It is so important when dating someone to make sure that you don’t induce what I call the physical narcotic until as late as possible. It has been shown that physical affection arouses the body and the mind in similar ways to very addicting drugs. What does this mean? This means that you lose your ability to see warning signs or to reason when you are under the influence. I have heard that good marriage prep class teachers challenge their students to avoid any physical contact for a week to see if the relationship is based on more than that. I would take the challenge further. To those of you who haven’t started dating, I would suggest dating for several months without any physical contact. (For as long as you can.) For those of you who are currently dating, if you are being physical and started quickly, take a break for at least a month. I know it sounds harsh, but in marriage different things come up that prevent affection. After a baby is born, no intercourse is allowed for 6 weeks (doctor’s oders). There are other circumstances (illness, family visitors, etc) that arise, and it is important to know if your marriage can handle that kind of strain. It is also nice to know if your dating relationship is built on something more lasting than physical affection. As an important side note—being physically separated (like when my husband-to-be was away on his mission) is not even close to the same as abstaining when you are together.I am frequently amazed at the temporary insanity that seems to beset some people when it comes to marriage. Some of those crazy marriages work, but when people seem to have nothing in common except physical attraction, the odds of unnecessary grief are so high. Even when there is a lot in common - goals, interests, faith, age, etc. - marriage is still highly demanding and sometimes painful, so it's vital to marry someone with the strength and commitment to press forward in order to realize the deep joy that come through married life. The real joy is years down the road.
Another benefit to not inducing the physical narcotic is the ability to see the other person as you will usually see them. Even in the most loving marriages, you don’t make out all the time. There are lots more times that you are washing dishes, sweeping floors, holding screaming children, etc. Can you handle that person with no sleep, no food? Do they seem nice under lots of pressure? Does your potential spouse have the ability to work? Does he/she clean without prompting—are they inherently neat? Does that matter to you? How do they behave when they are sick—especially the wife-to-be? The sad reality of marriage is that the mother has to be sick alone. She has to take care of children in spite of being sick. Sometimes the husband can be there to help, but usually there are finals, classes, and important deadlines that lead the loving wife to agree to be nauseous alone. Pregnancy sickness is the flu for 14 weeks. Can she do it alone?
I heard one comedienne quip that when she's dating a man, she has to step back and ask herself this question: "Is this the man who, for the rest of my life, I want to be leaving my future children with every other Saturday?" OK, it's a cynical question, but it is an example of trying to think clearly about the realities of marriage and the high odds of divorce when the foundation is lacking. Physical attraction is great, but it's not enough to make a marriage work. Don't let it make your most important decisions for you.