July 16, 3 Principles of Friendship in Dating Friendship and dating. Sometimes these two things seem contrary to each other. In modern America, people often start going out simply because they find each other physically attractive. And when you add in the powerful romantic feelings that often accompany dating relationships, you can get a recipe for couples whose relationship is made of nothing more substantial than sexual and emotional attraction.
But I would say wisdom reveals that it really is possible to build healthy, uplifting friendships through dating, as long as we pay attention to several important principles. Romantic feelings often run high in the beginning of a relationship. The truth is that romantic feelings are like superglue. But once the lives of two people are united, their feelings tend to naturally calm down somewhat.
Neil Warren describes how the initial feelings of passionate love in a relationship usually grow into companionate love as the relationship matures. Friendship is the foundational relationship that marks this sort of companionate love.
The truth is friendship between you and your spouse is what primarily supports your commitment to be together through the day-to-day. You stick together because you genuinely enjoy each other, support each other in difficulty, and share the deepest parts of yourselves with each other.
This characteristic of friendship is essential in a lifelong relationship. While romantic feelings might be like superglue, friendship is like concrete. It takes longer to fully set, but once it does it can last for years and years. So if we want to enter a healthy, fulfilling marriage one day, it starts with learning to develop friendship in our dating today. I remember when I once took a casual friend on a date. But from what I knew of her she seemed to be a wonderful person, so I asked her out.
We spent several hours together over the course of the date, talking about everything from what we studied, to what we hoped for the future, to current events, to favorite movies.
To this day we remain good friends, and I fully believe that date had a lot to do with it. Dating provides opportunity for building friendship because it provides two people an opportunity to spend time together and get to know each other. Dating is supposed to allow two people to intentionally spend time together so they can discover if the preliminary interest they have in each other has the potential to go deeper.
Sadly, modern dating in America has drifted from this good purpose and become corrupted with people using dating for self-service and emotional and sexual gratification.
If your focus when you go on dates is to get to know the other person, you can build healthy friendship. So we know that dating can allow space for two people to become friends. But what about the reality that people who are dating typically have feelings beyond friendship for each other? We may know that we need to build a friendship with a romantic partner, but what do we do with all the powerful feelings of attraction and romance that can cloud a relationship?
We definitely want to feel passion for someone who might become our spouse. The key is that all the components of a healthy romantic relationship including, friendship and romantic attraction, should grow together at a healthy pace. A romance with no friendship becomes a hollow fling. A friendship without romance becomes…well…a friendship. A romance and a friendship that have grown to maturity together becomes the type of relationship you want to enjoy for a lifetime!
So take care to make sure that healthy friendship is growing in any romantic relationship you pursue. What do you think? What have you experienced when it comes to building friendship through dating?
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