The key to a healthy dating relationship comes from doing some work before you even go on that first date. There are several key questions and areas that must be explored before one is truly ready for love.
Dr. David Hawkins, “Your Relationship Doctor,” and Director of the Marriage Recovery Center, shares what he considers to be the four key areas to consider in preparation
1. Relationship Readiness
Prior to entering a dating relationship, ask yourself these critical questions to ensure that are really ready for a relationship:
– Do I have an open heart and am I willing to open up my life to another person?
– Have I finished business from your previous relationship?
– What kind of person will be the best compliment to me and my personality?
– What are my values (faith, tradition, family)? What values do I desire in my potential mate
– Am I willing to set aside quality time for another person?
– What is my stance on dating someone that has children from a previous relationship?
– What type of family structure do I desire for my own future family unit?
Asking yourself these important questions will enable you to determine the key qualities and attributes to look for in a potential mate.
In addition to these questions, another great resource that will help you to determine if you’re really ready to enter a serious, biblically based relationship is ChristianMingle’s online Relationship Readiness test. This test provides an assessment of each individual who takes it and helps bring focus on the process of becoming the type person who can form and maintain quality relationships.
2. Know Yourself & What You Want
It is critical that you really know who you are and what you want. Knowing oneself should NOT be confused or labeled as “selfish.”
For example: Are you an introvert? Perhaps you desire to seek out a partner that is extroverted to add some spice to your life! Or, do you love to travel and want someone that is also adventurous and also has a desire for new experiences? Own your likes, dislikes, needs and wants. Know and look for the traits that will best compliment your personality.
3. It Really Is All about Communication
Second to personality compatibility is communication. There is no shortcut to holding your own and choosing to be assertive enough to say what you want and do not want in a relationship – even while you’re on a first date! It is critical that you discover what it is about another person that bothers you and then work through that emotion to ask: Is it them? Is it me?
After you identify your emotion you must acknowledge it, express it and then work through the issue with your partner. Ephesians 4:15 tells us, “Instead, speaking the truth love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is head, that is, Christ.” Be assertive with your emotions do not be afraid to be honest with how you are feeling. This can be easier said than done; however, honest communication is the first step to coming to a resolution and determining if you will be able to share your thoughts and feelings with your potential partner.
4. Seek Out Tools to Prepare
All relationships have that phase where everything seems perfect — and that it will stay perfect. Trouble may not come for months! Unless trouble arises in the first 15 minutes of a date, a time, or season, of trouble is not necessarily a time to retreat, but, rather a time to gear up and put the time and work towards improving your relationship.
Dr. Hawkins shares some books that he has found helpful in his own marital relationship. These books are applicable for anyone that is dating, single or married. These are just a few of the resources that will help you to determine if you are equipped to enter into a relationship.
- Communication: Key to Your Marriage: The True Secret to Marriage, H. Norman Wright
- Love and Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
- The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman
- Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts, Dr. Les & Leslie Parrot