A Royal Engagement

If you have been anywhere near the TV, radio, or internet, then you know that Prince William of Wales and his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton are officially engaged. The media is portraying their story as a “Royal Romance,” so I thought we might brush off the fairy dust and take a realistic look at some important factors involved in a dating relationship moving into a marriage commitment.
Ladies, if you are feeling a pang of envy (and Gents too for that matter), be assured that William and Kate most likely have a very “real” relationship – one that includes disagreements, disappointments, and struggles, along with the love, companionship, and deep commitment. Of course, for them, we have to add the pressures of international fame that most of us do not know. It’s part of our human nature to be drawn to visions of the ideal courtship, such as a pending wedding between two beautiful, famous, and rich twenty-somethings, just know that the realities of a life-long marriage committment are deeper then the pages of People magazine.

It’s easy to believe that William and Kate are the “perfect” match. And they may be, if we understand “perfect” to mean challenging you to mature both emotionally and spiritually, calling you to dig deep within yourself to find resources you didn’t know you had, and teaching you the true meaning of commitment. Your “perfect” partner will be able to push all your buttons, the “I can’t believe you just did that” along with “you’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met.”

What do we know about what makes an “ideal” courtship? First, even though they met at age 19, the royal couple waited to get engaged until they had both emerged from their early twenties with each of their own identities in tact. Good move. Because they were so young, it makes sense that they have dated for 8 years. However, for those of us past our early twenties, research shows that the longer you date after about 2-3 years without a marriage commitment, the less likely your (eventual) marriage will actually work out. Of course, there are good reasons to delay a marriage commitment, especially if one partner is working on personal issues or has had a previous marriage. However, if there are long-standing questions concerning one partner’s dedication to the relationship, those issues can linger way past the wedding day.

It appears that William and Kate had a short breakup a few years back. Normally, break-ups are not a good sign for a future marriage. I hated hearing it myself, but if you broke-up, then you most likely broke-up for a good reason. Can people change? Absolutely – but here’s the key – be sure to wait for enough time to pass to make sure the original problem has truly been solved. Breaking up and getting engaged 3 months later is not a good idea. For our new famous couple, they waited 3 years after their breakup. Another good move.

It can be a challenge when we’re single to think that everyone else has the perfect love story. Be assured, your love story is in the works right now, as God prepares both you and your future spouse for His most perfect love.

Got dating questions? Send me an email or choose “Dear Michele” from your front page.