We as people no longer know the difference between being in a relationship and being married. Why? Because we stopped waiting to do the things that were meant for marriage and we do them in our relationships instead. There isn’t any pressure to get married because sometimes the only change is a last name. Marriage is supposed to change your life not how your relationship is perceived. Ex: “I’m not going to keep doing this if we are not married” as opposed to “When we get married.”

The lines of relationship and marriage have become so close that they are often blurred. Women nor men know the real differences between the two anymore. Men are cloaking short-term intentions with long-term techniques and women are taking advantage of being courted with no intention of staying. Intentional assumptions have planned relationships before the first date has even occurred and forced compatibility has become the norm. People are “falling in love” without knowing the person they claim to feel so much affection for. So, in wake of romantic and relational realities, I pose this question: How many divorces have you had?

Psychological and emotional marriage occurs when you are mentally connected with someone you are dating or in a relationship with and operating in the mindset of being their husband or wife. The vicious cycle of needing to belong to someone in a more permanent fashion begins again. You find yourself planning your forever based on marriage potential and not based on what’s in front of you. Sometimes the initial warning signs are blatantly present but you ignore them hoping that things can and will change. And you tell yourself that life won’t be the same if you don’t have that person occupying your space of void.

The demise of your relationship prompts a series of analyzing thoughts that overtake your emotions, leaving you wondering what you did wrong, what you could have done to make them stay, and if you are truly worthy of someone loving you the way you love them. You focus your emotions and attention on the flaws of your life rather than thinking on what you have the ability to improve.

When it comes to romantic relationships, the vetting process begins with you. You have to be ready and willing to learn and enjoy yourself before you add someone else in the picture. Psyching yourself out to believe that you must play marriage in order to get married is not healthy.

Having sex then breaking up means you have shared yourself with yet another person. Your body count has gone up and another sexual soul tie has been created. The honeymoon will be a formality because you two have already had many honeymoons as you passed the days away locked up in your unmarried love-nests. And of course, you both wanted to wait to have sex but fear kept you feeling as if you needed to check out the full package before you agreed to keep it. There you are comparing your new love to your old and wondering how to move on but hold on at the same time. The truth is that you should be willing to learn your new partner when you get married and be open to new experiences. Teaching your lover how to show love to you physically shows a deeper level of intimacy.

Some would agree that getting married costs less than getting divorced. A lack of teamwork after a split brings more chaos, especially when a child is involved. The child’s living situation gets stretched and they have to almost choose a side. The child has to be the “middle man” bridging the gap of the father and mother falling out of each other’s lives for good. Just think, the child witnesses it all and probably feels the strongest about the situation, yet they have no say so. They just have to go where the wind (or the Judge) blows.

Divorces occur when two people live together, have sex, have children, share bills, then, for whatever reason, they breakup. Assets must be separated and then there’s the daunting task of deciding who gets what — who stays in the house, who keeps the dog, who gets the kids and when do they get them, and so on. Everything the two of you built together gets torn down.

And the love you thought you shared, disappears.

Think about these things before you make marriage investments in a boyfriend or girlfriend. Be patient and protect your sanity at all costs. Stay in the moment of the relationship and allow it to grow before you enter into an illegitimate marriage. Be willing to leave something to look forward to and some things to work towards. If your partner isn’t willing to wait or work for a marriage, then they aren’t the one for you. There is a way of showing yourself without giving all of yourself. From the words of Ms. Janet Jackson, “Let’s wait awhile before it’s too late.” Don’t add another divorce to your collection. Wait for the real thing.

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