My husband D.J. and I met one fall night during our junior year of high school. I wouldn’t exactly say it was love at first sight, but it was definitely a love that developed over time. One of my favorite things about our relationship is that it took about a year and a half for it to go from friendship to a dating relationship. It’s a good thing too because, little did we know, we would date for the next four years before getting married—yes, four!
We learned a few things along the way and, after a year and a half of marriage, we are still learning. God has grown us in so many ways on our journey of love, and He has taught us many things about our relationship during our transition from long-term dating to marriage.
Set and know your boundaries.
We found our boundaries to be translated so differently in our dating relationship than in our marriage. Throughout our years of dating, our boundaries were mostly physical.
After a couple of years of dating, D.J. and I knew we wanted to marry each other, but we also knew that it would be a while before that happened. So, in order to stay pure for our future marriage, we set and communicated those physical boundaries. Now that we are married, obviously those physical boundaries are no longer needed.
Our boundaries have since evolved into allowing each other some space every so often. This mostly stems from the fact that my husband is a salesman in an emotionally exhausting career and from the fact that I am an introvert who needs to be alone to recharge.
We have found that by setting this boundary, which is time aside, we are more emotionally and physically available to each other. Knowing and establishing each other’s boundaries early on in both dating and marriage has helped our relationship.
How you communicate while dating translates to how you communicate in marriage.
Communication is key in any relationship but especially in marriage. One thing I realized in dating long-term before getting married is that mine and D.J.’s communication carried over.
In the early dating stages, I did NOT like to communicate my feelings to D.J. when I was upset. In turn, he could not fix what was wrong which ended up frustrating him immensely. It took a lot of him working with me to show me how to communicate in a healthy relationship.
Because in dating we learned how to communicate with each other well, we have been able to still communicate well in marriage—which saves us both some heartache.
Likewise, if great communication is carried over, so is a lack of communication. I’m grateful that we began that good habit early in our dating relationship.
Your relationship with the in-laws begins before marriage.
God’s desire for mankind is to have relationship with one another. One very important relationship is between you and your spouse’s family.
I met D.J.’s parents early on in our relationship, and we connected pretty quickly. Because the point of dating is to get married, I always went by my dad’s advice: “Date carefully because your family will be his and his family will be ours.” I have found this to be 100 percent true.
For this reason, D.J. and I found it important to form true relationships with each other’s parents early on. This made a world of difference when we got engaged and then married—we didn’t have to suddenly merge a family of strangers. This good relationship with our in-laws laid a great foundation for our newly begun family.
Even though we didn’t realize it at first, many aspects of our dating relationship carried over into our marriage—maybe especially since we dated for a long time! We’re thankful that we laid a good foundation for our marriage while we were still dating. Not only did it make the transition from dating to marriage easier, but it no doubt saved us some heartache.