April 5, 2010

Date Me or Marry Me but don't Leave Me! :Communication:

Communication. It is critical to any relationship, period. There isn't a relationship, romantic or otherwise, that exists without communication. Whether it is the bagger at the grocery store or your girlfriend or boyfriend, there is some type of communication involved in both of those relationships.

But is there too much communication for the level of relationship that you are A) striving for? B) ready to sustain?

I think it's safe to say, that in healthy marriages, there is a ton of communication. As a matter of fact, when it comes down to it, married couples probably should have more communication than just about any other relationship that could exist on the planet. Most times, marriages consist of best friends or at least people who want to make a concentrated effort to know that person they are marrying. All that to say, marriages must sustain a high level of communication.

In today's teenage world of hormones, emotions, major life decisions and over-increased pressure to get life "set", romantic relationships take a hugely different weight than they used to in previous generations. The importance of this decision and choice take on a different role and can easily become central to the life of a high schooler (I've even begun seeing this effect in the Middle School world). The relationship can become high involvement, high amounts of time spent together, increased amounts of communication (texting, phone calls and other forms) and higher levels of priority in the life of a student. This can seem ok to most, however, I'm convinced that this looks a whole lot like a marriage and won't pan out the way it "feels" because it isn't what it "feels" like.

Here's where it breaks down. In a marriage relationship, there is a critical piece that enters the picture that makes a marriage a marriage and a dating relationship a dating relationship. Looks like this:

These two rings signifying something that makes the relationship so much more than any dating relationship could ever possibly be. These two rings signify a huge commitment and with it requires much sacrifice, greater connection and devotion to another human being, and a higher amount of formal and informal communication.

So, what does this mean for a high schooler? In my experience, I have witnessed some of the best marriages being based on a higher level of good communication while I have witnessed some of the best dating relationships being based on effective communication. These days, I have seen the norm become just the opposite of that trend.

Do I think that I have the magic recipe to fix all of your relationship troubles? Well, not entirely. But I do know that there are many high schoolers in dating relationships that are communicating a whole lot more than some of the best marriages. And it isn't helping anything in the relationship.

See, there is a pretty critical thing to think about when you are considering a relationship: What level of relationship is healthy for both of us at this point? (Followed by) What level (and type) of communication will we need to keep in order to remain at that type of relationship? And I am confident that these are two questions we have to repeatedly ask ourselves anytime that we are in a relationship.

So, based on the communication in your relationship, do you want to be dating or married? And then, where should you be and what needs to change to make that relationship healthy again?

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