Get The Ring: How to Find & Keep the Right One for Life.
Lawrence Kelemen - Part 12
becomes tremendously committed to him. And for that reason, it is especially dangerous for women to become sexually involved.
Now I'll go a step further, and I recognize that what I'm going to say sounds far out. But I first heard it from these Orthodox Jews and looking now across the scene at the college campuses, more and more I'm appreciating their approach. These Orthodox Jews, they believe that until marriage the couple shouldn't even touch each other.
I was just reading in a very popular high school health book that holding hands is a normative aspect of dating. Well, it might be normative, but it's playing with fire. And therefore, I would recommend that during the dating process the couple not engage in any physical contact whatsoever. Why? Because unless there's something wrong with you, holding hands is going to lead to something else, which might also lead to something else. And somewhere down the line people are going to lose objectivity. Therefore, until there's absolute and full commitment from both people, and let's not fool ourselves, full commitment means getting married. Yes. A proposal is not full commitment. There are men today who propose and stay engaged for ten years, and then dump the lady. So we would be very foolish today to think that a proposal means anything other than that there's hope on the horizon. But not in terms of commitment. And I recommend to all of my students that until the couple is married they completely abstain from physical contact.
Now that's a very, very difficult thing to do, especially if you're going to date for an extended period of time. I mean, let's be realistic. Nonetheless, the costs are so great to the parties involved that I recommend that we muster all the strength we've got and follow this path, and it will relieve a lot of the pain that I counsel people with today.
There is an objection that 'I won't know if I'm physically, sexually compatible with the person unless we actually practice and try things out and see if we are physically, sexually compatible'. The reality is that when two people are completely compatible, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, they love being with each other. So that is the platform on which a healthy, enjoyable physical relationship is built. And ultimately, that is the determinant of how good the physical relationship is, not the size of his muscles or the nature of her technique. One very healthy couple who I once counseled made the comment to me that often they feel the skin gets in the way. So that is a really good sexual relationship, and that's only built on this total emotional commitment. So those people who feel they have to try each other out physically in order to know if it's going to work, they're naive. They don't really understand what makes good sex. They don't understand that the key component is an emotional component, and that requires, from the beginning of the relationship, cultivating deep respect for each other.
That is definitely a different way of looking at the subject than most of us are used to. But I have to admit that it makes a lot of sense. Any other general dating hints you can offer?
Avoiding PitfallsIn dating there are pitfalls. There are things to avoid. You have to be very, very careful. We mentioned before not to feel pressured to continue to date somebody because a friend or a relative thinks you should. By the same token it's important not to break off dating with somebody because a friend or relative thinks you should. If this friend or relative cares about us deeply and they articulate an objection, take the objection seriously. File it, think about it, analyze. But ultimately it has to be you who decides if you want to marry this person or not.
Another dating pitfall is, as we mentioned before, dating for too short a period of time. And now I'll raise the flip side, people who date for too long. Unfortunately this is all too common. I saw a tremendous amount of this in my last tour to the United States, especially on the East Coast, especially in New York City, where people would date for two years, three years, four years, and the most valuable, most precious years of their lives are ticking past and they're missing out on being married. And then after two, three or four years, the stress of not being married tears the relationship apart. They break up. Then they have to wait for another to come along and then they date for another three or four years, at which point the stress of not being married tears the relationship apart again. So you shouldn't date for too short a time, but you can't date for too long either because that will destroy the relationship.
But how do you know that the time is right? Sometimes one of both partners has to finish school or get a job. You can't always just jump into marriage the minute you decide you've found Mr. Right. What do you say?
Let's say you find a person and they meet all the criteria, you date them. The two of you, in a mature fashion, determine that you do want to be married and live together. A key dating pitfall is to think that you cannot get married until you have established a career or some sort of financial independence. Now this is just foolish from so many angles. First, it is not cheaper to rent two apartments and live separately. And, if you get married, you get a tax deduction. So from a financial perspective, it makes no sense to wait.
Beyond that, and this is much more serious, the reason often today that… and I will say, especially women… do not like to get married until they have
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