My advice for my friend was simple. I told her the best thing to do is to “hold her cards”… to be more reserved about her personal convictions at the start of the relationship. This is not the same as game-playing, but intentionally hanging back in the early stages of a relationship for a long-term greater good.

By strategically holding back for a time, you will find out what the other person is all about by his or her own admission of words and behavior. If you start a relationship with a person because he or she has presented himself or herself to be a God-fearing individual, wait quietly and see how he or she proves this to you without knowing what’s already in your heart.

Gals, if a guy paces the relationship in a God-honoring manner without your input or suggestions, then you’ll know his heart is in the right place even without your influence. But if from the beginning he acts like any other worldly guy you’ve dated and it’s all about him and his fleshly desires, then no need to waste any more of your time with him.

Guys, step up to the plate and be the spiritual leader in your relationships. Draw the lines of your own personal values and then lead the relationship that way. If the woman presents herself as a godly woman, watch and see if her actions match up. Does she respond well to your leading? Does she encourage your purity by the way she dresses, acts, and talks? Does she have her own faith convictions?

I’m convinced that one of the greatest barometers of a single’s walk with God is his or her commitment to purity. If they are willing to forego their own lusts and desires for the greater good of loving God and others more than they love themselves, I believe that reveals a deeper, teachable, life-changing commitment to God. If you are that kind of person yourself, that is the kind of person you should wait for in a mate.

So think about it. If you already know you have strong convictions and standards for yourself, and you desire your future mate to share them as well, there is so much to be gained by holding yourself back a little to observe. You won’t have to wait long in silence before the other person’s actions begin shouting their answers. If you haven’t said too much, the other person won’t know what you are watching for … they won’t be able to be as misleading about themselves. There is much power in not playing your cards too soon.

Julie Ferwerda writes for Christian magazines and websites, keeps up with two teenage daughters and enjoys life in central Wyoming with her husband, Steve. She is the author of the book for singles, The Perfect Fit: piecing together true love.  For more info, please visit

**This article first published on January 30, 2008.