Discerning who to spend the rest of your life with is no small feat. Unfortunately, many people rush through the dating phase without intentionally knowing what to look for and what to avoid. As Christians, Jesus tells us to “….. be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NIV). Therefore, we must be clever with how we approach the dating world. Here are some of the top things to consider when entering into a romantic relationship with another believer.
1. Authentic Faith
One of the first things to look for is authentic faith. Ask to hear their testimony about their life before and after accepting Christ. In addition, look for proof of their faith through regular church attendance, using their gifts to serve, and in God-honoring media choices. Moreover, look for someone who has a history of regular devotions with God. It’s incredible how many Christians never spend alone time with God in prayer and Scripture reading. We are all prone to drift and we desperately need this devotion time to keep our hearts and mind centred on His holiness and love. Therefore, finding a believer who makes regular quiet times with God a priority is essential.
2. Sexual Behavior
As our world becomes more and more sex saturated, Christians are getting swept away in the current of loose sexual morals. Extra marital sex and porn addiction are both sky rocketing. In response to this, we must remember God’s command to “flee from sexual immorality….” (1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV). We must uphold holiness and honor God with how we treat our bodies sexually. Therefore, search for a believer who believes in preserving sex for marriage alone and someone who intentionally pursues sexual purity in their life.
3. Trauma Background
We are all broken and sinful by nature; therefore, none of us were raised in perfect homes by perfect caregivers. However, some of us have unfortunately suffered more childhood trauma than others, such as emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or a parent who was uninvolved and neglectful. When considering someone to become serious with, it’s critical to learn about any trauma history. What have they experienced, how has it impacted them, and most importantly what type of treatment and healing have they received for it? Be wary of someone who reports childhood abuse or neglect and says it hasn’t impacted them. Most likely, it’s impacted them in significant ways they haven’t realised yet. Childhood trauma shouldn’t necessarily be a red flag, but unhealed childhood trauma should be because its impact will most likely appear in your relationship with them in negative ways.
4. Relational Stability
Another essential element to look for in a potential Christian partner is relational stability. To turn out emotionally healthy, people need at least one consistent caregiver growing up they had a secure attachment with. A secure attachment is developed by a parent sensitively and consistently meeting their child’s needs. A child who has this type of relationship learns to trust others at a core level. Evidence of childhood secure attachments is usually seen in an adult who is able to maintain friendships long-term and someone who still has positive, regular contact with their parent. Adults who were raised with a secure attachment are much more likely to develop healthy romantic relationships based on trust, honesty, and closeness.
Our culture has promoted the misconception that opposites attract. While opposites may attract initially, marriages of opposites often have more problems compared to marriages of people who are more similar. As Christians, finding a fellow believer is the most important core element to have in common. However, there are several secondary values to consider having in common that will make for a more harmonious relationship. For example, if you are a hard worker then you should try to find someone who also has a strong work ethic. If you are an extrovert and love conversation then you should find someone who also enjoys discussions. If you are really health minded and deeply value nutrition and fitness then look for someone who values the same. You get the idea. Discern the secondary values that are most important to you and search for someone who has the same bent.
So as you are searching profiles, messaging other members, and going out on dates, carefully consider these five points in the person you’re pursuing.
Dr. Wyatt Fisher is a licensed psychologist in Denver, CO and founder of PornBattle, the Colorado Marriage Refresh, Fisher Christian Counseling, and ChristianCrush.