When you find yourself single again, it’s healthy to think about what went wrong. After all, thoughtful reflection can help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over in your relationships.

One of the challenging things about breakups is realizing they may have occurred due to things that weren’t really important in the long run. So, how can we navigate our thoughts to focus the holy and good things that God wants us to see rather than petty, superficial things? Use this list to help you avoid focusing on the wrong things in your future relationship. When you let these things go, your future relationships will thrive and be more God-honoring.

1. Physical Appearance

Don’t worry about how they dress or look. We all know appearances can be deceiving, so don’t let it blind you to someone truly wonderful. This is especially true when online dating; if you meet several times and just don’t have any spark, that’s okay. But keep in mind that photos aren’t a good gauge for whether you have chemistry with someone.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  —1 Samuel 16:7

We can’t make their outer appearance a defining factor; I reiterate this because it happens time and time again in so many people’s lives. “Oh, he’s not my type.” “Oh, she’s not that cute.” Appearances have nothing to do with one’s heart. Even Jesus was said to not be the most attractive man, but my goodness, did He have the most beautiful of hearts.

“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”  —Isaiah 53:2

2. Career

Don’t focus on their career status. Is it okay to consider job status and ambition when dating? Yes, but you shouldn’t see it as a determining factor. If someone is still in college, consider how hardworking they are to achieve their goals before dismissing them because they don’t have a paying job. Likewise, someone may not be a high-income earner, but perhaps it’s because they’ve chosen a career where they can help others or put their unique, God-given skills to their best use.

3. Dating Past

Don’t let their past dictate their future with you. If someone has been sexually active in the past, and perhaps you haven’t been, allow yourself to show the same grace if you so choose to be with that person. Don’t hold it against them, don’t focus on it and don’t consider yourself holier because of it.

God doesn’t throw your past in your face. If they have asked for forgiveness, have broken the chains of bondage and have lived a pure life since, then give them a chance if you so desire. What matters most is whether your values align now; their misguided values from the past can be forgiven.

4. Family

Don’t let someone’s family be a determining factor if you’ll date that person or not. They may have their own bushel of problems, but you’re not dating their family. Even if they aren’t perfect, they can be people to love, and if you want a future with this person, you will be a part of their family. Learn to love and accept them as is, and focus instead on how your partner treats you. After all, you wouldn’t want your family’s bad behavior to reflect poorly on you, right?

God desires to give you the best, so even if you look past these exterior issues, don’t settle for the wrong person. Don’t change your values or lower them. Trust in our faithful God that He knows what He is doing with your love life. Allow Him to heal the crevices of your broken past so that you can bring yourself wholly, fully and joyously before someone else in your future.

You may also be interested in How I Fought Dating Frustration & Found Love

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