Is the guy you’re dating a guy you could (or should) marry?
Don’t worry, even if you’re not in a relationship yet, it’s not too early to start thinking this through, and it actually might be better to come up with a plan before those warm fuzzy feelings start clouding your judgment. Of course, if you’re already a bit fuzzy-headed, that’s okay too; a late start is better than no start!
Too often when a relationship feels good, we fail to honestly evaluate it. It’s not so much that you need to have some sort of strict check-list. What you need is a plan of action. Spend some time reflecting on who God made you, what’s really important to you, and on how you operate, then decide: here’s what I’m going to do and ask and consider when the time comes.
No “plan” can ensure that you will make perfect decisions or that you won’t get hurt. But a good plan will help you to avoid some obvious pitfalls and it will help you best discern God’s will for you and your future mate.
Everyone’s plan will look a little bit different, but there are some things that should definitely be included:
First and foremost on your list should be: I will pray. In fact, maybe this should really be items 1-3 on your list. If you are serious (or even potentially serious) about a particular relationship, you should be praying about it daily, and not just as a formality. Pray with a clear head and an open heart.
I will not rush it. It is so important to take your time in letting relationships develop and so worth it in the end. My friend Kathy just celebrated her 6-year wedding anniversary to the one and only love of her life. She is 42 and her husband is 48 and this is the first marriage for both of them. They agree wholeheartedly that it was worth the wait!
Taking things slowly can not only help you avoid mistakes, it can vastly improve your first years of marriage. Over time, you get to see how your potential mate really handles life’s ups and downs, something that doesn’t tend to happen in those first few months of dating. There’s really no substitute or short-cut that can help you to know each other as well or build up the same level of trust.
I will seek wise counsel. Even if you are praying daily and committed to taking things slowly, you need to hear from third parties (i.e. people who know you well and who don’t get goose-bumps when they hold your guy’s hand, or smile ridiculously when they hear his name). Talk to your parents, pastor, mentor, and committed Christian friends. Ask them honest and tough questions and be receptive to their answers. It’s a real warning sign if you find yourself not wanting to talk about the relationship with these kinds of people in your life.
Dancing with inspiration? You may also enjoy the inspiring A Real Partner
Diane Paddison has held several executive positions for corporations, including Chief Operating Officer for two Fortune 500 companies, Trammell Crow (now CB Richard Ellis) and ProLogis. She is currently the Chief Strategy Officer at the commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley, and the founder of 4WordWomen, a national nonprofit designed to connect, lead and support young professional Christian women to fulfill their God-given potential.
Click here to learn more about Diane Paddison