Most of us say that we want a relationship, but before getting into one have you ever first sat down and really thought about why you want to be in a relationship? That’s what I did, at the ripe old age of 14. I sat down and really thought about it. Did I want to be in a relationship because I didn’t want to be alone, or did I want a relationship because I wanted to grow and love someone who I would love to love for a long time?
When I was young I started “dating” but it was that puppy love thing where it was all about who kissed who and who was carrying whose books, or who’s the cool guy that all the girls are crushing on. So after lots of that kind of dating I quickly realized that I wanted more than that in the long run. Why waste my time on guys I knew didn’t hold the same values I did or even want anything like I did? Even at that age, I knew I wanted to have a family and a home, not some guy who I just ended up with because everyone thought we were cute together. I didn’t want to just date for fun–I wanted to date someone who I could grow with. I wanted to date someone who also was looking for lifelong love and a home and a family.
So I started by finding a friend who wanted the same things I did. I figured that friendship was a good place to start, because then if we did start dating we’d always have that foundation of friendship to build on.
The complicated thing was that at the time he was dating my best friend. From the time we all spent together I noticed that we wanted a lot of the same things and that Lance was not the kind of guy who was looking for a superficial, short-term relationship. After my friend and Lance broke up, I talked to my friend about how I felt. After a long funny conversation with Lance, I asked him out. At first he declined, but a few days later he changed his mind and asked me if I would be his girlfriend. I said yes and here we are twelve years later: married for seven years with our fourth child about to arrive. Yes, we are still growing together and what we want changes, but our main goal stayed the same: we wanted to have a loving home to grow our family.
Dating with a purpose, even at a young age, helped us to know that our relationship was strong and could last, because it was based on friendship and on shared values and life priorities. The funny thing is that beyond our desire to grow in love together and raise a family, we don’t have much in common—we have different personalities and different interests, but we stand behind one another in our passions and hobbies, and that is a good quality to have. In some ways we are polar opposites, but we work well together, because our main goal is the same. We have learned to shape our individual goals around our shared goals.
Looking back, I’m happy that I made the decision as young as I did to date with a purpose. Because who knows, if I hadn’t I could have missed my chance to have the amazing family and awesome husband I have today.
To date someone only because you’re alone could have you end up where you don’t want to be, or at least not where you expected to be. For example you could have been with someone and just because you didn’t want to be alone ended up having a child together, and if that’s not what the other wanted he could leave and then you would be in a new life path instead of your original goal. So if you know what you want even as young as 14 and you make your boundaries and goals and know what you want out of a relationship, then set them and try your best to follow them, and before making a huge decision make sure it’s what the other wants as well. That kind of dating with a purpose can help you to find the real love that you are looking for.