Dating and marriage are such that it is expedient for you to know the other party from the inside to the outside. You should endeavour to interact with the person’s soul (mind) and spirit before interacting with the body. Most people do it the other way round. Even with getting to know a person’s total personality there are various levels. I have identified 5 levels of knowing someone in a relationship.
The first level of knowing someone is what I call the identity knowing. This we usually get to know the first day we meet someone. We get to know the person’s name, occupation maybe, and what the person looks like. The information you get from this level is just enough to identify the person.
The second level is the superficial knowing. Here, you get your information by just observing the person closely. You get to know the kind of clothes that the person likes to wear, the kind of people that the person interacts with, etc.
Then there is the personality knowing. This comes only by interacting with the person. You get to know the reason behind what you observe the person do. You also get to know some of their interests that cannot be identified merely by observing them such as the kind of cars they would like to have, the kind of person they will like to go out with, etc. A lot of the youth immediately graduate from this stage to marriage which is wrong.
The fourth level is the intimate knowing. At this stage you get to know the person’s deepest thoughts, dreams, aspirations, goals, sensitive beliefs, their weaknesses and fears. This is why sex is not intimacy. You cannot access a person’s deepest thoughts, fears and weaknesses through sex. Nonetheless, openness is very essential to intimacy and it is dependent on the level of trust you have built with the person through the previous stages. It is at this point that marriage is recommended.
The final level is what I call the ultimate knowing. This stage requires a rite of passage – marriage. This is the form of knowing that the Bible refers to in statements like “…and Abraham knew Sarah.” It is disheartening to know that young people skip the third stage to this Lone and later regret. Nevertheless, this stage also includes aspects of intimate knowing that will never be possible unless you stay with the person under one roof for a while.
If you have made the mistake of dating someone before intimately knowing them you can still get to know them and bolt out of the relationship if you are not comfortable with their true personality. Don’t be fooling about indulging in sexual activities with someone you don’t “know”. A relationship built on sex and romance will never stand. Only a relationship built on godly principles and true friendship will. Take this from me.
May God help us to properly know the people we like to spend the rest of our lives with before we head into marriage and then regret the decision we made.