The Dater’s Checklist for a Healthy Relationship
How can you tell if your relationship is on the right track?
The following points can help you start to see your dating life a little more clearly.
1. Invite God into Your Decision-making
By far, this is the most important step in a dating or pre-dating relationship. So many of us fall into the hole of thinking it’s up to us—us alone—to make wise decisions. We don’t realize that our dating lives are opportunities to learn who God is at a deeper level.
God will always be interested in helping you. It doesn’t matter what your track record looks like or whether or not you feel you deserve His divine assistance. When you ask Him for help, He will gladly give it to you (Jas. 1:5).
Invite God into your dating life.
Ask Him to give you wisdom so you know what to do.
Expect Him to move on your behalf.
2. Make Sure You Share Similar Life Goals
Do you and your partner share similar goals?
I don’t mean similar interests. Sharing some of the same interests is good—but when a couple has similar goals, their lives align with each other much more easily. Sharing the same goals allows the two of you to become a stronger team.
How would you answer the following questions?
Do you both want children? If so, do you agree about the number?
Do you have the same ideas about work? What about gender roles in the home?
What are your ideas about helping in the community?
How do the two of you want to expand God’s Kingdom?
Do you share the same financial priorities? Does your partner have financial self-control and live within their means?
3. Practice Vulnerability, Trust, and Respect
Have you ever heard someone talk about a change in intimacy?
“He just stopped opening up to me. I don’t know what happened.”
When a person is open and vulnerable with their partner, the partner can see it, and it helps to scrape off some of the tension that can build up in a relationship over time. Vulnerability helps both people realize the other person isn’t trying to hide anything.
Similarly, when a person shuts the door to their inner thoughts and refuses to let their partner see who they really are, they close down all possibility of true intimacy. That, too, can be felt by the other person; the partner starts thinking something must be wrong. And they’re probably right.
Are you able to share who you really are with your partner? Why or why not?
Do you trust your partner? Why or why not? When you trust one another, you don’t have to hide who you are or be self-protective. The result is freedom and a deep happiness.
Are you able to respect your partner? Does your partner respect you? When partners feel admiration for each other, their relationship is marked by respect and honor. They treat each other with dignity and kindness.
4. Accept Your Partner Just as They Are
Probably all of us have heard stories of how a dating relationship changed someone. The person came to the Lord, gave up a destructive lifestyle, willingly laid down something that was consuming them, etc.—just so they could be with a specific person.
But it’s important to remember that in a dating relationship, only God can change a person’s heart. We frequently try to shoulder that responsibility ourselves, and it doesn’t work that way.
Are you happy with your partner—today, just the way they are?
Do you sincerely think they’re pretty darn wonderful?
5. Pay Attention to Red Flags
A lot of people have an unhealthy mindset when they jump into a new relationship:
“It doesn’t matter if he has anger issues.” Or “It doesn’t matter if she won’t let people in—it will be different with me.”
So not true. If you see a red flag with someone, you’re seeing it for a reason. That flag won’t automatically disappear just because you say, “I do.” You’re going to have to deal with that person’s issue—maybe for years. Marriage is not a guarantee of self-improvement.
Are there any points of concern you’ve noticed about this other person? If there are, go talk to someone you trust—preferably an older married individual who has a lot of wisdom about what a healthy relationship looks like.
6. Talk About Your Faith with Each Other
Many people call themselves Christians because of the way they were raised, but they have no idea what it actually means to follow Jesus. They haven’t experienced His love for themselves, and they don’t think to take their questions and requests to Him.
Obviously, all of us are growing in our relationship with God. We’re learning more and more, and we’re at different “stages” of maturity. However, if we don’t see the desire for intimacy with God in someone, a long-term path with that person will be harder.
It’s important for both of you to believe that God is bringing you together. This belief wraps you in peace and helps you keep going. Even if everything else falls apart, you will know you have a solid foundation in the one area that will keep you together.
How important is it to you that you and your future spouse believe the same things about God?
Do you feel comfortable praying with the person you’re dating? Why or why not?
How are you praying for your partner? What is on your heart for them?
What do you feel God has told you about your partner? This could be a Scripture, an impression, a thought—maybe even just a feeling. God likes to talk in a variety of ways!
7. Be Willing to Ask for Help
Anytime you don’t know what to do—whether it’s a relationship problem, an issue at work, or anything else—two things are important:
Ask God for help.
Ask other people for help.
In all likelihood, there’s a lot of wisdom around you in the form of parents, grandparents, counselors, teachers, life coaches, pastors, etc. God moves people into our lives for a reason, and we can trust Him to bring us the help we need.
Interested in reading more? Here are a few other articles on related topics:
For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.