Dating is a dangerous game for traditionalists. Our culture pushes extreme progressivism, devalues the nuclear family, and sneers at old-fashioned marriage. How do traditionalists live out their values and build a true romance?
It can be done … and it is often done very well. I have spent five years writing about traditional dating, interviewing engaged and married couples, and helping individual daters along their journeys. I also was a traditionally minded dating lady and am now married and surrounded by fantastic marriages in my extended family. During these years, I’ve seen 10 things nearly all successful couples have done to find their match and build their futures.
1. Lean Into Your Gender
The most fundamental way to a successful romance is to embrace your natural masculinity or femininity. What are the tangible ways you practice and nurture your inborn design? It can affect everything from your body language, your skill sets, your lifestyle, and the roles you take in romance. I’d recommend all traditionalists, no matter their religious affiliation, read Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri. He does a great job breaking down and explaining the famous Theology of the Body by St. John Paul II.
2. Immerse Yourself in Several Different Dating Pools
This works twofold. First, you broaden the number of potential dates to meet and pursue. And second, it lowers the pressure on individual connections. In order to up your chances of meeting single traditionalists, join multiple circles where they can be found!
3. Don’t Take Things Personally
Dating involves vulnerability, which will heighten emotional reactions of all sorts. Be careful to keep your emotions separate from your common sense. Acting solely on feelings will cloud your decisions in who you date and where it leads. When looking for a traditional romance, you should act on your values and standards first, and emotional reactions second. Both are important, but only in this order will they lead to a healthy relationship.
4. Build Up Your Social Skills
The best way to connect with dates is to have good conversations and communication. Having good manners is also necessary when dealing with inevitable breakups. Plus, these skills are applicable in all areas of life—not just dating.
5. Give a Wide Variety of People a Chance
More than half the couples I’ve interviewed stress the importance of being open-minded. Many have told me that if they’d stuck to their “type,” they never would have met their now-spouse! Take this as your cue to give a fair chance to those who match your values. Height, location, hair color, career choice, and hobbies matter far less than shared values and future goals.
6. Be Bold Instead of Hesitating
If you’re in any type of quandary, my advice is take the bold option. You could look down and hope the cute guy notices you, or you could smile and wave at him. You could hope your crush hands you her phone number one day, or you could ask her for it directly. You could wait for months to see if you ever end up in a one-on-one conversation, or you could set up a date together this weekend. See what I mean? When you feel unsure, remember that hesitation will keep you where you are while boldness will propel you forward.
7. Be Fiscally Responsible
For guys this is especially important if you want a traditional breadwinning role one day. (In my experience, most traditional men do.) Take practical, strategic action in order to make this dream a reality. Plan how you want to do this in your future, and get a head start on making it a reality. And ladies, it will only help a future marriage if you too are financially responsible.
8. Have a Life You Love Outside of Dating
Don’t center your entire existence around finding someone to love. Actively engage in your career, hobbies, family relationships, and friendships. None will magically disappear once you have met your match, and a full traditional life will have many wonderful aspects outside of romance.
9. Don’t Share Your Body
What could be more traditional than keeping sexual relationships within the context of marriage? Intimacy has strong influence over relationships and releases hormones that create a special bond between people. And the benefits of protecting this special connection and saving it for marriage are myriad.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
Many couples I know met their future spouse when they challenged themselves to go on more dates. It’s tempting to become discouraged, shut yourself away, or wait for the perfect person to show up on your doorstep. This only leads to despair and dating atrophy. Instead, get better at dating by actually dating! Meet more people, go on more dates, and put yourself out there. Your romantic options will drastically increase.
Onwards and Upwards
Wherever you are in dating, take heart. You are not the only traditionalist looking for love! There are many others out there. It might take a bit of effort to find and connect with them, but it will be worth every minute of work. I encourage you to truly live your values and date within them. Choose to date people who meet your standards and who hope for similar things in their future. You never know who will turn out to be your match!
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