Today, let's blow darts at The Game.
The Game is one of good intentions but oft sour results. A dating couple smears on the plastic grin and pretends to be that which they are not in order to be a good catch.
You know what I'm talking about.
Neither person farts, she's without blemish and the two of you have barely a verbal smackdown the first year of getting to know each other.
It makes sense that we act this way. After all, nobody would date us if they knew our flaws, sin and undesirable traits, right? So we gloss over our own skeletons and perhaps the junk of the other person and pretend everything's great.
But wouldn't it be in the best interest for a couple to determine compatibility early on rather than playing The Game for months or years before realizing the other person is not who you thought they were? What's bad is some couples never really have The Chat, he puts a ring on it and they end up not knowing the person they married.
I think it would save time, broken hearts and set up realistic expectations if all dating couples worked through a few frumpy steps early on. I'll even suggest the following would nip many divorces since there would be fewer hooking up to the wrong person in the first place.
- Ditch The Game - Other than Chutes and Ladders, who has time for games? I certainly don't have the luxury to dink around. Get to the point and don't pretend to be somebody you are not.
- Have The Chat - By the second or third date, sit down and have The Chat. This is a frank discussion about the good and bad traits on both sides. If done honestly, this is a painful, humbling process. Now's a good time to go ahead and fess up on that meth' addiction, habitual bedwetting problem and your secret collection of porcelain gravy boats.
- Make The Decision - Split for a couple days and ponder, pray and chew on what was discussed in The Chat. You'll have a hunch on whether there's a spark or dud there. Meet up and decide if the two of you will hug or split.
- Zip Up - If you decide there's a connection and want to move ahead together, refrain from the physical stuff. Sex outside of marriage clouds judgment. What you feel is lust, not love. Especially for men, you'll overlook certain problems if you are sleeping together. Keeping your pecker in your pants will allow you to evaluate the relationship with clarity, without sweater muffs and pheromones drunking up reality.
If I were to sit down and have The Chat, I'd say something like this:
I'm a top-notch dad who turns the discipline and love dials to mold a sweet daughter who cares about others. Years of single fatherhood has chiseled me into a domestic warrior. I can handle anything from diapers and colicky brats to slow smoking a turkey, spinning a pizza pie from scratch, laying tile and toilets and leading crafts for Pigtails' Brownie Scout meetings. I have a good job, am fit, a sharp defender of my Christian faith and a seeker of truth and wisdom. And I use deodorant.
I'm negative, critical and often see the glass as half empty. The tear of our marriage covenant through ex's infidelity has soured my outlook on marriage and family to the point where I have doubts about being able to love again. Love appears to be a feeling that fades. And the actions that demonstrate love cease when the other person "doesn't feel in love." Oh, I usually leave the seat up, so there's that.
Yuck, the above is a shameful bucket of ugliness. But it's the truth. I gain nothing and am unfair to the other person if I continue playing The Game and pretending. So I'm finding help to work through my bucket of shame. I want to empty that crap out so I can be clean, free and happy again.
Mostly, I want to love again.
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What do you think about The Game? Would those in the dating pond be wise to open up and partake in The Chat early on, rather than teeing up for another 18 holes of The Game?
Or am I all wet?
Or am I all wet?