If you’re in a romantic relationship you will more likely than not eventually hear the word commitment. And there’s nothing wrong with that as any relationship should go through stages of progression. So that’s what I want to talk to you about – progression. You see, for whatever the reason may be relationships as we’ve come to know them don’t go through stages of progression and we often wonder what happened when they end so abruptly or with violence and dysfunction.
The truth is there wasn’t a progression and if there was along the way one or both people missed the red flags, warning signs, and manipulation tactics that showed the relationship was not going to last, let along bring them the happiness and love they know they desire and deserve to have. When we first meet someone most of us can say we’re guilty of getting our hopes us in such a way that we start thinking too quickly the person will be the person that causes us to remain of the market indefinitely. Because no more will we be dating, we will have our one true desire – to share the same last name.
It’s so easy for us to run away with the ideas of a future we create in our mind and to assume because things are off to a great start that the best is yet to come. And so, we say we’re ready to be exclusive and sometimes we say we’re ready to say I do. But are we really? I assure you that depending on how quickly your relationship progressed that answer is no. As you know what comes fast doesn’t last. Yes, there are exceptions, however, most of the time the world wind romance of wining and dining and I love you and I can’t wait to see you turns into I don’t know what I was thinking and this is not what I expected commitment to look like.
That’s why before you know it or when you least expect it, you hear the words, it’s over, get out, I’m done and in marriage I want a divorce, I can’t take it anymore, or in some instances spouses serve an unfortunate surprise of divorce papers or feels it’s best to leave their once beloved spouse to come home to an empty house. It’s a harsh reality many will face this year and, in the years, to come because they’ve in most cases not mastered relational intelligence and having critical and crucial conversations before rushing into commitment.
So how do you take a proactive approach in dating to give yourself an optimal chance to truly have love and happiness in your relationship? I’m glad you asked…
1. Talk about Purpose – Yes, purpose is number one. Because if a person is purposeless in life that is a major problem because that means they’re living life without a vision. They’re just going through the motions and to live life with a whatever whenever mindset is to live life aimless. And do you really want to commit to living life that way? A person’s purpose is their why and our why whatever it may be drives us to do the things we do, think the way we think, and live the way we live. It matters and it matters a lot.
2. Talk about Values – Values like purpose anchor us. Some people value God and so they make God a priority by starting and ending their day with Him. In fact, I can recall being on a group trip during my collegiate years and a young man invested time in the middle of the day to pray. You see when you truly value something or someone it’s not about what’s popular or what everyone else is doing. It is rooted in the foundation of how you see what’s important to your life and connected to your ultimate purpose.
3. Talk about Expectations – While we’d like to say we don’t have high expectations of people, most of us know we can’t. So, tell the truth and shame the devil. Okay! In any relationship you have you will expect certain things. This is a place you need to park in for a while.
Because failed expectations lead to frustration and people feeling deceived and taken advantage of. In some cases, it’s true. I can recall telling men I don’t date smokers and many would lie about their habit. Of course, you know you can’t hide a smoke habit forever. Their answer… Well, I thought after you got to know me, you’d change your mind. Translation they were hoping I’d be so emotionally invested I’d let my feelings over rule my expectations and good sense.
4. Talk about Needs – Now I know you may be thinking your needs are your expectations. But they are not. Your needs are what you need from your spouse to feel loved, valued, and appreciated. Your expectations are your non-negotiables. You don’t compromise your expectations for the sake of a relationship, but if your spouse is able and willing to give you 90% of what you need that may be sufficient. You know you, at least you should if you’re involved with someone else. What do you need to feel like this is the person you want to spend forever with?
5. Talk about Wants – You know what a want is. Yes, you do, it’s something you don’t have to have and though you desire it, you can and would be willing to live without having in your relationship. You see, you may want back-rubs or home-cooked meals every day, but certainly you may decide it’s something you can and could live with if you got them at least three times a week.
6. Talk about Plans – MJB, Mary J Blige said I see the future, okay! What are your plans? Career wise do your plans call for travel? Talk about it because your spouse may not be okay with you being gone weeks at a time. If you fail to talk about your plans as it relates to work this could tear you apart down the road. You won’t be able to predict everything, but if you know that promotion comes with travel or that you want to relocate to another area say so! The same goes for you if you love over-time or feel it necessary to work long irregular hours, whatever plans you have or are interested in as it relates to work, you need to talk about it, especially if you want a stay-at-home spouse. Because your spouse may not agree and two can’t walk together unless they agree.
7. Talk about Kids – Yes, kids can bring love and joy or devastation and hurt, especially when there are assumptions on the subject. You can’t think because a person wants kids that they feel the same about them as you do. They may want one or two or they may want many. They may want to adopt or be a foster parent. They may want to have them right away or wait for a few years. You need to know where they stand and communicate where you stand back.
8. Talk about Discipline – I know you’re probably saying why not put discipline with kids. Well, when you think about discipline your child is not going to always be with you. What are your expectations as it relates to discipline from others? Back in the day, the old folks didn’t mind someone else disciplining their child, nowadays, you might not want to try that. So, if you believe spare the rod spoil the child you may authorize others disciplining your kid(s). If not, you may say time-out only or contact me. Either way, however you choose to discipline your kids you need to be on the same page with your spouse for what’s going to happen in your home and what you allow others to do, whether it be family or administrators at school.
9. Talk about Family – Yes talk about family because how many times have you heard of in-laws over steeping boundaries? And the harsh reality is none were ever set, yet somehow people think everyone sees life, love, and relationships through their lens. They don’t. So, it’s up to you to establish rules and regulations for family involvement and how much or little you expect and are willing to except. Don’t complain about him being a mama’s boy or her being a daddy’s girl when you didn’t have boundaries. At some point you will want input on matters in your relationship, but know where the line is and communicate it well to avoid family drama from destroying or damaging your relationship.
10. Talk about Friendship – Friendship is where your relationship should start. Because when you’re going through tough and trying times it’s easier to do with resiliency if you see that person as your friend. It helps you be willing to confide in each other instead of reaching and seeking for outside voices and input. While friends mean well, some of us know we have real riders and baby can they hold a grudge.
And some of us know our friends don’t mind setting it off, so talk about friendship with each other. It will also give you an idea of what your spouse sees in their friends and you can tell a lot by the people your spouse choosing to surround themselves with. Because friends can elevate you higher as iron sharpens iron, or friends can have you in a lake of fire enticed and enjoying doing all types of wrong. So, pay attention to their friends and understand what it means to be a friend to them.
Now I’m not saying you must have the exact same views on everything. However, after you address each of these issues you should know if this person is the best fit for you to build a life with and that’s exactly what your spouse should be.
~If you were not able to identify the makings of the man you were with and understand his purpose, you should have recognized that you two weren’t ready to become one. ~Coach Sam
~EXALTED ROYALTY~ A C. E. SAM COMPANY