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Christian Dating & Singles Advice

Red Flags in a Relationship

  • Kris Swiatocho, Cliff Young
  • 2013 10 Oct
  • COMMENTS
Red Flags in a Relationship

EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: What should I do if the person I am interested in, or currently dating, seems to barely make an effort? They will text, but not call. They talk about the future, but won't make time for me right now. Or what if their walk with Christ seems on-and-off? Are these red flags? Or could this person still be "the one," and I just need to grow in patience?

HE SAID:

Let me pose this question to you, “What if a close friend of yours came to you and asked the same thing? What would be your advice to them?”

In a new relationship, especially in a dating situation, it is customary to “put your best foot forward,” doing the most possible to come across looking your absolute best. It can sometimes take months or even years before each trust and feels comfortable enough to let down the walls and reveal their faults to each other.

I know there are some who don’t want to be “gushed” over, who like to text and don’t like talking on the phone, who are dreamers (with amazing ideas for the future) and in a positive compatible relationship. To them, these are not red flags; however others may consider these actions at a certain point in the relationship to be a sign of indifference and lack of true interest.

With that being said, suppose this is the best it gets. Are you willing to accept a mate who "barely makes an effort," won’t call, won’t make time for you, and is "on-and-off" with Christ? Or will this type of behavior cause you discontent and unhappiness in the years to come?

I fully understand we all go through seasons of varied priorities, distractedness and “multi-focuses,” and people can change, but for this person to do so at the outset of a relationship shows a lack of respect for your feelings.

Unlike Jerry Maguire’s mantra of “You complete me,” a relationship (in my eyes) brings two complete people together who would not only want to be a better person for themselves, but also for the one they are with. Otherwise, why would God want us to be in union with another?

It may be time to clearly determine for yourself (if you haven't already), “What am I looking for and expecting in a relationship?”

SHE SAID:

Not only are those red flags, but they are waving at full mast.

I know, I know, there don’t seem to be enough "fish" out there. I know you think maybe God wants you to help them grow in Christ. That maybe in time they will change. That in time, they will realize you are the one and get serious. But if you have to keep telling yourself those things, it's probably time for you to get serious and let this person go.

Please know I sympathize with you; I have been in the same place. I have talked myself into believing their walk with God, though inconsistent, was enough. At least they came to church most of the time. At least they say they know the Lord...even if their walk, their choices, don't always match up. At least sometimes they are interested in me.

But at the end of the day, I would not want to be in a relationship with someone who is going to lead me away from Christ. You've heard the old saying: it’s easier for someone to pull you away from Christ than it is to pull them up to Christ. Following the Lord is hard enough without having to pray and beg someone else to as well. I am not talking about supporting or encouraging or even holding accountable those we are dating or married to. I am simply saying that if their heart isn't there to begin with, if their walk, their obedience, their faithfulness is not mature yet (and yours is) then they could pull you away over time. And to be honest, I would rather be single the rest of my life (with a ton of great friends and family) than be married to the wrong person.

So my advice: care about this person as a friend only, allowing God to change them. If after some time you see them maturing, you see them grow, then perhaps there will be a time for you together. But until then, keep those boundaries and do not settle for anything except God's best. Value yourself like God does.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:7-9).

HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of three books.

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.

GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.

Publication date: October 24, 2013