Life really is a trip. Today, the reason why I say that is because, the backstory on this particular relationship coach is, he's actually a good friend of mine. We went to college together. He knew my late fiancé. And now, here we are—both coaches in matters of the heart. The funny thing about Jay and myself is that we have always really interesting discussions on coaching/counseling couples because we're both super-opinionated when it comes to what we think is the key to making relationships work and last. That said, if you've read even a few of my relationship articles on this platform, you know that I can't stress enough, just how important it is to hear a man's point of view if you're interested in, well, dating a man.
In walks Jay. As we were recently chatting it up about how couples should communicate in the early dating phases of their relationship, I asked him to share what he thought single marriage-minded women should be comfortable asking a man around the third date. Because, let's be honest, y'all—if you're interested in jumping a broom sooner than later, time is of the essence and no one is interested in spending precious time, effort and energy in a man who isn't in the same book, let alone on the same page. So, if you've got a guy who you're really feeling right now, you got the "first attraction date" and "second chemistry date" out of the way, it's now time to tackle what Jay says is the compatibility portion of the program. And this can—and in many ways should—transpire on date three.
"The purpose of these questions is to really see if you and he are a good fit," Jay explains. "If after you ask these seven questions, you and the guy you're seeing aren't on the same page, you really should take a step back. You need to assess if there is something actually there beyond emotions and hormones because, unfortunately, about 80 percent of couples don't have these conversations early on—and they end up paying for it later." As a marriage life coach, I can certainly vouch for that (check out "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have").
So, are you ready to read about what your third date conversation should consist of, again, if marriage sooner than later is on your list of short-term goals? Here are seven of them, along with why Jay finds them to be absolutely essential.
1. "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
A man with laser focus is definitely going to be able to envision where he's headed in life. If he is also marriage-minded, while he's sharing his vision for the next several years, at some point, marriage and possibly children are definitely going to come up. You won't have to coax him into mentioning it. It's already on his radar.
2. "What short-term goals are you looking to achieve?"
The reason why this is so important is because it helps you to get a window into his current priorities. As he's discussing his plans and desires, listen to see if he brings up the kind of woman who he would like to share the rest of his life with. If he's interested in making that move within the next couple of years, he'll mention it. It won't just be in passing either.
3. "How do you feel about children?"
Unfortunately, a lot of couples don't discuss this enough on the front end. While it doesn't apply to all men, if the guy you're seeing says that he isn't interested in having kids and he doesn't already have some, it could send a potential red flag that he's not the most responsible person.
When we have children, they are more permanent than relationships in a lot of ways. A man who isn't interested in kids could be letting you know that he's not big on commitment.
4. "What's your relationship like with your parents?"
You need to know how he was raised. It's no secret that generations can repeat the same patterns. You need to know what you're getting yourself into. How has his father impacted his life? What is his relationship like with his mother, to this day? Now that he's an adult, does he have a healthy set of boundaries with his family? Does he see indications of lasting trauma from his childhood that have gone unaddressed? This might seem like a deep question for a third date but if he's comfortable with who he is, and you're willing to answer this question too, he should be pretty forthcoming about it all.
5. "How important is sex to you?"
On a scale of 1-10, ask him how much he values sex in a relationship. First, in a dating situation and then once he's married. While you're dating, it can let you know what his expectations are. And since sex is often seen as being recreational fun when you're single, it's a good idea to get a hold of how he sees marriage once he's a husband. Sex is a way to cultivate a special bond once you're husband and wife. What are his views on that?
6. "How do you prioritize your health?"
Health is important in every facet of your life—mind, body and spirit. You need to know how he views things like eating habits, working out and going to therapy if/when needed. You also need to know if he expects similar things out of the person he is dating on a serious level.
This might seem like a minor thing when you're dating but when you're sharing a life with someone else, it becomes pretty big.
7. "What does faith look like in your life?"
Even though I'm saving this for last, I easily could've mentioned it first. Because I'm a Christ-centered relationship coach, I believe that two people should be equally yoked. Faith is paramount because it's foundational when it comes to understanding someone's values. When values don't align and two people have totally different forms of reference, it's hard to walk together in life. Not to mention raise kids. Know what his faith/religion is. Know if he makes it a top priority. Know how he wants to implement it in his home someday when he's sharing it with other people. It's pretty important to be on the same page or at least have some common ground here.
BONUS: "How do you feel about blended families?"
I got married for the first time in my mid-40s and one of my two daughters [JH2] was living with me. My wife had no children. We had to learn how to create a blended family. The reality is the longer any of us wait to get married, the greater chance that we'll either be a parent and/or date someone who is. You need to know if he's open or not open to coming into a ready-made dynamic. You also need to see if he's being compliant about the thought of a blended family or just…tolerant. If he's embracing the idea, he'll be really direct about it in his words and his body language. He'll make direct eye contact. He won't dodge the topic. If he's merely tolerant, he might say something along the lines of, "Well, if that's a part of the package" or, "If that's what I've got to do then…"
Marriage is challenging enough. You don't want someone who isn't really willing to make a blended situation work if you've got kids.
Yeah, I know. While a part of you might wonder if these questions are "too heavy", as if you are low-key interrogating him, it really is all in the delivery, tone and if you are willing to answer the questions that you're asking. Besides, remember that this is for those of us who are dating with the desire of meeting the one we want to marry—again, sooner than later. The sooner you know if "he" has the same perspective as you, the easier it will be to either move forward with him or to cool things off so that you can keep yourself open for the one who you can go on three dates with, direct these questions towards and it ends up being all good.
I mean, it's not like a man—a married man—didn't just give the green light to take this approach. There's no time like the present to know where you stand, right? You've got Jay's cosign. Do it.
Jay Hurt is a licensed relationship coach with 10 years of experience. He's also a speaker and the author of two books: The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship and Before You Jump the Broom. A great way to connect with Jay is to participate in his bi-weekly open Zoom calls, Relationship Convos with a Black Man. For more information, hit him up on all socials (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) at jayhurtcoaching or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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