So you think you’re in love? What do you do now? Well, the last thing you should do is plunge in into the relationship and fall “head-over-heels” with him or her. Fools do that, and they end up hurt or bitter in the end. Better consider five essential questions first.
- Does this person revere God above all? (Proverbs 31:30) – Being handsome or pretty is an asset. But it can only go skin-deep. Better look at the person’s true character. His or her character is what you are going to interact with in the relationship. If you think being “goody-goody” is all that it takes, well, you will be surprised how such persons can easily turn “ugly” at the slightest provocation. Character is the result of habits that have been formed through the years. They can be changed, but not without grace and intentional effort. Habits make us do things without thinking. It governs all our thoughts and actions, good or bad. Unfortunately those who are not seeking first the kingdom of God are being formed by the world without them being aware of it. Their character is evil and sinful, deep down inside, even though they may look good on the outside. It would only take a temptation or a trial to squeeze it out, and soon you will see the “ugliness” of that person. I don’t mean to say, “Look for a perfect person.” Instead, look for a person whose passion is to know God and obey God. He or she may not be perfect, but he or she is on the right track. If he or she is seeking God above all, then God is at work in that person’s life, and you can be assured of good “fruits” in that person’s life now and in the future.
- Is this person’s sense of identity secure? (John 13:1) – By this, I mean, is this person at peace with himself or herself, knowing who he or she is, and yet at the same time pursuing the right vision for himself or herself. It’s not enough to simply know yourself; you also need to have the right vision for yourself. A lot of people know themselves enough, and yet are not interested in pursuing a better version of themselves. They say things like, “I am what I am, so accept me or leave me.” That’s a sure sign of arrogance and insecurity. It’s better to say, “I think I know who I am right now, but I am so eager to grow and become a better person by God’s grace and with your help.” Of course, there are those who don’t know themselves at all. They are looking for models to imitate. They want to be somebody else. Stay away from them! But for those who think they know themselves, you will see that they know how to set boundaries. They don’t “depend” on people; they are “interdependent” with people. They won’t die if you leave them; they will just be sad for awhile, but they will be okay.
- Is this person a good match for you? (Genesis 2:18) – You have to start with the obvious: personality and preferences. What you are looking for is not someone who is exactly the same as you but someone who can complement you. Your personalities and preferences must match like Lego. If you’re totally different, that might result in constant conflicts. If you’re too the same, that might result in boredom. Strike the balance. Look for someone whose difference with you will add value to your life and experiences, not someone who will constantly give you stress. But you must go deeper than this. Is this person a good match for you in terms of your values, beliefs and convictions. Here you cannot be too different or else the relationship with fail. You must learn to distinguish between aspirations and true values, beliefs and convictions. The former is what you love to talk about; the latter is what you live and die for.
- Does this person have clear goals and do they match yours? (Philippians 3:14) – Never get into a relationship with someone who has no plans for the future; you have no future with that person. That’s why you must seek to have meaningful conversations first with a person before you even consider having a love relationship with that person. Not doing so is suicidal. Now what are they aspiring to be and to do? Do they have a vision frame that can clearly guide their present and future choices? Most people have vague ideas about what they want to become and to do in their lives. They just go with the flow. Even if they do have some goal in mind, it’s often just self-centered and worldly. Or in some cases, what they plan to be and do are totally opposite what you want to be or do in the future. Now, I’m assuming that you also have a clear vision frame. If not, then you have no business going into a relationship right now. Work on that first.
- Is this person trustworthy? (Exodus 18:21) – All life-giving relationships, as opposed to those that bring only “death” into your life, are characterized by two things: honesty and humility. Without these two ingredients, a relationship will not flourish. Honesty means you are always willing to tell the truth, even if it hurts, but with wisdom and timing. Lying is a killer of relationships. When a person has the habit of lying now, you can be sure that he or she will constantly lie in the future. Stay away from such a person. In the same way, humility is life-giving. Humility is the attitude of being willing to hear and accept truth. When you meet a person who can graciously hear and accept truth, you are in the presence of a humble person. It’s not hard for this person to confess, accept blame, and seek forgiveness. The opposites of honesty and humility are fear and pride, both killers of relationships. Stay away from a person, even if he or she is good looking, if they constantly exhibit fear and pride.
So if you think you are “in love” with a person, be careful. Feelings can easily deceive you. What you need is to answer these five questions first, and then if you think you are satisfied with the answers, proceed with faith and caution. Also, don’t do this alone. Look for someone you can trust who can be objective. When you’re “in love” you tend not to think logically. You tend to be biased and blind. So ask someone to examine the facts carefully. Most of all, make decisions based on truth — God’s truth, not yours or anyone else’s.