The first key to a great relationship…pick somebody HOTT!
Ah….wrong. Pick based on a set of wise criteria.
We all select a dating and eventual marriage partner based on a set of criteria. We usually don’t think about it that way, but it’s true. Every time. That may involve a healthy process based on a positive relational history reaching back to childhood, strong role models, a godly perspective, and wise counsel or it may be a process hindered by past hurts, poor role models, a perspective shaped by culture, and less than wise counsel. Therefore, make sure you take inventory of the factors that affect how you are likely to pick a partner. I will address that more in depth another day.
For now, I want to turn to the idea that we actually use criteria to pick a partner. Let’s admit that often the first measure we use to pick a partner is appearance. Based on looks we quickly place people into 3 piles –“oh, most definitely”, “not a chance” and “maybe.”
But have you ever noticed how people become more or less attractive when you get to know them personally?
What is that about?
Their external appearance did not change but somehow knowing their personality, character, views, etc. changes how attractive they are to you. So while appearance matters, it is not the ultimate measure of a potential partner. The Bible says it this way;
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
If you want to marry someone who is a great fit with you and has the attributes to build a strong marriage and family, you must identify key attributes in advance in order to actually separate out good candidates from bad ones long before you give your heart away.
For many people, after good looks comes chemistry.
That hard to define “thing” that just gives you a powerful connection. It’s a great part of a relationship but never make a decision based on chemistry alone. You can have chemistry with lots of people you should not marry. And when you marry based on chemistry, you may find that marital struggles kill chemistry which drives you to go find chemistry with someone else rather than work it out. Enjoy the chemistry but move onto the deeper criteria.
That group of attributes that define a person morally or ethically such as honesty, humility, dependability, integrity, patience, selflessness, courage, and compassion. All over the Bible we find God calling us to be men and women who exhibit such attributes as we follow Jesus. And that is the kind of person you want to pick to share your life with. But what about personality?
These are the unique aspects of how a person naturally interacts with people and circumstances. Fun loving or serious. Logical or relational. Introvert or extrovert. Revealer or concealer. Strong willed or passive. Cautious or adventurous. Optimist or pessimist. Talkative or quiet. And the list goes on and on. These are not right and wrongs but there are personality attributes that you may enjoy and which may fit you better. What kind of personality are you looking for? Include that on your list.
Relational Skills >>
I find that many people simply lack the necessary relational skills to build and sustain a healthy relationship. Communication and healthy conflict resolution skills are absolutely vital to a relationship. If a person can’t communicate effectively, especially about important, difficult, or sensitive topics it's a warning flag. Or when faced with a conflict, if a person yells, walks out, completely shuts down, refuses to take responsibility, or otherwise manipulates, this, too, is a warning flag. If they can’t express deeper thoughts or feelings, you may feel distant, unsure of what is going on inside them, confused, and uncertain. That sounds like a problem to me. What do you think? Look for good relational skills that will allow you two to keep growing and to overcome the natural bumps in life.
...the secret sauce in relationships. If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you want to find another person who not only claims to have done the same but who actually lives it out. In fact, because of God’s vision for marriage, He actually commands followers of Jesus to only marry other followers of Jesus. When a couple can build spiritual intimacy through prayer, shared devotion, serving together, reading the bible and so forth, they enter another level of marital intimacy. The spiritual connection energizes their emotional and physical connection. So find someone who truly has faith in Jesus, and lives that faith out through serving, giving, caring, praying, and pursuing God’s word. Many people say they have faith, and maybe they do. I suggest you pick someone who’s faith is obvious by the fruit in their life.
Others to consider: View of money, Priorities in life, Ambition, Family values.
What to do next:
- Ask yourself if you are becoming the kind of person you are looking for. Keep pursuing your own growth with the help of God and godly friends.
- Create a written list of what attributes you would want a spouse to possess. Don’t make it so hard that the only option is Jesus. He is not available! Then take your list and sit with a few wise, godly friends to review and improve it. They can help you pick in the future.
- Check off as many criteria as you can. Here is one of the great keys to successfully picking a partner – check off as many criteria as possible before becoming emotionally attached. Why is that important? Emotional attachment often leads to relational blindness where you minimize or ignore attribute gaps that will eventually make marriage difficult.
Choose wisely my friends!
“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4 (I think we could reverse the characters, too!)
- Pastor Jeff Supp
HomeField is the Marriage and Family Ministry of Calvary Church.
Visit our website page for more info on workshops, pre-marital classes, and
pastoral support that we offer.