“Me too,” my other friend said. “Why didn’t someone write the book on how to find the man of your dreams?”
But even with a few scars, we made it through. And now after three of them divorced, leaving me as the only one who is still married to my college sweetheart, we possess a wealth of insight. Most of which comes from experiences lived, episodes endured, and lessons learned in the classroom of pain.
Sign 1: He allows his romance to turn into physical roaming.
And with soothing words, he attempts to invade the boundaries you clearly established more than once. Yet time and time again he insists, whispering he’ll love you forever hoping you’ll give in. Caution: that’s his testosterone talking, not a man of integrity who values and respects you. That’s when Satan goes into action repeating, “You’ll lose him if you don’t give in.” False. You’ll only lose your own integrity and gain the heartache that disobedience brings.
When you speak of your Christian convictions, he agrees with you. When you invite him to visit your church, he goes along. But when you ask him to pray with you, he squirms. Or when discussing deeper issues regarding spirituality, he is ambiguous and distant. Warning: he might be going through the motions to win you over. This red flag needs to fly high reminding you he’s not the spiritual leader, the kind you need should marriage plans appear in the horizon.
You think he’s the one because he “makes you feel so good.” But those around you who know you well and whom you respect give you warnings. They point out flaws you overlook because you’re so much “in love” that you’ve become deaf to their wisdom. But often feelings can be wrong. And emotions can blind one from seeing potential pitfalls.
Sometimes you might mistake humility and patience when he is free with harsh criticism toward you and others. But when experiencing this during dating, it might be a sign of potential emotional abuse only to increase after that wedding day.
Time to assess: Because you are the daughter of the King, you mustn’t endure painful words, insensitive treatment or even rudeness. Expect to be treated with utmost respect because you know who you are—the masterpiece in God’s hands as you declare: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Although money is not the most important aspect of a relationship, it is the number one reason for divorce. And if marriage is a possibility with the man you’re dating, observe his attitude toward money, his spending habits and his commitment to tithe. Each will give you clues on what to expect should you become his wife. If he’s a creature that flings credit cards at every turn, that’s your clue to dig a little deeper. Otherwise, entering into marriage with debt, money issues and financial troubles will surely have you walking down the aisle toward the altar of disaster.
Whether you’re 20 or 60 years old, or whether it’s your first date or you’re about to send out wedding invitations, bring your girlfriend with you. Her name is “wisdom.” God’s wisdom will help you answer these two vital questions: Does this man love God more than he loves me? And do his words, actions, attitude, demeanor, dreams and character reflect this conviction?