From university campuses to the work place, the unspoken rules of 21st century dating are that sex is expected, commitment and fidelity are optional, and marriage is a dirty word.
Most people will enter a series of intense romantic relationships before marriage becomes a serious possibility, some starting the process of serial dating in their early teens. They will give their heart away several times before finally making it to the altar, where they bring along their complex love history – a history that is supposed to have prepared them for the challenges of married life.
Contrary to popular belief, a person doesn’t need to ‘play the field’ or ‘get relationship experience’ in order to enjoy single life and prepare for a great marriage in their future. In truth, the ‘wisdom’ one acquires from a failed dating relationship often needs to be unlearned – ‘I’ll never be vulnerable like that again’ is not actually wisdom, it’s a defensiveness that unfortunately will hinder rather than help the future marriage relationship.
Too many young men and women get hurt and disillusioned by intense romantic relationships that never had a long-term future in the first place. They enter sexual relationships without knowing whether they really love the other. And when it doesn’t work out, they are left with wounds that make them cynical about love and destructively guarded in their future relationships.
Don’t fall for the serial relationship trap. Date smart; protect your heart from disillusionment and cynicism and don’t get romantically involved if you, or your romantic interest, are not open to marriage. Have lots of friends, go on lots of dates, meet lots of new people, enjoy being single… but wait until marriage is on the 2-3 year horizon before immersing yourself fully into an exclusive romantic relationship.