One of my least favorite sayings in the world is “follow your heart.” Let’s be real, your heart can send you in some very stupid directions. While there are few experiences quite as overwhelming, awesome, and irrational as falling in love, this experience can also blind us to some big problems. I know this from experience, people! This is a list of questions to try to get you to think practically as well as romantically about any possible relationship. They’re loosely organized by the most superficial and least important to the most important. If your answer to more than a couple of these questions is no, you might want to rethink things. There are ten all together, but I had a lot to say about them, so I’m dividing them up into two parts, five questions in each part (part 2 will come out next Monday). This is written from a female perspective, but I think would also apply to males as well. Here are the questions:
- Would I Marry Him?
Maybe this should be a no brainer, but sadly, I think it needs to be said. If you could never see yourself marrying a particular person, don’t date them. Your relationship is doomed to be a failure from the start. The whole point of a dating relationship (or at least it should be for Christians who are past high school at least) is to find out if you think the two of you would make compatible spouses. If there’s anything glaring that stands in the way of wanting to marry them, just pass. You don’t have to be totally sold that you want to marry a potential boyfriend, but you should be totally sold at the beginning of the relationship that there isn’t anything that would definitely keep you from marrying him. As soon as you find something that you can’t work out between you or that one or both of you is not willing to compromise on, that’s a sign you should break up.
- Do I Think He’s Funny?
I had a professor in college tell me once that humor is one of the most important things to look for in a spouse. If you’re not with someone that makes you laugh, you’re missing out on something in life. I’m not saying that a potential partner needs to be the resident class clown or an aspiring stand up comedian, but they should at least not annoy you with their sense of humor (made this mistake with my first boyfriend, so I’m speaking from experience here). One of the things that first attracted me to my now husband is his slightly snarky, under the breath, dead pan, hilarious remarks. Since we both have similar senses of humor, it means that no matter what’s happening, we can laugh at it together. There are going to be a lot of messy, uncomfortable things in every life. If you can laugh at them together, it makes those things a little more bearable.
- Do I Like/Get Along with His Family?
This is perhaps something that we often overlook. No person is an island, floating around completely unattached to anything or anyone. We all grew up in families and our families continue to have an influence on us throughout our lives. If you marry someone, generally, you’re going to end up spending a good amount of time over the years with his family. Also, the personality traits and characteristics of his family members are going to be present somehow in him. He is related to them after all. If you can’t stand his family (or don’t respect them or like them), you might not be able to stand him in the long run. Those family traits are going to come out eventually.
I realize that there are some situations where maybe a potential good partner has a really bad family life. You may never be able to like those people, and that’s okay. There are extenuating circumstances. Even in a good family, there are flaws. Regardless of whether your families are good or bad, make sure that both of you are aware of what the issues are in both of your families so you can be on guard against similar things happening in your own one day. If either of you aren’t willing to point out the weaknesses in your own upbringing, that’s a warning sign.
- Do Your Friends Like Him?
If your friends don’t like your potential boyfriend or husband, this could be a huge warning sign. Friends look out for each other and want the best for one another. If your friends are less than enthused about your boyfriend, maybe they’re seeing something in him that you’re missing. Often in the midst of an emotional high, we can overlook personality traits that might still be a glaring eyesore to others. If you’re experiencing this, ask your friends why they don’t like him and actually listen without getting defensive. You might learn something.
This is assuming two things: 1) Your friends actually have your best interest at heart and have no ulterior motives and 2) your friends actually know the guy. If your friend is simply jealous that you’re dating someone and she’s not, maybe that’s not the best judge. If your friends hate your boyfriend but have only spent 5 minutes with him, that’s maybe not the best gage either. However, if you have loyal friends who have actually spent some time with your potential boyfriend or husband and are getting bad vibes or anything of that nature (especially if it’s more than one friend), you might want to reconsider.
- Do I Respect Him?
This is so important. In general, guys value respect over affection. If you don’t respect a guy or can’t list a few specific things that you respect about him, don’t date or marry them. This doesn’t mean you have to look at them through rose colored glasses or see them as a super hero, it just means there have to be things about their personality, work ethic, spiritual walk, family life, etc. that you admire and wish to immolate. If you think you’re better at everything then he is and there’s nothing you can learn from him, either you’re dealing with a pride issue (your problem) or your sights are set too low (his problem, and it becomes yours if you date or marry him).
Do you agree or disagree with these questions? Have you had experiences where you ignored them and it hurt or examples of how these things have worked well in your relationship? Share below if you do. I’m always eager to hear from others.