Have you ever made a really dumb choice? Like, a please let me hide in a cave or a ditch or a hole and no one look at me kind of mistake? You have? Me too!
Thankfully, I’ve learned from those mistakes. Let me share the lessons with you so that you can stay out of caves and in the sunshine.
1) Take your time. Microwave relationships are like microwave grilled cheese sandwiches. They don’t take as much time or effort, but they are a lame, soggy, stale substitute for the real thing.
2) Don’t say the “l-word”… yet! You can’t deeply love someone if you don’t know them. Butterflies can dance around your tummy, songs can stick in your head, but if you don’t know a person, you are simply infatuated with their projected self. Until you see their true self and decide to stay, avoid proclamations of love.
3) Watch for warning signs. If your relationship has more red flags than a Spanish bullfight, get out of it. Don’t talk yourself into staying. For example, people who truly respect and honor others will keep their word. Be with someone who is kind, consistent, caring, honest, and confident.
4) Listen. The object of your worship will be the subject of your witness. People talk about what they’re excited about. Be with someone who is excited about Jesus. Watch their relationship with God grow and see how they support you in yours.
5) Be aware of patterns. “If I did it for you, I’ll do it to you.” If they cheated on someone with you, they’ll probably cheat on you with someone else.
6) Build your friendships. Healthy relationships grow in the context of community. If a friend tells you that you are settling and you don’t have legitimate reasons to prove them wrong, that friend is right. Listen to them. Don’t grow a relationship in the dark. Let the light of your community into that space.
7) Don’t stand for objectification. You’re more than your body. So, if someone treats you like a sex toy and not like precious child of God, let them go.
8) Avoid premature marriage conversations. When someone says, “God told me we’re supposed to get married” or something along those lines, and you don’t feel a resounding YES! in your heart, be extremely cautious with how you proceed in the relationship. After choosing Christ, the choice of your marriage partner is the most important decision you will ever make. If you haven’t witnessed their character throughout the seasons of your relationship, those extremely emotional conversations deepen your relationship to an unhealthy level.
9) Prioritize. If your relationship with God falters as a result of dating someone, get out of that relationship. You need to be with someone who is building you up. Don’t run this race with an orangutan on your back.
10) Get help! Everyone has baggage, and everyone needs a little help sometimes. Be willing to go to therapy. Find a mentor or a life coach. Read books that will encourage growth. Your healthy relationships require your health. Make it a priority and watch your entire world change.
Rebeca Wineland is a life coach in Washington, DC. She is loved by God and lives to share that love by helping others grow. You can find her at www.rebeccawineland.com.
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