5 Tips For Dating A Little Happier by Kayte
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Kayte! She’s an indie singer/songwriter who loves burritos, talking to strangers and not knowing what day of the week it is. She lives in New York City and writes about life as a feisty, Christian 20-something at longcitywalksblog.com. You can check out her music at kaytegracemusic.com and follow her on Twitter at @kayte_grace. – Lauren
I’ve had many a girltalk about the twinkly, colorful fun-ness of dating … and probably almost as many about the surprising insecurities that surface in the push and pull balancing act of falling in love with someone. Wanting the feelings to be equally strong. Wondering how what they’re learning about you is being received. Your dreams, your family, your past. Things like that.
I’ve thought about the times I’ve felt most confident – most sure footed – while in a relationship and this is what I’ve realized. I hope these thoughts are helpful, and as always, leave your thoughts as comments. Let’s talk about it!
1. Keep your outside-of-the-relationship passions burning hot.
It is so easy to become consumed in your beautiful relationship, and if you’re not careful, you can each begin to neglect the outside-of-the-relationship pursuits that attracted you to each other to begin with. Remember how in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, when Andie was reeling the guy in, she kept a healthy level of focus on her successful career and wore slick little, business casual numbers to after work dinner dates? And then how, once she had him, she all of a sudden insisted on wearing matching Burberry outfits, lost her edge, and started using their baby pictures to synthesize what their future children would look like…and then scrapbooking the pictures?
Yeah. It’s funny, I’m just now noticing that in Proverbs 31, more than half of what’s celebrated about this uber-woman is her outside-of-the-relationship “hobbies,” which include, among other things: dealing raw wool and linen, buying real estate, running a farm, caring for the poor and designing her family’s clothes. These outside-of-the-relationship passions and enterprises are listed right along with feeding her children and edifying her man in her list of “noble,” priceless qualities. Crazy huh? So stay passionate. About everything. Keep learning. Keep growing.
2. Choose discernment over neurotic over-analysis.
So you’re wondering what he meant when he said, “Yeah, you look great!” If you’re still trying to figure it out four hours after the initial comment, it may be time to ask your brother, instead of 6 different girlfriends, what he really meant. And your brother will look at you and shake his head and wonder why you’re even asking. There’s nothing to decode. He just meant that you look great!
We’re programmed by women’s magazines that write articles like, “What Your Man Really Means When He Says” that some women forget how to let something mean what it means. If something strikes you as a comment you’ll be mulling over for days, you can just ask, right there in that moment, “What do you mean, [insert pet name]“ and voila! Instant clarity. Feels a lot freer than being locked in the closet of your mind, wrestling with the same sentence for hours, right!? Right.
3. Know your love language & communicate it.
Unmet, unarticulated expectations may be the greatest enemy of relationships. It can leave you feeling unsure of someone’s heart towards you if the way that they’re loving you doesn’t actually feel like love to you. I joke that I have the same love languages as puppies: quality time and physical touch. I’d choose a full day of city adventures over a piece of jewelry any day. But everyone’s different. Learn what feels like love to your person, and then get good at it. And don’t forget to share yours with them. It may feel silly now, but I guarantee you, it’s so, so worth it.
4. Give of yourself in proportion to articulated commitment.
Sounds romantic, right? Ha! But seriously, giving more of yourself (emotionally, physically, or even just in the amount of time you spend on him) than what matches the level of your commitment can just make you feel entitled to your guy’s declared love and commitment, rather than allowing the guy feel compelled or excited to commit any more of himself to you. Free yourself from those suffocating expectations and from that icky entitlement or desperate hope that causes discontent! Freedom feels good :)
5. Lose yourself in worship on a regular basis.
I’m very much a feelings person – I even wrote an article here on GWP about it. And for me, if my feelings towards a guy are way more powerful and compelling than the feelings I have towards God*, I can subconsciously begin to place more mental and emotional energy into my relationship with the boy. It’s important to be reminded that passion isn’t just for earthly romance, and that euphoric feeling of love-gone-right is most strongly felt when I run to my Savior. It somehow liberates your relationship from some of the pressure of being your only source of rich love, when you have something infinitely richer with God.
*Don’t worry TOO much about feeling consumed by a new love in your life. We’re created that way, and for a variety of healthy reasons. That crazy attraction and passion for someone indicates that you’re a healthy person, not that you’re sinful or that the relationship is inherently bad. If you start feeling bad for thinking or spending too much time with your boyfriend, don’t let guilt pummel you into the ground. Simply create some space for yourself and use it writing and praying about how you feel. The key to health is balance, not panicking from fear-based or guilt-based rules. Just a little reminder from Lauren.
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