We all know the saying “Love is blind…”, and we’ve all probably even used it in a half-joking way at some point with our friends or siblings. But we’re here to make sure that YOUR love isn’t blind, because let’s face it–getting married blind is about the worst idea we’ve ever heard.
Dr. John Van Epp, author of the relationship education course, “How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk/Jerkette,” suggests 5 relationship areas to make sure are squared away before committing to a life with someone. For this to work, they have to go in this order, meaning your most in depth area should be knowledge, and your least in depth area should be touch…
1. Knowledge: What do you know about the person you’re dating? The key to this area is TIME. It’s hard to know someone without having spent a good amount of time with them. Dr. Van Epp suggests dating a minimum of 2 years before marriage because you need that much time to do things together and be in a variety of situations to really see who the other person is. Too often, we’re still finding out surprising personality traits of our partners when we’re already married! Remember, it’s easy for someone to put on a show for a short amount of time, but their true character will show through with time.
2. Trust: Once you know your partner, or as you’re getting to know them, can you trust them? How do you feel about how they act when you’re not around? Are you worried about their honesty with you and others? Or are you certain that they will be true to you no matter what the circumstance. Needless to say, if you can’t trust them, you probably don’t want to be getting too serious with them…
3. Reliance: If you feel like you can trust them, can you depend on them to meet your needs? Be honest with yourself about this one, because we have a lot of needs, and life isn’t easy. Without a partner you can rely on, marriage can be an added stressor rather than the support it should be.
4. Commitment: This one comes with time as well, but it’s also the product of discussions and decisions you make as a couple. Are you ready to take the next step and make this permanent? If so, you can feel more secure and safe with your partner knowing they are never going to leave you and will be by your side through thick and thin in the years to come.
5. Touch: Once the commitment is there, your physical involvement will probably match it. As with all the areas, the more physically involved you become, the closer you will feel as a couple. Dr. Van Epp recommends waiting for sex until after marriage because sex can cause infatuation which can blur the lines between really knowing and loving someone and just being incredibly attracted to them. Unfortunately, too many marriages are based on the fleeting highs of sex and fall apart when the novelty wears off.
The 5 areas of a relationship are supposed to stay pretty level with one another. There shouldn’t ever be one area that’s higher than the level before it because when you have imbalance, love starts to become blind. For example, some people trust far too quickly, so they end up having a really high level of trust in someone they hardly know. This will obviously cause problems if they refuse to see red flags because they are so committed to trusting their partner. Similarly, if a relationship is high in touch, but low in reliability, there’s a good chance that the couple will initially be very satisfied physically and because of this, they’ll ignore problems with trust and reliance that will end up being bigger issues in the long run.
To learn more about Dr. Van Epp’s equation for successful marriages, head on over to his website at www.lovethinks.com.