I was thinking about what kind of message I could share with the ladies on Cupid Day.  The Holy Spirit led me back to my archives…an article that, while I have even grown since I penned it, I still think will provide a sense of insight for those who aren’t married, but on a lot of levels, in their “boyfriend/girlfriend-dom”, might as well be.  Here’s just another perspective to think about. After all, marriage is for MARRIED PEOPLE.



Marry Your Boyfriend Until…(You well, marry him)

Shellie R. Warren

29, I have had more heartaches than I care to count in my past and
since the present man in my life is who I hope will also be
my future, I can’t believe that there are still lessons I have
to learn in matters of the heart.  I thought I would at least
get a break until I had a ring on my finger…geesh!

without getting too deep, I have learned a lot of
lessons—oftentimes redundantly with numerous beings of the male
species.  However, I am sad and yet not ashamed to admit that
there have only been three men in my life whom I could really call my
boyfriend.  My current sweetie, William, is one of them.
As I reflect on all of the steps that most healthy sources say are
required before getting into a serious relationship, I proudly admit
that we didn’t skip any.  We were friends for years, he
actually pursued me (not the other way around, which is what I was
accustomed to), there has been no casual sex and we remain pretty
open and honest with each other.

check, and check.

as with the final English paper I recall working on for
weeks my senior year, confident that I would get no less than an “A”
because it was my favorite subject, life often gives you tests with
warning signs that serve as the equivalent of the little read marks I
received on that English paper.  Not an “F” or even a
“C”…more like a “You can do better.  Make the necessary
adjustments.  Do over.  Hand it back.”

figured that all of my “non-relationship relationships” had
taught me all that I needed to know.  They hadn’t.  See,
because I had rarely been in a mutually committed relationship, what
“other people’s men” taught me was that I shouldn’t be
involved with…other people’s men.  I hadn’t really
prepared for what I should do when I finally got “a man of my very

have I gotten my share of check marks now!  Have you ever heard
the saying “Sometimes love just ain’t enough?”  Put it on
a t-shirt, sport it proudly and it will save you a lot of heartache.
Although your time and my tolerance will not permit us to go through
every single lesson I have learned since being in my present
relationship, whether you are in a serious relationship, dating, or
just fantasizing about it, if there is one piece of vital piece of
advice I could give you, it would be this: 

that ends up being your current boyfriend, good.  If not,
that may be even better.  Let me explain.  I think at some
point in every woman’s life, we all want to be in a romantic
relationship, although I’m willing to bet that if we were polled on
why, lesser than a few could provide an articulate as well as
emotionally, physically and spiritually balanced response. 

shoot the messenger.  I recall once sending out an email
questionnaire asking this very question and the responses varied from
“I need someone to love” to “I don’t want to be alone” to
“My clock is ticking”.  Maybe one or two women said
something to the effect of “I have gone as far as I can alone
without a partner to take me to the next level” or “I desire to
share my life with someone who shares the same values as I do so that
we can raise better versions of ourselves [children].”

because I don’t think we spend enough time focusing on why we want
something, we are not really clear on what we are supposed to do with
it when it arrives..  If we are looking for a relationship, even
if it’s a monogamous one, whose to say that means we should
be immediately looking for, or are even ready for, a husband? 

anything a relationship is a time to see if “he” is what we want
or if he even deserves what we have to offer as a future, permanent
companion in return.  If not, we have every right to select,
discard and move on without reservation, apology or paperwork.

why do we make it so complicated?  Why is it when a relationship
is troubled, when we are unhappy in it, when we know it’s time for it
to come to an end for the sakes of all parties involved (especially
ourselves), we stick it out for all it’s worth—as if we took vows,
gave blood, signed on the bottom line…married them!  If you’re
going to do all of that, you might as well have the ring, the dress
and the cake and actually go forward with the nuptials—at least
there would be some perks!

it from me, the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to having
a boyfriend is marrying him—pledging your eternal and undying love
under every and any circumstance, forgiving them for every
transgression, finding yourself indebted to them financially,
physically, professionally, emotionally or spiritually, being loyal
to the very end, even when it is not promised in return, cleaning up
after their messes (figuratively as well as literally) by taking
on all of their problems, their bills, their strongholds, their
character flaws, their issues.

to what Hollywood, MTV, or even your girlfriends may tell you, that
is not what having a boyfriend is all about.  No, dating, even
if it is on a serious level, is a time to see if the two of you are
compatible enough, focused enough, determined enough, and committed
enough to mutually take on such matters as the ones mentioned above.
If you both can say “yes”, then it’s time to say “I do”.
Then, and only then is it time to take on the role of being a wife.

that is why when you look up the word “girlfriend” in the
dictionary, you see “a favored female companion/friend” and yet
when you come up on the word “wife”, you see, “a woman joined
to a man in marriage”.  When you are someone’s girlfriend,
you are their closest female friend with a couple of perks such as
extra attention and affection—no more, no less. 

that means you are there for them, you listen to them, you laugh and
cry with them, you support them—just as you would for any other
friend, but there is no “death till us part” in the deal, and for
a very good reason.  While you are dating, time can part you,
circumstances can part you, different desires at different times can
part you, another person who may be more better suited for your life
can part you.  You can part you.

that’s okay.  As a matter of fact, it’s better than okay, if
it’s not meant to be.  As I have often said while
nursing my friends through an ended relationship, “Better
to break up than to divorce”, and it really is.  I fear
that one of the main reasons why we cannot get to “the one”
is because we have crowned so many unworthy competitors with the
title that by the time our king comes, we have lessened ourselves to
the equivalent of a peasant girl, physically, emotionally and
otherwise.  We live like a bitter divorcee rather than a better
single person as a result of our past encounters with those of the
opposite sex.

it no longer has to be that way!  Take it from me.  The
quickest route to a disastrous dating situation is by being their
wife, while they are being your boyfriend.  You will
feel tricked and they will feel deceived—you both deserve

remember, it is my relationship with William that has
taught me this valuable lesson.  So, are we still together?
We most certainly are.  But because I have actually learned this
lesson, because I have retired from the role of wife and settled into
the position of girlfriend, we can play fairly now, because we are on
a level playing field. 

I am not feeling that I am getting less than what I am giving because
I am not giving more than what the title requires.  He is not
feeling pressured by any clock because we both know that time will
tell if a clock is even in our future together.  And we are not
so focused on what could happen that we miss what is
happening—we’re getting to know each other, enjoy each other and in
doing so, we are figuring out if we are ultimately meant for
each other.  If we are, good.  If we are not, good.
Either way, we will both be the better for it and better equipped to
be the wife and husband we are meant to be to whomever we destined to
say those vows and make that commitment to.

then, I actually like the title of “favored female companion”.
It requires no long-term commitment other than to be honest with
ourselves at all times about where we are and what we want
as friends and lovers in
preparation for possibly becoming husband and wife someday.

don’t knock it until you try it.  I’ve come to realize that it
sure beats the alternative of emotionally divorcing myself from
someone who I never literally or legally married anyway…and that’s
more than cool with me.