Part 3 : The 11 Questions
In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the mindset that many people in the church are walking around with, that says dating is unhealthy for you.
In Part 2 of this series, I exposed 19 common lies that come out of this mindset and gave you truth and scripture to dispel those lies so you can begin to renew your mind.
In Part 3 of this series, I want to answer some questions we get at Moral Revolution all the time: How do I know if I’m ready to date? What are the things I can go after now as a single to prepare me for marriage? What do I need to be looking for in a future spouse? We sat down as a team for three hours and came up with 11 questions we think would be great for you to consider before you jump into dating.
Do I know who I am? This question is one ALL of us are discovering and rediscovering on a daily basis, but as a general overview, here are things you might want to know about yourself:
I know who (whose) I am in Christ. We are sons/daughters of God through Christ. This means we are 100 percent fully loved, accepted, chosen, restored, redeemed and saved. We have everything we need and will never lack anything because we have a loving Father who gives freely to His children.
- I know how to give love to others and how I need to receive love from others.
- I know what I love and what makes me come alive.
- I know what my core values are and practice living by them.
- I know my needs and my wants.
- I know my strengths and weaknesses.
- I know how to dream for my future.
- I am in touch with my heart (aka feelings, emotions, what my heart, mind or body needs).
- I do not tolerate fear in my life but go after it.
Do I know how to communicate? Learning how to and knowing how to communicate what you think, feel and need will be one of the greatest relational skills you acquire. You see, we communicate with our words, facial expressions, tone of voice and even our body language. Learn to become a person who communicates well now. That way when you are hurt, rejected or disappointed, you will know how to get out what you are feeling, and manipulation, guilt trips, self-pity, explosive anger and sarcasm (passive aggressiveness) will not be weapons you reach for when in conflict.
Do I know what my boundaries are and how to keep them? Do you have emotional boundaries? Do you have physical boundaries? Do you have a plan to keep those boundaries in place? Are you willing to respect others’ boundaries? Knowing your limitations (and those of the person you’re dating) is not a bad thing. Boundaries are actually an avenue to “protect and preserve” an individual and/or relationship. Figure out what your boundaries are now and own them. Don’t wait to hear what your girlfriend/boyfriend’s boundaries are and then decide what yours will be.
Do I have a vision for my life and a plan to get there? This question is referring to personal character and growth, dreams and your life calling. Do you know the person you want to be? Do you know the life you want to have? What dreams do you want to live out? Do you know how to accomplish these things … or where to find an answer? If there are certain things that are important to you (where you want to live, the job you want to have, how many children you want, etc.), then it will make dating easier because you know the kind of life partner you need. Even the idea/concept of having vision is something most people don’t have. For example, if you are a very driven person and the person you are dating is not, then that could be an area of conflict down the road. We’re not saying it never works; we’re just giving you a heads-up so you’re not blindsided once the honeymoon is over.
Do I have community in my life? Community is a necessity in our lives. We need people to “do life with.” It’s through relationships that we embrace challenges, grow, receive feedback and experience love. We need most (if not all) of the relational roles filled in our lives. Here are some things to ask yourself about your community:
- Do I have people in my life who know me, and I know them (moms/dads/mentors, brothers/sisters/peers, church fellowship, small groups, home church family, etc.)?
- Am I intentional about who I am doing life with? (Are there people in my life who love me and challenge me?)
- Do I ask for feedback and correction?
- Am I believed in? Championed? Encouraged? Guided to answers?
- Do I receive prayer, encouragement, prophetic words or financial support within my community?
- Do I know how to ask for help?
- Do we know how to have fun with each other? Do we laugh and have adventures together?
What does my relationship with Jesus look like? Do I know him intimately? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you haven’t, would you like to? Click here for the best prayer ever.
If you have, how are you growing in that relationship? Do you spend time with Jesus? Do you believe He speaks to you? Do you listen for what He has to say? Are you dialoguing with Him and doing life with Him on a daily basis? How does He speak to you?
Do I have a teachable spirit, and can I humbly receive feedback (even when it hurts)? This question might be easy to answer now, but think back to times people have confronted you about how you affect them or a group of people. How did you respond? Even though it’s difficult, being a teachable person can cause your personal character to grow and your relationships to develop immensely.
Am I responsible, and do I know how to take care of things? Responsibility: the state or fact of being responsible, answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, control or management. This one is sort of a no-brainer—is your life in order? By “life” we mean, are your thought life, finances, laundry, house, schedule, etc. in order, or are you a hot mess that jumps from one thing to another? Can people depend on you to do what you say you are going to do? Do you show up on time? Can people trust you? This is what we mean by the question, are you responsible?
Do I know how to serve? Do you practice putting others’ needs above your own? Are you a giver or a taker most days? Do you walk into a room and look for ways to serve, or do you expect people to serve you? Within a healthy context, serving another person is one of the highest forms of love. It can sometimes look like compromising to come to an agreement or do something you wouldn’t normally do because it brings life/joy to another person. On many days, serving looks like sacrifice. Note: Please understand that compromising your core values is not serving. Giving and serving one another within relationship is a give-and-take endeavor. One person should not be the only one practicing this concept.
Do I honor and respect people? Honor: high respect, as for worth, merit or rank; to show a courteous regard for. Do you know how to value other people, even when they are different than you? Showing other people kindness, value and love is the mark of a person who looks outside of themselves, or their status, to see other people’s hearts. If someone doesn’t treat others with honor and respect, they most likely will not treat you with honor and respect. Here’s a tip: Watch how they treat their waiter/waitress. This reveals a lot about a person.
Do I know how to forgive people and ask for forgiveness? Do I keep “short accounts?” The area of forgiveness is huge. No one likes to be hurt, and it can be even harder to ask for forgiveness when you’re the one who did the hurting. However, the saying, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger” is a very valuable statement. Forgiveness left unattended is a wide open door for a root of bitterness to spring up, causing people to disconnect physically/emotionally/spiritually/relationally from one another. Forgiveness means restoring the standard to what the relationship was meant to be before the “mistake” was made. It means letting go and not holding the “mistake” over someone’s head. Do you know how to forgive, bless and release people when they have hurt or wronged you? Do you know how to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, will you forgive me?” when you’ve done the hurting?
These are just 11 questions for you to consider and are not by any means the “end all, be all” of being a healthy individual/dater. However, they are important questions to ask yourself and to consider when dating. We are all on a journey, and none of us have life figured out, but the two most important questions you will ever answer in your life are:
• Will I believe in Jesus and commit my life to Him?
• Who will I marry and commit my life to?
Becoming a healthy individual, and not settling for an unhealthy spouse, will create healthy marriages that restore the standard of what family life looks like in the world today. Let’s get to it!
Originally posted at Moral Revolution. Used with permission. Author: Amanda Zentz