…observe how this person treats others such as a waitress or sales clerk. Is he or she rude? If so, this can be an indicator of how they will eventually treat you.

…listen for the ways he or she talks about family

…on the first date, ask significant spiritual questions such as: “What church do you attend?” “Are you in a Bible study?” “When did you come to know Christ as your Savior?” Listen carefully to the answers. Are the responses recited and without passion? Are they vague?  Is your date offended by the questions? Look for God’s warning signs and evidence of the person’s spiritual health. You’ll want to know these things before you are emotionally attached.

…if he or she is divorced, ask a few questions about the divorce. On the initial date this might seem awkward and inappropriate, but guarding your heart is worth it. Determining if he or she hasn’t effectively grieved the death of their marriage is crucial. The person who has completed the hard work of mending a broken heart will understand your need to ask. If your date avoids telling you what broke up the marriage and/or what part they played, RUN…don’t walk. This is a clear sign of an unhealed person.

…have wise friends meet the person you are dating. And then listen when they reveal any detected “red flags.”

…ask God’s protection from anyone who could jeopardize you or your children’s safety. Then obey and escape when He reveals danger. Flee no matter how cute or charming he or she may be!!

…I’ve heard it said that you can know a person’s character and priorities by examining his or her calendar and checkbook. Although demanding a look at the checkbook is a bit aggressive, you can and should closely analyze how your date spends money. Does she mention being in deep debt? Is giving both time and money to God’s kingdom a priority in his life? Does she use things to meet her needs? The use or misuse of money can often reveal a person’s true heart.

…recognize the customary temptation to become “The Brady Bunch”. It was a fake and unrealistic TV show! Do the Brady’s go to court for custody battles? Do Mike’s boys get jealous over the girls trip to Disney with their dad? Do you see them argue over child support payments? Does Marcia ever say, “You are not my real dad”? NO…but that’s the stark reality of step-families.

DON’T:

…ignore the experts. The words “that might apply to others, but not to me” are the flashing hazard signs of a rapidly approaching locomotive headed straight for your heart.

 …place yourself in situations where sexual temptation can be fulfilled. Stay in public.

…use dating to fill the void and fear of loneliness. It often blinds you to the truth and can lead to re-marrying someone you shouldn’t.

…drink alcohol or use drugs. It lessens your inhibitions and allows you to say and do things you normally wouldn’t.

…assume a person you met at church is safe.

…give your address or personal information early in the relationship.

…let a new date into your home. Ladies, don’t EVER get into a car or secluded place with someone you don’t know well.

…ignore the warning signs of an unhealthy person. You and your children are the ones who could pay.

…bash your ex-spouse during the date. It’s a huge turn off.

…introduce your children to your date. Your children shouldn’t meet that person until engagement is on the horizon. If the relationship dies, they will suffer another loss. As the parent it’s your responsibility to shield their heart whenever possible.

…rush into intimate settings that naturally point you to a deeper commitment. Examples might be: weddings, expensive restaurants, and candlelight dinners. Keep the dates light. A movie or play, coffee or lunch, the museum or park, bowling or golf are better choices.