So you are dating someone, you really enjoy them and you are start to wonder: Where is this going? Do I want to marry this person? Do I want to commit the rest of my life to this person?
No pressure! Just one of the biggest decisions you will ever make!
How do you know if this is the person you want to marry?
Well, that can be a daunting question, and there are a lot of things that go into that decision. When I was dating, one thing that helped me was to intentionally look at that person’s character.Character is something that is developed over a lifetime. Someone’s character shows me what makes them tick, what they value, and what distinguishes them as a person. It shows me who they are, and, if I’m going to marry them, what I will be getting.
As you are dating here are some ways you can discover someone’s character.
Get to know their story. It’s always fascinating to hear how someone came to be the person they are. How did they grow up? What was their family like? What early experiences shaped them? Have fun learning about them and developing a deep friendship as the foundation of your dating.
See them in multiple settings. Different situations bring out different characteristics of my personality. If you see me at large social event and then see me with my best friends, you will see different attributes of me. Take the time to see what your boyfriend or girlfriend is like in a variety of situations. You may be surprised (for the better or the worse) at what you discover.
Get to know their family and longtime friends. These people have known them way longer than you have! Ask them good questions about the person you are dating. How has _______ changed since you first met them? What do you most enjoy about _______? As you get to know them and your significant other more, you can even ask to hang out with their friends and family alone and ask some more probing questions. If you were me, what would you want me to know about ________? Do you have any concerns about us moving towards marriage?
Ask your friends and family what they think. Now, the caveat to this one is that you have to get them to tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear! So, give them permission to be totally honest and just listen when they offer feedback. The best friends are ones that you can trust to tell you how things really are. Don’t forget, they can’t give you good advice unless you first give them a chance to get to know your significant other well.
Date them through varying seasons. See how they react in times of stress, difficulty or pain. Also, see what life is like with them in times of joy and celebration. Do you trust their character enough to want to go through the highs, lows and even mundane days of life with them?
As you date someone, don’t over analyze their every flaw. You are never going to find a perfect person, but you can find someone that you respect and admire. Look to see what the fruit of their life is. Do they leave peace, joy, and love in their wake? Are they truthful and patient? Do they resemble Jesus? In the places where they don’t, do they respond with humility and change?
Those are the keepers, those that have a clean heart before the Lord and allow the Spirit to produce fruit in their lives. They are out there!
Approach the dating world with humility in your own heart, knowing your own flaws and shortcomings, but looking for someone that wants to follow Jesus with you. Look for someone that will welcome Jesus transforming you both into looking more and more like him.