From the LYWB team: On Wednesday, Bethany offered encouragement to help singles thrive during wedding season. While we’re on the topic of singleness and relationships, we thought it would be great to pull this solid post from the archives. When you’re dating, it’s important to take red flags seriously. What might some of those look like? Here’s Bethany!
The red flags were there, but I ignored them. I didn’t want to believe that my hours upon hours upon hours of invested time wouldn’t have a payoff.
I didn’t want to have to face the truth.
I didn’t want to be honest with myself.
I didn’t want to think about my future without him.
I didn’t want to imagine being single.
I didn’t want to face starting over.
I didn’t want to deal with the pain of a broken heart.
Looking back, I wish I would have acknowledged the red flags much sooner. Ignoring the warning signs in my relationship was a bad idea. It didn’t save me from heartache; it only caused the situation to drag on, leading to more spent emotions, more time invested, more heartache, and more pain.
Let me encourage you to learn from my mistakes and be wise and honest in your romantic relationships. Please don’t ignore red flags if they pop up. Bravely face the issues head on.
Here are ten red flags to look for in your romantic relationships:
1. Your family isn’t sure about him.
This is a big deal. God gave you your family on purpose and for a purpose. They know you better than anyone else. They live with you and understand your strengths and weaknesses more than your friends do. If your family has major reservations about a guy, take that seriously. Listen to their wisdom.
2. You see lots of talk but little action.
When a guy spits out a lot of big ideas but fails to follow through on them, that’s a big problem. Words should lead to action. If your guy is talking a lot but producing little action, you need to take a step back. You need a man who is more than big talk. You need a man who follows through and lives his faith in Christ.
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation (James 5:12).
3. He conforms to who you want him to be.
“You love overseas missions? I do, too!”
“You’ve always wanted a big family? Same here.”
“You’re passionate about feeding the homeless? I am, too!”
The problem isn’t that you might have similar interests, the problem is that the guy is conforming all of his passions, beliefs, and desires to fit yours. If he is going to be the spiritual leader in his family, he needs to have convictions, passions, and purposes of his own. If he is simply conforming to whatever you are passionate about, you’ve got problems. You need a leader, not a chameleon.
4. He has few personal convictions.
Conviction is a strong belief. It’s being confident that what you believe is true. Conviction leads to passion. If your guy has few personal convictions and doesn’t know what he believes, you need to figure out why. A guy who is seeking after the Lord, studying His Word, and striving to live out Christ-likeness will have convictions. If your guy lacks conviction, there’s a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.
5. He pulls you down spiritually.
Does your guy push you forward or pull you down? God’s Word says,
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25–27).
Does he love you and serve you like Christ or make loving and serving Christ more difficult?
6. He breaks his promises.
Every girl wants to marry a man she can truly trust. When he doesn’t fulfil his promises (big or small), it creates a lack of trust in the relationship. When your man says he is going to do something (i.e. spend time in God’s Word daily, abide by a curfew, work out three times a week, etc.) but regularly breaks his word, that’s a red flag. You need to be able to trust that what your man says he will do will get done.
“Do what you have promised” (Num. 32:24).
7. He has habitual sin issues.
Habitual sins do not disappear in marriage. They may get covered up by dreamy days and fluttery hearts, but they will rear their ugly heads if not confessed and surrendered to Christ. If your guy is stuck in a habitual sin (i.e. porn, lust, anger issues, alcohol and drug abuse, gluttony, etc.), you need to stop and seek outside counsel. Don’t just plunge forward and naively hope the sin will disappear; it won’t.
8. He’s in a rush.
When a guy is in a massive rush to move forward in your relationship, put your antenna up. Stop and ask about the why behind his rush. If there is a good reason, you need to know what that is and you (and your parents or mentors) need to be on board. Don’t let a guy’s passion and speedy mindset overtake you. Take a deep breath and slow down. Time is on your side.
9. He’s overly concerned about himself.
Life isn’t about us; it’s about Christ. If a guy doesn’t have a proper view of Christ, he will be overly concerned with himself. His needs, his wants, his feelings, and his comforts will be his main focus. You and I both need a guy who desires to put Christ first in his life. He won’t be perfect in this area, but he will have the desire to focus on Christ first, others second, and himself last! Ask yourself, do you see this mantra lived out in his life?
“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
10. He has a shallow relationship with God.
The foundation of your guy’s life should be his relationship with God. If he isn’t spending time in the Word (Ps. 119:105), involved in church (Heb. 10:25), seeking outside wisdom (Prov. 12:15) and accountability (James 5:16), you need to take a closer look at his foundation.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matt. 7:24–25).
That’s a wrap!
I’d love to hear from you now. Have you noticed any of these red flags in your past or present relationships? Do you you think any/all of these should be concerns? What red flags would you add to the list?