LILY Letter 146: Getting Clear About Relationship Status

January 26, 2024

January 23rd was the sixth anniversary of our third first kiss. Less than four months later, we were sealed for time and all eternity in the Provo City Center Temple on 5/11/2018.

You might be asking how a kiss could be a “first kiss” if it was “third.” If you’ve read our book, Intentional Courtship, you know that our relationship had its ups and downs over a two-year period. We broke up a couple of times—once for a year—before we finally made it permanent. Our third first kiss followed a breakup and a year as “just friends.” That’s not the path we generally recommend, but it was our path. Many singles feel that a “first kiss” signals some kind of step forward in the relationship. Since we had three dating relationships, we had three first kisses. We both understood that our third first kiss would likely be the last first kiss for each of us, so it was epic!

We remember how many mid-singles would speak to well-meaning friends who tried to help them mind-read their dating partners. They say things like, “if she was going to marry you, she’d have done it by now” or “you can’t be with a middle-aged woman who doesn’t even know what she wants.” But the truth is that relationships are complicated and sometimes the process of deciding what you will mean to each other can also be complicated. We can only tell you that if we had listened to the cynics, we would have missed out on the greatest blessing of our lives. We suggest not giving much credence to those who are simply fortune telling without adequate information. The decision of whom to marry is the most important of your life. It’s fine to talk it over with trusted friends. But make the decision for yourself and for your own reasons.

If you have a best friend you have thought about creating something more with, what is holding you back? Chances are good that the thing holding you back is fear. You might be afraid to lose what you already have with your friend. But, keep in mind that, if you don’t move the friendship to something more serious, you are going to lose him or her anyway. Ultimately, one or both of you is going to marry someone else and boundaries will be created that prevent you from being as close as you are now. So, “playing it safe” and deciding to stay friends instead of trying for what you really want may be short-sighted.

In the last six years, Jeff has seen Cathy through a miscarriage, several severe health challenges, and the recent death of her best friend to cancer. Cathy has seen Jeff through the sudden death of his son, the death of his mother and grandmother, and some perplexing challenges in his career. We have been there for each other. The trials of our lives have been more bearable because we had each other, along with a strong foundation of loyal friendship.

To those of you who think dating is too hard, that the people you want to date are out of your league, or that you are only good enough to be the “best friend” but not the boyfriend, we encourage you to keep trying and not give up. You might not want to put all your eggs in one basket with someone who, so far, is not showing romantic interest. That is sensible. But why not take the courageous step forward to tell your friend how you really feel and suggest dating to see where the relationship can go and what you might mean to each other. Who knows? It may result in your last first kiss!


This week on LILY Tube, is a fun dialogue about the importance of having open communication while navigating relationship status.

"I Have a Girlfriend" (She doesn't know it yet!)

LILY Coaching is available to support you personally. Simply visit to schedule a FREE Consult with Jeff or Cathy. We will provide you with a roadmap to your desired destination!

To heal from relationship loss and create more love in your life in 2024, read Intentional Courtship (available on Amazon).

If you enjoy this letter, forward to a friend. Our goal is to support as many single adults and later-married couples as possible so please share this letter with those you love!

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