DEALING WITH SIMILARITIES
The first four steps deal with similarities between the man and woman.
This is the first phase where no imperfections are seen in the other.
1. Meet; flash of interest; initial communication.
2. Meet again; he calls, talk a bit more, agree to go out.
3. Begin the process of becoming friends — sharing activities (sports, shows, etc.) (NOT sharing bodies!)
4. Begin meeting each other's friends and family.
DEALING WITH DIFFERENCES
This is the time in the relationship where differences arise.
Differences in interests, in perceptions, in styles of communication, and in goals.
It is also a time where weaknesses become more apparent.
The person no longer is "perfect" and flaws are noted.
If these weaknesses and flaws are issues that are not negotiable (the person is not willing to change), then this is the time when a decision is made whether to proceed into the next stage.
5. Explore each other's common and different interests.
He likes jazz; she likes classical music. He is interested in sports; she is not, but is willing to learn more about them to understand his interest.
6. Becoming aware of, and beginning to work through, each other's weaknesses and differences on important issues.
He procrastinates; she is late to everything. He is content to hold a mediocre level job and doesn't care about saving money; she is a perfectionist and is already planning for her financial future. He doesn't want children; she does.
7. Exploring life goals; taking increasing amounts of time together to discuss who each of you are, where you are going in life, and if you will be able work things out to go there together.
DEALING WITH SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
These two steps are the final steps to marriage and give the couple a final opportunity to assess if this relationship should go into marriage.
It is critical that exploration of all issues take place prior to marriage rather than after, in order to lay a solid foundation.
If a person is not willing to change — and will not change — before marriage for the other, that person will undoubtedly not change after marriage.
8. Acknowledgement that you are going forward together; working through different areas — finances, raising children, lifestyles, religion, etc.
Any previous sexual relationships need to be openly discussed and dealt with because they always bring emotional baggage into the next relationship.
Prior sexual activity is habit-forming.
Persons who were previously sexually involved must face this habit and take serious steps to overcome it for the sake of Marital Trust.
Complete Trust must be established and recognized as absolutely necessary for the relationship to bloom and prosper.
9. Engagement period — premarital counseling; finalizing plans, dealing with pressures together.
This is the engagement period — this is not marriage. Save sex for marriage.
Marriage is the commitment.
There is no commitment outside of marriage because without marriage there is always an option out of the relationship.
10. Marriage — full physical relationship expressed in sexual intercourse.
The relationship is now cemented together for life.