Flow of Romantic Relationship Stage 4: Trusting
The past few weeks in our blogs, we’ve walked through the first three stages that most romantic relationships naturally navigate through; Crushing, Questioning & Committing. Today we’re going to explore the fourth stage which is Trusting.
4) Trusting: Allow intimacy and vulnerability to blossom
This is the stage just before engagement. As trust and love grow through vulnerability and intimacy, our natural reaction is to become close in every way to the man or woman we’re in relationship with. Physical boundaries and accountability are really important in this stage as you choose love and open your heart up to each other.
The trusting stage allows hearts to blossom into full blown love and movement towards a lasting commitment. It’s good to note that each person is free to exit the relationship at any time that they feel. Relationship is a choice and we honor each other’s choice for us. We only desire to be with someone that would choose us and would never want to force someone to stay in something they didn’t desire as well.
There were times in the commitment stage that had led to trusting with my now husband that he would be farther along than I was. That was ok. I would explain to him that I was like a flower that blossomed and would only share intimate details about myself when I felt comfortable. It is important to stay true to yourself throughout the relationship and not agree to giving more information or access than the level of commitment garners.
This is a great time to move into some kind of pre-marital counseling. An excellent course to take during this time is “Defining the Relationship” by Danny and Sheri Silk. This will open up levels of vulnerability and communication that needs to happen before making a decision to move towards marriage in the form of engagement. This can have some challenges because it brings up communication barriers and areas that may be unhealthy in the relationship, but it is essential to address many of these before marriage. Communication is key. You can get past almost anything in marriage with good communication skills.
Allow yourself to open and blossom into intimacy with the man or woman you’re committed to. Only open hearts fall in love, not closed ones. Fear causes hearts to close, but love causes hearts to open. Love is such a beautiful thing; it involves deep intimacy and vulnerability. This is also a stage where many choose to end the relationship or take steps back to work on areas of communication or areas that are not at a healthy place to move into marriage.
Please, please, please get counsel during this stage. Press into that; this is the time to do it when you have the ability to gain wisdom and insight from other married couples that have walked through some life together. Also, sometimes we are blinded in love, so outside input is imperative. A blessing from those that you trust and are getting counsel from is important (parents, mentors, etc). Don’t negate God’s voice through others during this time, it can be life saving.
Excerpt is from the book, ‘Love Unstuck’ by Wendee Mannon
Image courtesy of photostock at www.freedigitalphotos.net