People go into dating for marriage idealistically, hoping it will be a quick, easy and enjoyable experience. But let's face it, it has the potential to be just the opposite. Going in with the right mindset can make all the difference in how it turns out for you.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure it's a positive experience:

Sometimes the Feelings Are Not Mutual, and That's Okay

It’s possible to go on a date, or several dates, and feel excitement and clarity that this person could be the one, only to be stunned to find out they don’t want to continue seeing you. This is very hurtful and disappointing, but it is essential not to take rejection personally.

It's beneficial to keep in mind that it is the nature of dating that one person is often more interested than the other – until you meet the right one. Otherwise everyone would just marry the first person they dated.

It's the nature of dating that one person is often more interested than the other – until you meet the right one.

If someone doesn’t want to date you further it is not a reflection of how desirable, likeable or attractive you are. It’s just about the person already having a sense that it’s just not a match. It’s okay to feel hurt, rejection stings, but it’s important not to take it personally because that will wear away at your self-esteem over time and create emotional baggage for you, making it harder to find a good match.

Dating can do a real number on your self-esteem, so make it a priority to know your value and not let anyone take that away from you! Even if you’re rejected for reasons you don’t agree with, let that be the other person’s issue and not yours. Some people don’t yet have the emotional maturity to make this decision, and no one is going to be good enough. You’re better off with someone who can appreciate you.

Do a Variety of Activities while Dating

How long do you have to know someone before you can know if they are the one?

I haven't found a direct correlation between amount of time together and relationship success. I’ve seen couples who were together for a while or lived together get divorced, and I’ve seen couples together for a really short time go on and have a great marriage.

More important than the amount of time is what you do during that time. You want to be sure to have a variety of experiences with this person, see them in different settings and have them around different people. This helps you to make a more informed decision because it’s getting to see how they function, how they respond, how they treat people, and the different sides of their personality that come out. The goal is not to look for the ideal in all these situations, because no one is perfect, but more just being sure they are someone you can live with, partner with, care for and respect.

Look for What Matters

When dating for marriage, it’s important to look at your date through a different lens than you would if you were dating just for fun. You want to specifically make a distinction between who would be a good spouse over the things you’d like in a more casual relationship.

Be careful not to fall in love with someone for their charm, attraction or personality alone.

Key factors in your decision-making process should be how this person treats you, how well you partner together going through the tasks of a regular day, and your ability to make decisions together. You also want to be careful you’re not falling in love with someone for their charm, attraction or personality alone. That kind of love doesn’t guarantee success. You want to focus on someone’s character because that’s the love that deepens over time.

Avoid Dating Burnout

If finding Mr. or Mrs. Right doesn’t happen quickly or smoothly, you risk losing the idealism you came in with and becoming negative or bitter. You need to consciously fight against dating burnout to preserve hope and optimism over time.

Things that commonly lead to dating burnout are: agreeing to go out with too many people who aren't in the ballpark, continuing to date someone when you don’t really want to, going on dates that are too long, and forcing yourself to go to events or use options of meeting people that are not the right fit for your personality.

Dating should be enjoyable. Your success is dependent on your ability to trust yourself and to make the choices that make you feel better, not worse.