How healthy is your dating relationship?
Dating is potentially an exciting journey, in which we will encounter beautiful scenery, fun experiences, winding roads and some hazardous conditions. In our excitement we could miss some signs along the way and might need to re-route. So how can we travel safely and still enjoy the trip? As a professional counsellor I have worked with dozens of single men and women from diverse backgrounds. There is much confusion regarding characteristics of a safe companion. What are the signs of healthy or unhealthy behaviour in a dating relationship? Many people have found this recommendation from psychologist Dr Henry Cloud helpful; Summarized by Traffic Light signals: Red ~ Yellow ~ Green
RED Light = STOP
Based on Psalm 101:2-8. Major imperfections you cannot and should not live with:
- Vile things
- Pride & haughtiness
What if you encounter some Red Light traits in your date, or even within yourself?
1. Speak with a trusted leader or therapist so you’re not isolated with the problem. This provides you with support and accountability as you plan and implement your separation from the destructive behaviour. Whether in your dating partner or within yourself.
2. If you find that this type of attraction has been a pattern for you in relationships, Please work through the underlying causes with a qualified counsellor. When we fail to learn from our history we are doomed to repeat it. God has great plans for your life. (Jeremiah 29:11)
3. A person with these strong traits are not ready for relationship because their issues block their ability to treat others well.”Dear friends let us continue to love one another, for love is from God”
4. If your date has these characteristics learn to confront these issues promptly. It’s kinder to you both to release them to develop their character. It’s only safe to trust someone when there is ownership of their character traits and significant evidence of lasting change.
YELLOW Light = SLOW
These traits in small doses will annoy you but won’t kill you or the relationship. Which of these bother you? Could you learn to live with them?
- Difficulty opening up and being direct about feelings and hurts
- Tendency towards wanting to appear strong, and to avoid vulnerability
- Some attempts to control
- Avoidance of closeness
- Mild forms of other things, eg lack of self discipline
GREEN Light = GO
Traits of someone who has the ability to work on their minor imperfections:
- A relationship with God
- Ability to see where one is wrong
- Ability to be honest
- Ability to see the effects of the wrong on the other person
- Ability to empathize with those effects and be truly sorry for the other person, as opposed to just feeling guilty for themselves
- Motivation to repent and change
- Ability to sustain repentance and change
- Commitment to a path of growth, and the involvement of other people in the growth process
- Ability to receive and utilize forgiveness
If someone demonstrates many of these traits, they are an imperfect person who might be worth taking a chance on. Ask yourself, “Does my date exhibit these qualities?” “What can I do to develop more of these traits within myself?” Remember that whilst nobody is perfect and we will never have the perfect relationship. God created us to be loved by Himself and others. Let’s enjoy the journey with our eyes and ears open.
Janet will be discussing this topic LIVE on Premier Christian Radio
SUNDAY 21st JULY at 10.00pm Midnight
Psalm 101:2-8(NIV) New International Bible
2I will be careful to lead a blameless life – when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart.
3I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.
4The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil. 5Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate. 6My eyes will be on the faithful in the land that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. 7No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. 8Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the Lord.
Dr Henry Cloud: Boundaries & Dating p.91> Zondervan Publishing