Smart Dating #2: Ask ‘Why’ before you Try


Sexual Compatibility

Since the 1960’s the slogan ‘try before you buy’ became a common excuse for premarital sex. It’s still popular today and has underpinned the rise in cohabitation. We’ve been led to believe that ‘sexual compatibility’ is the most influential factor in a successful marriage. Of course when you think it through, the line of reasoning becomes a little vague … are we talking about anatomical compatibility, favoured positions, or what?

Most married couples will tell you that a successful love-life has little to do with the physical ‘fit’ and everything to do with the character of the person. A self-centred partner is sexually incompatible with everyone on the planet! Despite this, most cohabitating couples genuinely believe that they are being responsible and wise by living together. However, like most popular myths, the truth lies elsewhere.

For Love To Last

The research is clear; cohabitation prior to marriage increases, not reduces, the future risk of divorce. So instead of the ‘try before you buy’ strategy, we suggest that you ‘ask why before you try’. In other words, before you move in together, ask “why this one?”  Evaluate “is this the kind of person with whom I can ‘grow old’?”… “Is this the kind of person I would like to be the mother/father of my children?”…  “Is this the kind of person who will want to be a part of my family?”

He may have a great sense of humour or a heap of money, she may be drop-dead good-looking; but in the rigours of married life, these qualities are not nearly as important as a person’s ability to generously give themselves to the other.

Other-centeredness, patience, honesty, integrity, work ethic, optimism, courage, kindness – these are the character traits that make a person a wonderful marriage partner. These are the qualities that make living with them a joy-filled experience rather than an ordeal. And be assured, sexual compatibility won’t be an issue if you get these fundamentals right!

Discern the Right Path

Francine & Byron Pirola

Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children. Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links. For Media Enquiries Please Contact us here

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