“Hi, may I take your order please?”
“Yes, I would like the perfect man and I’d like it now, please.”
“Will that complete your order?”
In a world where instant gratification has become a social norm, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear this thought process has trickled down into the most sacred area of life – relationships! The online dating world has existed for over a decade, and the apps are constantly evolving as technology improves. With so many people spending tremendous amounts of time on their phones, a future relationship is at the tip of their fingers. Drive-thru dating has become a social norm and widely accepted over time- but is it the best way to reach a goal of love and companionship?
Unfortunately, no algorithm can be written in substitution for the connections obtained through social exploration of a potential partner. Swiping left or right is not a guarantee to finding Mr. /Mrs. Right. Rather, courtship is at the core of building an intimate relationship and it needs a revival! Courtship is how people determine if they can be vulnerable to someone else. Timidly approaching someone for the first time with butterflies in your stomach is a part of the process of dating. Courtship builds vision; it is intentional, and purposeful. Let’s review the top five evolved courtship rules to improve those future relationship!
Put the phone down and get outside. According to research by Andrews, Ellis, Shaw, & Piwek (2015), on average, we spend about 5 hours on our phones a day. Imagine all the personal interactions you miss when you are looking down instead of forward? You may have just passed Mrs. Right, but you will never know. If you are looking for love, you need to stop looking in all the wrong places…put-the-phone-down. Get outside to the park, library, pub, local events, catch up with friends (who may have a single friend for you!) and create the opportunity for someone to enter your world.
Take the time to break the ice and woo your partner. Dating is the time to demonstrate the simple acts of kindness in order to show interest like holding the door, pushing in the person’s chair once they have been seated, or offering the other to go first. Further, a good laugh always breaks the ice. You may be nervous but that is part of the process of getting to know someone. Embrace your feelings and allow yourself to test the waters of the date by sharing a joke. When you take the time to perform random acts of kindness while dating, you are showing you care. When you slowly expose you inner-most self, you begin to determine whether the person is a good fit. Start with superficial conversation and work your way to the more important points as you get to know each other.
Give gifts, not texts with emoji’s. In previous times one would bring their date a gift. This might include flowers, candy, or even jewelry. Unfortunately, in today’s world, a simple text with an emoji of flowers is sufficient. Contrary to popular belief this is not actual courting. When you show up to the date with a gift, it shows the other person that you care and even have been listening to them. For example, perhaps at your previous date John mentioned he loved chocolate covered almonds. John comes to pick you up for your next date and you hand him a small container of his favorite chocolate covered almonds. How sweet! And thoughtful!
Set boundaries and make it official. In the past when you began dating, communicating boundaries was an important part of the process. Be sure to set the boundaries on communication, sex, and exclusivity. Do not assume that sex is a given on the first date. Many people still believe in “getting to know” someone before pursing an intimate act. A date is not a precursor to sex and you should not feel guilty or disappointed if it does not occur. Ask permission to call or take the person out on another date. Yes, this may seem old fashioned but asking is polite and it is a sign of respect. Finally, if several dates have occurred, ask to go steady! The “what are we?” conversation is an important step and takes you from dating to a more intimate and committed relationship. It is important to ask, rather than assume the terms of a relationship.
Effort and initiative are a must. Courting requires initiative and effort by both parties. A relationship consists of two people, and equal investment is key for success. This combined effort is a great way to exercise the support and work that long lasting relationships need to thrive. Thirty year marriages sustain because of effort. The constant give and take is what makes them work. If you can do this during courting, you know you have a life partner.
Courting is not easy, but neither are relationships. Unfortunately, trying to place the square peg (relationships) in a round hole (convenience) doesn’t work. We can’t seek fast food relationships and expect them to end up healthy and life lasting. You must take the time to cultivate a relationship with energy, compassion, love, and intimacy….which takes years. The best relationships are slow roasted, improving over time.