Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.
Romantic relationship are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. They can also bring some of the most difficult experiences to our lives. We need discernment if we are to seek relationships that are Godly and healthy for us as God intended.
In an article for Relevant titled “8 Ways to Know You’re in a Healthy Relationship” Jade Mazarin provides eight insightful trademarks of a romantic relationship that can help us as we set our relationship standards and evaluate current relationships, and above all, seek to please God with this aspect of our lives.
One important hallmark of a healthy relationship, Mazarin says, is that it feels stable. Many of us have experienced relationships which make us feel like we are riding a roller-coaster: on Sunday we are madly in love and so happy, but then on Monday we are wondering if we should end it. While every relationship will have its ups and downs, a constant cycle of highs and lows can be a red flag.
“There should also be a stability in your own thinking about the relationship,” says Mazarin. God’s love and care for us is constant, and He has created us for relationships that are constant and continually loving as well, though there will of course be times we need to ask forgiveness for the sins we commit toward each other.
Another important thing to consider when evaluating a relationship is if the relationship brings out the best in you. Relationships should have give and take and each person should build the other up and be able to draw strength and inspiration from the other person.
If you spend a lot of time with someone, like it or not, their habits, personality, and tendencies will influence you.
“If you don’t like the person you become around your partner, that is a huge red flag. On the contrary, some personalities will complement yours and help you become a better version of yourself,” says Mazarin.
A relationship can be a great way to experience growth with another person and to challenge yourself, but you should not feel like the other person constantly brings you down or draws you away from God or other important things.
Mazarin also shares the importance of connecting on a deep level in a romantic relationship. It’s easy to fall in love with someone rather superficially due to shared interests and mutual affection, but what will truly make a relationship last and be meaningful is if you can connect on deep issues like your faith, your families, your passions, and the love of sharing ideas with one another. Is the person you’re with someone with whom you can “communicate meaningfully”?
Perhaps most importantly, a healthy relationship should help you to feel close to God and encourage you in your walk with Him. If you find yourself not wanting to talk to God about your relationship or you feel ashamed of it, that may be a red flag. Instead, a healthy relationship will “help you feel closer to Him, be grateful toward Him and even feel a greater desire for Him.”
It is also important to remember that relationships with people, romantic or otherwise, are not meant to fulfill us. Only God can do that. However, fellowship, connection, and affection with others is a wonderful gift from God: one for which it is worth following His guidelines.
Crosswalk.com contributors Les Parrott & Neil Clark Warren remind us that “If you want a healthy relationship, the most important thing you can do is get yourself healthy.”
Before we start looking at a relationship wondering what is in it for us, we must first become someone who is pursuing God in our own lives and cultivating our own healthy habits.
To read the rest of Mazarin’s marks of a healthy relationship, click here.
Photo courtesy: pixabay.com
Publication date: February 10, 2016
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com