Recently I read an article that challenged my thinking more than anything ever has. The article was written by a woman telling her story of how she purposely never entered into a “committed relationship” with her now husband. She explained how when he asked her to be exclusive and to be his “girlfriend,” she told him no. She stated she did not see the benefit of allowing him to take her off the market while he spends another two to three years deciding if he wants to marry her. So she told him they could continue building their friendship and when he was serious about really taking her off the market (proposal) then she would acquiesce. Until then she explained she would continue to see other people and that he was free to do the same. Nine months later, he proposed.
I’ll be honest, I was completely shook when I read it because I never seen a woman turn down a chance at a relationship when she ultimately wanted to get married. It seems every woman wants to be in a committed relationship, right? What this article showed me is that maybe people, particularly women, are focused on the wrong thing. Instead of focusing on getting in a relationship, maybe they should challenge the other person including themselves to step up to get what they really want which is marriage.
Now I am fully aware this is not some formula on how to get a husband. I understand what she did may not work for everyone. If you decide to do so, do so at your own discretion. What this article did for me though was give confirmation on why some women remain eternal girlfriends and never the wife. Yes, I know some people don’t want to get married. Obviously, this article is not for those people. This is for the people who want marriage but sometimes get caught up in what happens before getting there.
I say often that dating and being “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are relatively new terms. I describe them as things we created to allow us to stall before marriage. Don’t get me wrong, when that time is used properly it is quite beneficial. The truth is most people use this time to make themselves feel secure that the person they are with are not being with anyone else. Although we all know this rarely is the case as we have seen numerous people upset to find their mate entertaining someone else.
Just humor me for a second. What if people when they meet, decided to get to know each other. As they get to know each other, they also build a solid friendship. As they build friendship they realize they may really see a future with each other. They communicate their desires for the future and potentially how that person may fit into their future. They have fun and enjoy each other’s company. They finally decide they no longer want someone else to have a chance with this person. Now they prepare to spend the rest of their life with that person because they know they do not want anyone else. They then both decide to do that together and proceed into engagement. Sounds simple, right? The catch is, they didn’t confine themselves to each other until they were both ready to take the step into marriage.
I know for some people is sounds farfetched or just plain stupid. “Why would I not want to commit to someone I really care about?” “How can you be a good spouse if you were never in a relationship?” If that is the case, why are so many people getting stuck in relationships that never move on to more? Yes commitment is important, but is it getting you what you really want. “People should date with a purpose.” Well it doesn’t get much more purposeful than not entering into a relationship because you want more than a false sense of commitment.
Basically, what I am saying is, sometimes people, particularly women, are so focused on being girlfriends, that they limit themselves to only being that, a girlfriend. This is fine if this is all you want in life. It becomes an issue though when that is as far as you go because that’s where you put all your energy. How many people do you know who have been in numerous “long term relationships?” We think it means they are good at commitment. Maybe it just means they don’t know how to go for what they really want. That’s all I’m trying to encourage people to do. Go for what you really want.
If you were interviewing for a managerial position at a company, would you accept an offer for an entry level position knowing you are highly qualified for the role you want? Yes, I’m aware that some companies require you to move your way up and some people are willing to put in the work to do so. This works out for some people and not for others. Some people are so desperate to be hired by somebody that they offer themselves up for an entry-level position just to get in the company. They hope to prove they have what it takes to get the position they really want. So they slave themselves, putting in managerial work at the entry level position. Unfortunately, so many people never move up in the company. Many end up fired, with nothing to show for the time and effort spent. What if at the time of the interview you made it clear that you were only going to accept an offer for the position you want. Letting them know when they are ready to make an offer, you’ll be willing to accept. Until then, you’ll be considering other offers.
Think about it, how much more motivated would someone feel to get their stuff together if they knew at any given time someone else could come in and snatch you up. Some people won’t care while others may pretend they don’t. You are focused on the one who does. The one who will do what they have to do because they know what they want.
Let me be clear, I am not saying people should never get into an exclusive romantic relationship ever again. What I am saying is, if that is something you feel brings you comfort, just be careful to not get too comfortable while there, especially if you know you want more. This is simply another perspective. It takes a special kind of person to hold this type of philosophy, but I’m sure for them it works. I just simply want to challenge your thinking, open your mind but most of all get you what you want and desire.
3 thoughts on “Is a Committed Relationship Before Marriage Necessary?”
Very interesting post Tish. I take issue with the woman who wrote the article you’re referencing. My question is, is the woman looking for love or just wanting to say she’s married? She bullied the guy into proposing to her. Another question, if she can’t be in an exclusive relationship for a year, why should the guy think she’ll commit for 10+ years? If her ultimate goal is marriage, she should work towards that, not force the issue. A marriage without love is pointless and that’s what that relationship looks like to me. She said it herself when she said lets continue to work on our friendship. Me personally I look at romantic relationships as a preview of marriage, for both people involved. She basically said I’m going to marry the first guy who proposes, as evident when she said she’ll see other people. I’m pretty sure she told the other guys the same thing. Everything the woman said makes me question her integrity and whether she really loves her husband. Look for love because love eventually leads to marriage.
I respect your perspective. Here’s my question, who says you have to exclusively date to have a healthy marriage? I know a couple who was not exclusive when they decided to get married. They decided they wanted to marry each other so they cut everyone else off and tied the night. They’ve been married almost five years now and still going strong. Historically dating only lasted a few short weeks to a month before getting married and people stayed married for 50 years plus. Have we conditioned ourselves to believe you have to have this extensive dating relationship with someone in order to have a successful marriage? Who can question this woman’s love for her husband? The article stated she was only talking to one other guy. And yes he was aware as well. She didn’t bully her husband as he could have easily walked away and moved on. They had only known each other for two months when he asked to be exclusive. He could have told her no. Would we be saying the same thing if this were a man? Because truth be told a lot of men do exactly what she did until they are ready to settle down and a lot of women sit around waiting for them to do so. But again I appreciate you reading the article and offering some good feedback.
You’re right in a lot of men do this as well, but it’s mainly for sex not marriage. I shouldn’t question if she loves her husband, I just think it’s suspect to say you love someone while seeing someone else. Historically it was more cultural, people would look down on you if you were not married. So it was almost as if people were forced to be married. My question is does a ring validate love? If so, why? I believe people can perfectly be in love without buying an expensive ring. As we’ve seen, married people have affairs. Would you rather have marriage or love?