I get this question all the time from my marriage-minded clients, “Should you build a friendship before a relationship, especially if you’re marriage-minded?”

The answer, I’m afraid, isn’t as black-and-white as the question.

Friends kayaking.

It’s not a definitive yes.

It’s not a definitive no.

We’ve all seen the wedding invitations that ooze with the friendship-love connection: “On this day I will marry my best friend.”

Couples embarking on their first marriage especially embrace this idea of building their romance on a foundation of friendship.

Perhaps they met in college and hung out with the same friends, going to football games, studying, and celebrating together.

Perhaps they met in an unassuming way – through work, volunteering, or mutual friends – and came to realize they had a lot in common. 

Similar interests led to discussions and expressions of deeply held core values.

Shared values led to discussions and expressions of life goals and a couple vision.

And, before they knew it, the veil of “great friends” was lifting to reveal a romantic attraction.

Relationships like this happen all the time. They’re the quintessential “Who knew?”

But what if you’re actually looking for marriage-minded people to date? 

Not that you would turn away a potential good friend, of course. But you also have a “coupled” future to think about and prepare for.

So, when it comes to starting a dating relationship, should you build a friendship first?

Before a relationship becomes marriage-worthy and marriage-bound, it needs to have several qualities definitively in place.

And, ironically, many of those fundamental qualities are inherent to a great friendship:

How, though, do you develop these attributes with a new person you barely know?

You probably don’t overthink the process when you’re “becoming friends” with someone you have no further expectations of. You let the blossoming friendship happen on its own – one kindness, one get-together, one trusted exchange, one test of compatibility at a time.

When dating for marriage, however, there’s a specific goal or intent.

You’re dating for the purpose of meeting someone for a serious, committed relationship that could lead to marriage.

And, in that regard, finding true love isn’t necessarily so “organic” or “unplanned.”

Given that purpose, many of my clients, when they meet the right person, seem to become exclusive within 3 to 6 dates. 

Can you really know a person in that timeframe? Is this crazy?

Exclusivity is usually agreed upon by the couple so they can build trust in one another. There is a desire to spend time dating only one another to deepen the relationship. 

As a result, you’re not going to date another person while being exclusive.

This is where the line between friendship and dating for marriage becomes a little tenuous. 

You need to develop the inherent qualities of friendship. But you were first motivated by an attraction to this person as a potential love interest and future mate.

Exclusivity becomes the strategy, the context, the space in which you explore your potential for those qualities…and for a relationship that goes beyond friendship.

Trust is always at the forefront of my clients’ minds.

How do you build that essential quality when you barely know someone but are dating with the end of marriage in mind?

First, be reliable. Call when you say you’ll call. Show up when you say you’ll be there.

Second, make yourself available to this person. Make time to connect almost daily (or with a regularity that feels good to both of you). Incorporate FaceTime or Zoom to take phone calls and texting to a more personal, intimate level.

Make plans and stick to them. 

Then take your day-to-day plans to a deeper level by making plans for the future…together. 

Take a weekend getaway together. Introduce one another to your families and friends.

You would, of course, do these things with a good friend, wouldn’t you?

But now you have an interest in moving deeper into the possibility of a life with this person.

So what’s the difference between becoming a friend and developing a relationship that can lead to marriage? 

It’s all about setting a mutual intention to date for marriage and to be romantic with one another. (And yes, to eventually become physically intimate when the time is right for both of you.)

This will help you avoid the “friend zone” so many of my clients fear.

So, back to our original question: Should you build a friendship before a relationship? 

Of course! 

And I recommend you build a friendship along with seeing if this relationship has the right stuff to lead to marriage. 

Spending time and building experiences together is your best way to know for sure.

I even have clients who have taken a second look at their friends or friends from their past who are also single. 

Timing can really make the difference when it comes to finding your life partner.

In my Motivated To Marry Dating Secrets coaching program, I provide recommended time frames for dating someone before expecting to get engaged and then married based upon your age group and life goals. 

If your goal is to get off the dating merry-go-round and develop a loving, committed relationship that can lead to marriage, you’ve come to the right place. 

I’ve coached hundreds of clients who have successfully implemented the Motivated To Marry Dating Secrets methodology successfully and are in loving relationships today because of it.

If you’re ready to adjust what you’ve been doing and learn how to connect with your true love partner within 6 months or less, let’s talk. 

Go to https://motivatedtomarry.com/connect-with-coach-amy/ to begin the process of scheduling a time for us to talk.

During our strategy session, I can share how I make dating for a serious relationship easier, less confusing…and even fun!

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