Why Frienship First?
Once you have discovered an individual who is basically compatible and healthy or on their way to being healthy as well as mutually interested, I've found that the best approach is to build a great friendship with the intention of seeing where the friendship dating journey takes you in a year or so generally speaking. It's easy for people to be on their best behavior in the initial dating process and not knowing personal habits is a larger risk to take in terms of the longevity of the relationship. I've known many people over the years who rushed into a relationship without knowing the partner well enough which ended in a rocky marriage at best.
The Basic Process
The Basic Process that I've discovered in my long term friendships with women have followed a clear pattern. The first step is connection, then conflict which opens the door to courage or cowardice, then chemistry, and finally ending in commitment to a decided course of action.
- Connecting starts when two individuals find common interests and going from there. More important than common interests are common values and experiences that relate to those common interest. Some individuals you meet may never get past this stage if they haven't discovered their personal passions and purpose. Other people may need to personally grow in various areas like communicating, learning to open up to safe friends, etc. Keep in mind in his stage it's important to experience each other in many situations and environments that are uncontrolled in order to see all sides of each other.
- Conflict is next. When really getting to know someone, conflict doesn't need to be a surprise. We are all different individuals and conflict is a clear sign that you are really getting to know the person. What matters in the end is how we handle conflict.
- Courage or cowardice is the next stage. This is the stage where you really get to know a person's true values based on their responses and not just what they tell you. Will you both discover the courage within yourself to face conflict and find the wisdom to overcome it? Courage and wisdom opens the door to the next stage.
- The next stage is chemistry. Just as in science, the combination of two elements makes something else, so the chemistry between two people becomes evident after time. Maybe you will end up being casual friends, close friends, or maybe you discovered your spouse.
- The final stage is commitment. By commitment I'm referring to a intentional course of action both take. Some people may part company, others may stay casual friends, others closer friends, and some end in marriage.
Bringing It All Together
Bringing it all together, a sure way to find out if someone is a suitable marriage partner is for you is to build a good long term friendship. The basic stages of a great long term friendship like this is connection, conflict, courage, and chemistry.
Your Turn Now
So have you discovered someone you might be interested in as a marriage partner? What stage are you in now and are you smoothly tansitioning to the next stage? If not, how come? How can you help move this dating friendship journey forward on your end?