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Dating Well

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If you’ve been following along with Southern Weddings’ Fruitful Summer series, you may have seen Jess and I writing about “dating well.” It’s a topic that has been on our hearts for a long time. All you single and dating readers out there–we see you and we care about you! Whether you’re focusing on building your individual life and passions, dating to see who is right for you, or you’re in a relationship and taking things at your own speed, we want you to feel confident in the place you’re in. When you’re equipped to handle all the relationships (romantic or otherwise) in your life well, the day that you are ready to plan a life with someone, you’ll have a rich and deep well of experiences to draw from.

The first thing we’d like to do in helping y’all date well? Dispel all the myths surrounding dating out there! Whether these myths have actually been spoken to you, or just planted in your mind, we hope you read on and see that they’re not true!

Myth: You have to be perfect and have it all together to date someone.
The truth: Jess: The perfect relationship doesn’t exist, because no one has it all together. Early on in my relationship with Logan, I remember being terrified to take my shoes off. Why? I can’t believe I’m about to say this on the internet, but it’s because I have smelly feet! I felt this need to make sure that Logan thought I was cute, funny, AND smelled good all the time! It’s such a silly example, but it demonstrates the need I felt to have it all together :)

A few years and some smelly feet later, letting go of perfect has freed me up to be fully myself around Logan. I’m still learning, and our relationship doesn’t always bring out the best in me, but that’s something I’m finding myself being grateful for. Logan is able to graciously point out my blind spots and force me to confront them in a healthy way. We make mistakes. We communicate poorly at times. We forget things that are important to the other person. We hurt one another. We also ask for forgiveness. We are able to do all of those things because we are willing to admit that we aren’t perfect.

Myth: Your significant other will complete you.
The truth: Jess: Yes, having someone to share pieces of your life with is wonderful! But hear me loud and clear, I firmly believe that Logan will never complete me. My pastor always says “Unhappy, insecure single people make for unhappy, insecure married people.” His point is simply this: how we feel about ourselves while single translates into how we view ourselves in dating relationships or marriage. A boyfriend won’t have all the answers, and he won’t be able to solve all your problems. He will be a great sounding board for those problems. He should be one of the many things that bring joy to your life, but he shouldn’t be the only thing. It is good for me to pursue my passions and make time for my family and friends–and all of those things will also ultimately make me a better girlfriend.

Myth: You must not believe in marriage if you’re not planning to get married.
The truth: Nicole: No matter where you are in exploring the possibility of marriage, planning your life now and exploring relationships fully invested in the present is important. The last thing we’d want y’all to feel is pressure to walk down the aisle before you know you’re ready and he’s the one. I’ve had many moments where I’ve thought critically about marriage (raise your hands if you have, too–I know I’m not alone!), but it has given me more conviction about my beliefs on marriage and how I want to live my life and relationships well before the big “I do.” That means planning date nights so my boyfriend and I are more connected, trying new hobbies so I’m improving and fulfilling myself as an individual, and being open about my passions and plans.

Myth: You’re only in it to get married.
The truth: Jess: Every relationship is different. We know that, but we’re so quick to forget it, especially when scrolling through our social media feeds! We’ve had friends that knew on their first date that they were going to marry someone, but on the other hand, Logan and I were friends for years before we were ever romantically interested in one another. When we were venturing into dating, I remember a friend asking me whether I thought I would marry him. We had only been on one date! I immediately felt overwhelmed not knowing the answer to that question. But here’s the thing: it takes a lot of time to get to know someone. Dating is an investment. Fight the urge to compare where you are to where your friends are, and enjoy the things you’re learning about one another right now. Relationships aren’t a race, and marriage is not the finish line. The more you embrace the timing that is right for you specifically, the stronger your relationship will be…and the more prepared and equipped you’ll be for marriage someday, should you choose to move forward in that way.

Myth: You can only [travel/set goals together/talk about the future] if you’re engaged or married.
The truth: Nicole: To me, these are the most important things to do before you get engaged or married! Though Taylor and I aren’t planning on tying the knot soon, we talk about our “couple goals” and how we want our future to look a lot. Once we had established that we were in a serious relationship, this was our way of making sure we were on the same page of the same book. We’ve talked about everything from marriage to kids to retirement, and we know that if we do get engaged, we both envision a similar future (lots of puppies and traveling ahead!). Our “couple goals” involve our shared passions, and I love that we’re creating memories together now and becoming closer because of them.

Jess and I are really excited to be back on this column in the near future to talk about dating! In the meantime, feel free to email us at nicole@southernweddings.com and jess@southernweddings.com to say hi! This topic is on our hearts all the time, and we love hearing from friends who are in the same place!

Photos by Graham Terhune

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
9 Comments
  1. avatar India H. reply

    As someone who is a long time reader of the blog but not yet married, this has to be one of my favorite posts! I’m in a season of planning on marriage but not yet engaged, and this really helps debunk some of the myths that I often here and encourages me to stop comparing myself to married or engaged friends! :)

    • avatar Nicole reply

      India!! I’m so glad to hear that, and am excited for you in this season of your life! xo

  2. avatar Blair reply

    Love this! I am dating myself and love southern weddings, but I know it is not the right time for me right. I believe so many people get wrapped up in the “idea” of a wedding and don’t think past the long term commitment.

    • avatar Nicole reply

      I’m right there with you, Blair!! I’ve been caught up in that idea, too, but I think there’s so much to love and have fun with when it comes to dating, and we need to share more about it!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Blair! We are so grateful for your support, and we are thrilled to celebrate you in this season of your life! Sending lots of hugs! xo

  3. avatar Catherine reply

    “Relationships are not a race, and marriage is not the finish line.” Yes, yes, and yes!! Love that!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Catherine! We are so grateful you were encouraged! We’re looking forward to continuing this conversation with you! xo!

    • avatar Jaclyn reply

      This is the best quote. When I got to it I thought the same thing Yes!

  4. avatar Ashley Frederickson reply

    I absolutely love these myths, how true they are that they are just that; myths. I have found my biggest weakness and struggle is comparing my timing and relationships to those of my friends. Some get engaged really quickly and work through the harder things later down the road. I am finding that through my dating right now, we are both learning about the hard and weak points in one another that could potentially hurt our future marriage if we allow it too, but we are choosing to turn to Christ and build a solid foundation upon our redeemer for a stronger marriage when the time is right for us.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Every year, we do our best to fill our annual print edition with advice and tips that will help you not only plan your wedding, but also (more importantly), help you and your fiancé prepare for marriage. We ask every couple we feature how they go about preparing for life after the big day, and were so happy to include many of their answers in V8. Please enjoy their words of wisdom every Sunday here on Southern Weddings!

Cassidy Carson

“In the months before our wedding, we both read through “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller. We had individually read it before our engagement, but reading it again together allowed us to talk through the key points of the Lord’s purpose for marriage and what story we want our marriage to tell.”
Laurie + Brian

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Whether you’re sticking close to home or traveling to the beach (or mountains!) this weekend, we hope you have a chance to gather with friends and family, eat some delicious Southern fixin’s, and snuggle up after dark to watch some fireworks! The Southern Weddings gals are headed out to do all those things and more, but we’re leaving you with our team’s summer picnic inspiration from a few years ago. For all of the details and tips for hosting a summer potluck, be sure to check out the original post!

Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune for these lovely photos!

What are your Fourth of July plans? We’d love to hear!

emily Written with love by Emily
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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