We become like the objects we love. So we must take utmost care where and on whom we set our affections. Just to be clear, God must have our highest affections. As we are captivated by him, enraptured with him, all other things are set in perspective. We see better. Without that, we steer off course, unless we are esconced in a more or less healthy Christian community where others flag us down and redirect us and we’re willing to listen.
That said, whenever I am asked about relationships or a particular relationship this is one of the first things I ask: Do you have any red flags concerning him or her? Does your gut make you unsure of this relationship? If so, I’d pause, reexamine your relationship, or possibly get out of it. Now by red flags, I don’t mean a few little annoying things, things that might irk you. But are there deep character issues, or something that you can’t quite put your finger on, but some sort of insecapable feeling or evidence that makes you question the health of the person or relationship?
Have parents, friends, or others whose opinion you respect expressed doubts about the relationship or its health?
Could you marry this person as he or she is today? If you’re honest with yourself could you? Could you live with them the way they are the rest of your life or ’till death do you part? If not, I would step by and reexamine the relationship. Do so in community, with those you trust. Never have a secretive relationship. Your family and friends should know well the one upon whom you set your affections. If we are in a secretive relationship it shows we have something to hide or are ashamed of.
The mistake a lot of us make is that we dismiss and devalue the negative opinions of those around us regarding our romantic relationships. We say, “They don’t know him or her like I do.” That is true. But they can observe things we might be blind to.
We must be very careful with whom we are entangled. They suffocate us, squeezing the life out of us, or they can entangle us in the holy life of God. It is a life or death thing these relationships. Even a good one is not perfect. But far better not to be in one, than to be in a bad one or one where your affections are taken off of God.
A good relationship helps you to be God-directed and others directed. Even professing Christians may be quite unhealthy. The label Christian cannot be the litmus test for believers considering marriage relationships or even a dating relationship. It must be Christian + health.
(This post of course is directed to those not married).