“Lasana, I have a question for you” said my friend on the phone to me this week. “I was having a battle of the sexes debate with some friends a few weeks ago and someone asked the question, ‘If I am engaged am I still single?’ The pro-single debaters argued that on your taxes, it doesn’t say anything about engaged. The marital status boxes read ‘single, married, divorced or widowed.’ Further defending their point, they explained there are several people who will still engage in intimate activities with an engaged person who may not do so with a married person. The anti-single debaters criticized these comments responding if a person has told someone they want to spend the rest of their life with them, they should no longer see themselves as single and hold themselves accountable to their partners.” “So Lasana,” my friend continued, “in your opinion, which group is right?”
Taking the points of both sides under consideration, I decided I most agreed with the pro-single debaters. It is a fact that until an individual is married the government formerly recognizes that person as single. No vows have been taken and no official papers have been signed. Engagement is the final stage a couple enters before officially merging their lives and assets together. It is the stage when the relationship should go through a final evaluation. Any lingering questions should be asked. Arising issues should be discussed. Compromises that will benefit both parties should be made. Engagement is not a stage that should be taken lightly. Successful completion of this stage will yield a strong foundation for a fruitful marriage. Conversely, this stage can also cause the dissolution of a relationship. Although it may be painful, I strongly feel it is better for a relationship to disband during the engagement stage than deal with the complex emotional, financial and legal ramifications of a divorce.
The anti-single debaters did have a major point I agreed with. If an individual has told their partner they would like to spend the rest of their life with them, then emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually they should be preparing themselves to make that commitment. In doing so, they should be as accountable to their partner as they would want their partner to be to them. If an individual thinks it is still acceptable to date or see other people intimately while engaged, my question would be to this individual “Is your partner aware of this? Would you find this behavior acceptable from your partner?” If the answer to either of those questions is “No” then it is glaringly clear the behavior is unacceptable. The idea of “what my partner doesn’t know won’t hurt them” or “until I take those vows, I’m still completely single” is setting the future marriage up at a disadvantage because that individual is being deceitful to their partner. Secrets, lies and betrayal are not the types of foundation that will yield a strong and peaceful marital union. If an individual still finds dating and/or being intimate with other people of value to them, then they should remain single. It is unreasonable to partially commit to another person. In this case, engagement and marriage should be delayed until both parties are fully ready.
Which side are you on? If a person is engaged, are you pro-single or anti-single?
Photo: Lemonjenny/ Flickr