In a previous article, 5 Warning Signs in a Dating Relationship, I highlighted the warning signs one should look for when dating someone that indicate problems that will make a long-term relationship, especially marriage, difficult. There are also some positive signs that the person you are dating is worth investigating further and perhaps marrying one day.
- Interested in you. You will be blessed if you find someone who is interested in you regardless of who your friends are, whether you have many or few possessions, or whether you are popular or not. Someone who is not interested in what you can do for them but wants to serve you embodies the spirit of Christ. Does the person really listen to you or do they seem casually interested in the things most important to you? Do they look at you or the TV (or their phone) when talking? If the person emphasizes the physical part of the relationship and what they can get from you, they are not interested in you, they are interested in satisfying themselves using you and are not worth your time.
- Respects your boundaries. A person who respects your physical boundaries to preserve your integrity values you more than their interests. You also want a person who respects your time commitments and responsibilities and would not pressure you to break your word and obligations in order to spend time with them. A selfish or insecure person does not respect the walls you have established in your life and does not reflect the mind of Christ: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…”(Philippians 2:3-5 ESV).
- Grows spiritually with you. You want to find someone who wants to go to heaven regardless of how you choose to live your life, not someone who changes their dedication to God based on your commitment. You want someone you can study and pray with. You want someone that will help and encourage you in serving others and worshiping God. You do not need someone who is your spiritual crutch (or you are theirs) because they (or you) end up taking the place of support and strength that God should occupy. We can support one another but one’s faith must be built on God, not another person. Use the time in dating to go to Bible classes and gospel meetings together. Perhaps you could cook a meal together and take it to enjoy with someone who is widowed or shut in. Christian service should be a natural part of two faithful Christians spending time together.
- Responsible. You can derive comfort in a relationship when you learn that they will keep their word no matter the consequences. If the person is a diligent worker and fulfills their responsibilities, you can trust that they have the foundation for being responsible in their role within the family as well. A person who is lazy or makes excuses will continue to do so unless some drastic change takes place in their thinking (and nagging does not accomplish this). A person who works to meet their financial obligations, is active in serving God, takes care of their possessions, and other indications of responsibility will generally maintain those habits throughout their life. This is a characteristic you absolutely want in a husband or wife.
- Comfortable and confident when you are not together. A person who is secure in themselves and your relationship will not mind when you spend time with your friends or are away from them. An insecure person is often jealous of time spent with others and worries about you enjoying yourself with others. At the heart is a fear that you will find someone else to date or feel that you do not need them. A person who is constantly asking if you still like them or questions you like a detective when you go out with friends does not trust you and is insecure about your commitment to them. This is unhealthy and must be addressed before the relationship becomes long-term, especially before marriage. Does the person text or call you like a stalker checking on where you are and who you are with? Are they frequently asking “do you miss me?” In order to have a health relationship, you must be able to spend time apart while confident in the stability and dedication of the relationship.