Category: Dating

The ‘In Love’ Euphoria

Falling in love is a euphoric experience. We become emotionally obsessed with each other. We wake up thinking about them. All day long they are on our minds. The person who is in love has the illusion that his beloved is perfect. Her mother can see his flaws, but she can’t. His friends will say, “Have you considered…?” But he hasn’t and he won’t because he is in love. What no one has told us is that this euphoric experience is temporary. We have been led to believe that if we are really ‘in love’ it will last forever. The fact is, it will last for about 2 years. Then you will realize that what your mother said was true. What your friends tried to tell you was real. Why can’t we listen before we leap? Family and friends are God’s gift. Accept the gift.

Q&A: When to Talk About Marrying

Q: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over a year. When is it appropriate to bring up marriage?

Gary: Anytime now. If you’ve been dating for a year and you think there is potential for you two to be spouses, there is nothing wrong with bringing up marriage. Most people who date do so with the thought, “Maybe this is the person I should marry.” Certainly you wouldn’t be dating for a year if you didn’t have any interest in marriage. When you do bring it up, you may find anything from a very positive response to a very negative response. If it’s super negative, it probably means you should consider letting this relationship go. If after a year he has no inclination to marry you, he probably never will.

Q&A: Matching Love Languages

Q: Wouldn’t it be easier and more satisfying for couples if their love languages matched?

Dr. Gary Chapman: I think the short answer is yes. If you both have the same love language it may be easier. Typically, what I have found with couples who have the same primary love language is that each individual has preferred ways of expressing or receiving that love language. For example, one may like words of praise and the other may like words of encouragement. Those are somewhat different. So yes, it may be easier if this is the case, but this is not a criteria for whom you should pursue. People with differing primary love languages can form wonderful marriages.

Q&A: Love Languages and Dating

Q: While dating how much time should be taken to help teach my love language to my boyfriend?

Dr. Gary Chapman: In the dating context you’re trying to get to know each other, which involves talking about your histories, your future. It also involves learning some skills that will help you if you decide to get married and one of those skills involves the concept of love languages. I would suggest the two of you read the book, maybe the singles’ edition, take the quiz, and discuss it with each other; find out how to clearly speak each other’s love language. If you get this down while dating and later decide to get married, it’s going to be a great step forward for your marriage because you already know what makes each other happy. So yes, I would suggest discussing the love languages freely while dating.

Q&A: Past Girlfriends

Q: Is it still ok to maintain contact with past girlfriends now that I’m married?

Dr. Gary Chapman: The short answer is no. The long answer is maybe. It depends on the nature of those relationships. Sometimes someone you’ve dated in the past may be a co-worker or go to your church, making interaction with them unavoidable. However, I don’t think you should be spending individual time with that person: not even coffee, lunch, or extended conversations. Many people have been pulled from their marriage back into past relationships by doing such things. I think it should be minimum contact at most, and that only if it’s necessary.

Q&A: Trusting Men

Q: My girlfriend has a very hard time trusting men. How can I help her to know she can trust me?

Gary Chapman: You cannot convince her to trust you, but you can be trustworthy. If she can tell you how people have failed her in the past and brought her to a place of distrust, you can focus on those areas in particular. You can say things like, “My cell phone is always open to you. My emails are also open if you’d like to check my computer. If you would like to call and check to see if I was where I said I was that is fine.” As she sees that you are trustworthy, she will come to trust you.

Q&A: Significant Age Differences in Relationships

Q: My boyfriend is significantly older than I am. Will this create problems for us if we get married?

Gary Chapman: That depends on how old you are. If you’re 16 and he’s 26, that has the potential to be a major problem because you’re in two different worlds. However, if you’re 36 and he’s 46 there is not as much potential for a problem related to your age because you’re both in a similar stage of life. It’s not necessarily about age in general, but rather young age, middle age, or older age. At 16, you’ve got a lot of developing to do–high school, college perhaps, the ability to legally work–you’re in a different world. This is not the same for someone who is 26 or 46. Find someone in a similar stage of life.

Q&A: Winning a Person Back into a Relationship

Q: How can I win back my girlfriend after a short break?

Gary Chapman: We seldom fall out of love on the same day, and consequently the one who falls out of love often breaks the relationship. The other person is deeply hurt because you are bonded to that person with an emotional warmth and excitement. “Win” is a good word because it does mean you can make efforts, you can try to influence them. Ultimately, however, you cannot make them come back. You have to be open to the possibility that they’re not going to return to the relationship and that it’s not the end of world. God knows what’s going on, God has a plan for your life. Whether they come back or not, he will guide you in the future to accomplish his purposes for your life. After all, that is the most important thing.

Q&A: When the ‘In Love’ Tingles Go Away

Q: I’ve been dating for two and a half years and no longer feel the tingles of being ‘in love’, though I am committed. Is this normal?

Gary Chapman: We have discovered that the average life span of the ‘in love’ euphoria is two years, so if you’ve been dating for two and half years it’s not abnormal that you have come down off that high. The important thing is that you learn to speak each other’s love language so that you keep emotional warmth in the marriage. If you had not come down off the high while you were still dating, you would come down off the high after you get married; everyone does. So really you have an asset here. You have a chance to learn how to love each other, keep emotional warmth in the marriage, and process life in a rational way, seeking God’s guidance. I think you’re at a good place in your relationship.

Q&A: Living Together Before Marriage

Q: Is living together before marriage a good idea?

Gary Chapman: It sounds like it, doesn’t it? That’s what many young people think. That’s also what many older people think. The reality is research indicates it’s not true. I think the reason is that you cannot simulate marriage. We think we’ll give it a trial run, but you can’t try marriage. Marriage has to do with commitment, and when you’re living together without commitment you both know that any day of any week, one of you could walk away. So even though it seems like it would be a good idea, all research and certainly scripture indicate that it’s not a good idea. So I would challenge you to seek to live a life of purity before you come to marriage. I believe that God’s way is still the best way.

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