe and secure in that moment, doesn’t mean “he” feels the same way. It doesn’t mean “he” was ready to marry me. I had to figure out where I needed to stop physically so that my head stayed clear, and didn’t fall back into the emotional side of things rather than the realistic side of the relationship. For me, that was kissing. I cannot kiss someone without there being some sort of emotional attachment. I get butterflies, and can’t stop smiling, and tend to fantasize about a future that is completely far-fetched. And we all know that kissing leads to other things. Don’t even try to justify it… it does.
I decided that I could not kiss the next man I dated. If he wasn’t down with that, then well.. he wasn’t going to be my husband anyway. And if he was okay with my boundaries, then that was a START. If he could actually respect them would be a whole other story.
So the search began for Mr. Right. A guy who would want to get to know me for me and not for what he was going to get at the end of the night. Enter: Brian :)
Brian had a past similar to mine. Never really thought twice about boundaries before, dated around, not really taking anything to seriously. We were introduced by mutual friends and started hanging out in groups. When he found out about my boundaries he pulled me aside and asked “So… I heard you don’t kiss boys?” haha This was my moment. He was SO cute, definitely my type, going somewhere in life… I had to decide if I was going to lie and “act cool” or stick to my guns and explain to him why I made this decision. I took a chance and said “Yep. I’m tired of dating little boys who don’t know what they want. I’m looking for a man to marry and I think this is the way I’m going to find him” (Or something along those lines…this was a year+ ago) He was stunned to say the least. I honestly thought after that night I would never see him again. But I was wrong :)
Less than a year after we started dating we were husband and wife :) For the first two months of our relationship, we spent the majority of our time with other couples, or at my house with my family. I didn’t want to go on one-on-one dates until I knew I could trust myself with these boundaries. Plus, this was a great way for other people to see us interact and let me know if they saw red flags. I didn’t want to waste my time with another non-husband so being around other people really allowed transparency. Once we became official “boyfriend/girlfriend” or “exclusive” whatever you call it these days…. only then was he allowed to hold my hand. People… we did not kiss for the first four months of our relationship!!! It was so hard… like torturous, but man it was SO worth it. After four months of dating, and no physical contact, the man will either bounce bc you aren’t easy enough, or actually be so intrigued he stays around for you. Brian and I actually got to KNOW each other! There were no awkward goodbyes after dates, he never tried to “put the moves on me” in a movie theater…. I found a man who actually respected my boundaries and fell in love with the woman I am, not what I can do bc I’m a woman. And can I tell you how GREAT the sex was as a MARRIED couple?!?! Yep.. we waited for that too. And daggum it was so freaking worth it.
I am in no way saying you HAVE to do this to find a husband. Clearly, people get married everyday that in no way shape or form have boundaries. I’m not saying that you have to follow my boundaries. What I AM suggesting, is that you examine your love life, what you want and what’s not working. I can say that from being around other married couples, I honestly think Brian and I have a stronger foundation than most. (All the Glory goes to God!) Women truly underestimate the power sex or any physical act has over a relationship. Be a woman worth fighting for! Be different than any other girl he has dated. Respect yourself. Love yourself enough so he has no choice but to fall in love with you.
Brian told me that because I set boundaries he was instantly more attracted to me than he was to any other girl. Not only because he “couldn’t have me”, but because I knew my own value. It made him want to be a better guy, a better boyfriend, etc
And, I cannot tell you how much this has helped AFTER we got married. Knowing that he loved me for me and not physical acts is so reassuring! When you are on your lady time and aren’t going to have sex for a few days, you know he isn’t going to go running to someone else. You know that because he WAITED months for you! What is a couple of days? You know that when you are out of town the chances of him cheating on you are slim to none. Why? Because he treasures the woman YOU are and still remembers what it was like kissing you for the first time after months of dating. He knew you intimately before you kissed, why would he hook up with some stranger he doesn’t even know?
PLEASE think about these things when you start a new relationship or are working on the one you are in now. As a woman you were made with infinite dignity value and worth! And the best part is… if you and your next bf decide to break up… then no harm done! No sexual sin to worry about and carry over into your next relationship! That should be enough incentive to do it right there! :)
Ladies, I LOVE you! I don’t want anything from you, just something FOR you!