You’ve been on a few dates and you are beginning to ask yourself, “is this someone I want to become involved with?” How do you know when it feels right? Or, maybe you’re not even asking yourself that question – you’re ready to be committed – you just want to make sure you’re not “missing” any red flags. In either case, congratulations! You have taken the first step towards a healthy marriage, because you are discerning with proper consideration, and hopefully prayer, about who to begin dating.
There are many things to consider. Falling in “like” or “love” is an amazing experience – our brain is literally on bonding drugs! When it feels right, it’s important to make sure you have the tools to see through the magic dust of attraction and ensure a pathway towards a healthy relationship. A few tips to help you on your journey:
1. Are you drawn to this person because of physical chemistry?
Great! You don’t want to be with someone who you are not attracted to! But, you want to make sure that the “chemical” bond isn’t the only reason you are attracted to this person. Is this someone you would be friends with? Does he or she treat you as well or better than a good friend would? Do you respect this person? Do you see signs of character strength?
2. Be sure to take the time to learn about who this person is in many different aspects: friendships, family, how they behave when under stress.
If you grow to truly care for this person, it will be demanding. Commitment calls for patience in the face of anger, humility in times of conflict, and kindness when confronted with mistakes. Does this person have those abilities?
3. Do you want to know if the Holy Spirit is present your relationship?
For a great litmus test, check out Galatians 5:19-22. This verse tells us about the fruits of the Spirit as compared to the fruits of the flesh. Which lists describes your interest more? Is this person drawing you closer to God and his Church, or farther away?
4. Authenticity is key.
This means first and foremost, be honest with yourself. Know what you are thinking and feeling. Take an inventory of your maturity and ask yourself if you are moving forward for the right reasons. If the answer is yes, then make sure you’re involved with someone who can offer the same type of authenticity. Is this person honest in their interactions with you? Honest about past relationships? Honest about their faith? The Biblical principle to be “of the light” applies here. Let there be no hidden darkness about you or your partner.
When it feels right, moving forward can be exciting and exhilarating, especially if we’ve been waiting to meet someone. Dating should always include prayer and discernment for both parties. If one day this relationship moves into marriage, it can be incredibly rewarding, and tough, so make sure you’re on a solid foundation based in faith and character. Talk to friends, family, a Christian counselor, or a trusted clergy member. Do they see things the same way? And as always, be sure to invite Christ into your heart to help guide you on your journey!