We’ve often heard that the period of dating/courtship is supposed to primarily serve the purpose of helping both parties to know each other better. What has eluded most of us is the level or form of knowing that we should seek to achieve.
It has become the norm in recent times that dating couples get to know each other sexually before they get to know each other intimately. Get it straight – sex is not intimacy. Those who think that way are just scratching the surface.
Knowing your partner intimately is a key factor in sustaining a good relationship but we might be tricked into thinking that we know someone when in actual sense we don’t know the person. Let me tell you a story.
There was this girl that I had been crushing on for over 2 years. I liked her very much and we used to chat almost every day (for those 2 years). Actually, I had to sacrifice precious sleep hours just to chat with her because we were in different time zones. Just for the record, I didn’t meet her online.
I felt like we had this connection. I mean she was interesting and intelligent and it seemed we shared a lot of interests and we understood each other very well. However, I never had the courage to ask her out and when I was finally ready to do so she was seeing another person. It seemed she had been waiting on me for too long she decided to give up. Y’know, 2 years is a lot of time. After that we became a little distant though we still talk often but not as before.
One day we were chatting and the issue of who knew the other better came up. I thought I was in a comfortable lead and even suggested that we take a test: ten close-ended questions each. The questions were such that the questioner provides two options for the answerer to choose from eg. Coke or Fanta?
To my uttermost surprise she beat me. She scored 7/10 and I scored 5/10. The questions I got wrong were simple things that real friends should know about each other. I couldn’t think far. I thought 2 years was a lot of time and I had been actively listening to her and getting to know her and all that.
Then it dawned on me that I had been selfish in the knowing-her process. I got to know her in areas of my interest. For instance, I love football so I knew her favourite football team and most of her interests in sports. Also, during all these years of chatting I was mostly trying to sell myself as someone who could be a good spouse to her and often gearing the conversation towards a point where I could let my feelings known to her.
That is one mistake that most of us make. When trying to know someone, let the spotlight be on the other person. Allow the person to reveal more about himself. Humans by nature like talking about themselves. Everybody likes to be listened to, not only ladies but everyone.
From my story you can deduce that time alone is not adequate in knowing someone. Most of the people I’ve known since basic school don’t know me as well as my current roommate whom I just met in the University. The length of time alone is insignificant. What you do within that time matters most.
Communication is indispensable. The Bible says in Luke 6:45 that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The simplest way of getting to know the deep things in the heart of man is by listening to the person’s speech. By listening to the person often, you eventually pick clues on the sort of person he really is.
I also learnt in Communication Skills that you get a chunk of information when you ask people open-ended questions than close ended-questions. For example, asking “what did you do today?” can fetch you a lot more info than “Did you go to work?”. This makes the conversation flow and makes it seem less like a questionnaire or interview.
The intriguing aspect of this knowing-you process is that some people can somehow hide their true identity till they get what they want. It is for this reason why we should always pray to God about the person we like. That He might reveal to us things we might not see with our human eyes.
I don’t want this article to be lengthy so next week, I’ll bring you What Do You Know? Part 2.
So let me end it like how they do in Nigerian movies.
This is just the beginning
Watch out for part 2
To God be the glory