Relationships are about timing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know we hear about God’s timing, but that’s not what I specifically mean. I mean sometimes the timing of things, the timing of two lives coming together, isn’t always in sync.

Have you ever been in a treading water or yo-yo-ing relationship? By treading water, I mean you have reached this comfortable spot, things don’t seem to be going either forwards (towards marriage) or backwards (toward a break up), but you have lost relationship momentum and find yourself in a steady-state position. It’s not a bad place, things are going along fine, yet, you can’t help but feel some sort of dissatisfaction. Like you aren’t where you want to be in the relationship or that you could seriously see your relationship in this same place a year from now. Two years from now. For the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, you have the yo-yo-ing relationship. You get together, things for fine for a time, then the relationship seems to come to a head. One of you may want more while the other isn’t ready to commit. You may want to get married but you can’t quite seem to take that final step. So the two of you break up, ready to go your separate directions and start anew with someone else. Time goes by, then you start to drift back together. It may start slowly: you still hang out with the same friends and thus bump into each other a lot; you attempt to just be friends and find yourselves calling each other and hanging out again; next thing you know, you’re talking about giving things another shot and the process starts all over again.

There comes a point where you have to decide the ultimate future of the relationship. Much like some people feel a biological clock (and that may factor into the decision) others feel a “lifetime commitment” clock. Think of it as a lemon law: once you’ve decided that this is the person you could spend the rest of your life with, how much time, energy, and emotion are you willing to invest in the relationship before you decide that things aren’t heading down the aisle?

This lag time will vary per couple; relationships have to go at their own pace. It is a time of discovery, of learning about your partner. So part of the decision making process may boil down to where you are in life. Financial reality may play a part in the decision, being in school, career decisions, family obligations. These are realities.

Indecision, not wanting to settle down just yet (if ever), “I don’t know”, “it doesn’t feel right yet”—you’re lying to yourself if you don’t believe these aren’t decisions every bit as real as a break up. And you know what? You should listen to those decisions. If one partner doesn’t know, don’t pressure them into a “yes”. You shouldn’t have to sell you or the relationship to them.

No one ought to force you into making a decision you aren’t ready to, but there comes a point where you are going to have to make a decision. Otherwise you really are holding up two people’s lives. Timing is a delicate thing (more delicate than the title of this blog).

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