This page links to a few thoughts that might be relevant for people who are dating someone, or in a relationship:
If you are currently dating someone, or in a relationship, then I would strongly urge you to keep your head on your shoulders, and not get carried away with emotion or excitement.
I know that it can be so tempting to want a relationship to work out, especially if you are a little older, or if you have not had a relationship for a long time. However, if the relationship is going to work out, then I would ask you to carefully consider:
1. Whether this person truly would be a good match for you
2. Whether you are building your relationship on a great foundation
Questions you need to ask yourself – very carefully:
1. Is this person truly a great match for me:
– Do I truly know him or her?
This is one of my pet theories: It is well recognised that it takes 2 full years to truly get to know someone’s character. For that reason, I advise everyone to leave a full two years of frequent, close interaction in person before considering someone romantically. So online interaction does not count!
-Does he or she TRULY have great character?
I might sound as if I am being overly-fussy about the issue of character. Yes, no-one’s perfect. Yet, I believe that pursuit of Christlikeness, and with that, excellent character, is the single factor that distinguishes marriages “made in heaven” from other marriages.
Perhaps surprisingly, I actually think that a committed ongoing pursuit of excellent character is more important than someone who is already “all there”. I believe that for someone to remain excellent, they must also continue to strive forward in pursuing excellent character as hard as they can, no matter what level they might already have achieved.
-Are we truly friends?
Do we truly have shared values? Have we built up trust in one another? Do we truly care about one another? That is, would I be able to pour forth love into his/her life on a one-sided basis, even if/when he or she is completely ignoring me – or would I angrily walk away? Would he/she do the same for me?
2. Are we going about this the right way?
I believe that “dating” as normally understood: a succession of fun dates is a poor foundation for a future relationship, and a poor way of assessing someone’s character.
An alternative I would suggest would be to carefully and deliberately build a foundation of communication, friendship and prayer.
A further question to ask: Are we carelessly putting ourselves into the way of sexual temptation?
If you are currently not approaching your relationship the best way, then you can always try to embrace a better approach for your relationship. However, if your partner is not truly striving as hard as they can after great character or you do not truly have shared values, I would end the relationship. Yes, you can pray regarding “great character”. However, the amount of prayer that would be required to make a significant difference in this is so great, that I would advise that it is probably wisest to walk away altogether. I also think that it would be wisest to pray for someone in this way when you are not trying to build an intimate relationship with them. So I guess you could break up, carry on praying, then a few months or years later, be pleasantly surprised to discover that their character has now matured sufficiently, and you are both still single…
Some links to the issues mentioned above:
Two Years: The definitive post about the Two Year thing
More posts about two years:
Striving after Christlike Character:
Why it is important to keep striving after character, even though “no-one’s perfect”
What is friendship?
More thoughts on friendship
A post explaining what I mean by “dating”, and why I generally don’t think it is a great idea: read it here
More posts on Dating
Some thoughts on communication:
Posts about prayer:
Different posts on Sexual Purity:
Other things you might like to consider:
Excellence in singleness