Things to Communicate on for a Serious Relationship

This was a checklist that I just found tucked into my Bible from a group I attend sometimes that covers a variety of topics. This was obviously on relationships and I can see how this would be worth holding onto.

  1. Who are they?
    1. Health Status
      1. Can be a big deal knowing what you’re dealing with time-wise and financially
    2. Assessment of Personal Attributes
      1. Best and worst traits about yourself, defining experiences, etc.
    3. Dating History
      1. With others and the person you are marrying
      2. Also includes relationship roles and expectations
    4. Sex (Boundaries: will they wait?)
      1. Any history here with other person or anyone else? Abuse? Physical reasons this might not function normally for you?
    5. Friends/Recreation
      1. Types friends, from where (church/work/sports/neighbors), expectations on time spent, prioritizing making new friends vs. current friends, which friends of partner do you get along with/not get along
  2. Where are they going?
    1. List of Goals and Values
      1. Individually and for your relationship/future family
    2. Employment/Career Plans
      1. Natural gifts/expectations for salary/longevity (including if either would stay at home with kids), future schooling
    3. Financial Goals/Priorities
      1. Current savings, month spending debt, giving, bank account status (shared vs. separate), level of insurance, goals for size/expense of house, car, etc.
      2. Full page itemized annual budget sheet
    4. Description of Parents and their Relationships
      1. Like it or not, definitely trend toward emulating roles of your parents
      2. Helps establish your baseline view of “normal” relationship, including responsibilities (e.g. who takes out the trash?)
    5. In-Laws
      1. Similar questions to questions about parents
      2. Also how you saw similarities in partner’s character/personality relative to that of their mom and dad
    6. Kids
      1. Number, in how long, birth vs. adoption, spread out or in a row
      2. Parenting roles
    7. Residence
      1. Location, environment (city/neighborhood/suburbs/country)
      2. Size (short and long term)
  3. How do you see God in them? (Throughlines of JUSTICE and COMPASSION)
    1. Types of Things you Communicate About
      1. Conflict styles, how you convey excitement/anger/worry, how you communicate your stress, etc.
    2. Motivation/Reasoning Behind Decisions
      1. Good indicator of priorities
    3. How They Treat People/How People View Them
      1. Can seer humor, how consistent their behavior is around different kind of people
      2. Can learn about qualities that they have in environment you haven’t had a chance to interact with them in yet
    4. Faith
      1. Frequency for church/devotions/discipleship/service/community?
      2. Why is this valuable to you?
      3. Spiritual gifts/testimony?
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The Dating Game and God

I had been through some challenging things in my previous relationships and so I had taken some time off to heal, and I was also trusting God in the space of dating. I’d never dated in the Christian world. For me dating in my early 20’s involved parties with (sometimes) too much alcohol, friendships with blurred lines, drama, etc. So the IDEA of dating a man who was after God’s heart sounded fantastic.

I focused on God, healing and continuing to try to grow more into the kind of woman God calls us to be. At first I found this confusing but I think the Bible speaks pretty clearly into this and a lot of it actually comes fairly naturally as you enter into relationship (thinking of biblical examples and also Proverbs 31). So I just chased after those things and figured the guys would eventually come. That’s how it used to work. I’ve never really had a problem getting into relationships before.

But they didn’t. That is to say, the Christian guys didn’t show up. 30+ months and not a single Christian guy was interested in me. I have gone on two prayer retreats regarding husbands the last two years, and I felt like the first was more about getting myself aligned with God and where he was calling me, preparing me if you will. But this second one felt full of promise and hope. And maybe I’m expecting too much too soon.

Then there’s this guy. He’s not like most guys I’ve experienced in that I… I can’t say exactly HOW I feel for him but I know I deeply value his thoughts on things and find much to admire and not much with which to find fault. I never considered dating him but people started mentioning his name to me as someone I should consider… I shut them down but as I examined the list of attributes I had discerned from the prayer retreat, he seems to possess most of them. Rather than being helpful I find this even more confusing in that now I realize these traits rest in individuals to whom I remain mostly unnoticed.

Then there’s the guy I met when, out of frustration, I went online. My profile was super God heavy and filtering through the weirdness I get even with that, there’s this guy that matches up in all the worldly ways. He can say some of the church stuff, he says he’s cool with sex waiting until marriage and thinks the fact that I’m selling my house and downsizing to take a lower paying job to better serve the community is cool (even though money is super important to him). But… he didn’t know what a tithe was and it doesn’t appear he goes to church or has any spiritual community. He’s open to the idea of kids but afraid because he doesn’t want to be locked into anything.

So one guy is interested and the other I’m… not a blip on the radar. All the ladies know what I’m talking about, right? But then again, how many times have I been here… entering into relationships that are less that what I need because I think that maybe they’ll get there? But then I ask, who do I think I am? Aren’t I being too picky? I want to have the faith. So I pray. I ask for God to convict hearts or give me a dream, a vision, send a message or a sign. Lead me, Father.

The next day my roommate, who doesn’t know about this saga I’ve created, comes home after traveling for work all week with a bouquet of flowers for me (because she’s a beautiful person) with a verse that came to her for me:

“If God clothes the grass of the field in splendor, will he not much more clothe you? He knows your needs.” Matthew 6:30

And in my heart, I feel myself wanting to be less like Sara who doubted that in her old age God would give her a child (I’m not that old, I’m relating to the doubt, not the age). He knows my needs. I can trust Him. And as soon as the doubt creeps in I will repent, and if I struggle with disbelief I will pray that God help me with my disbelief. God knows my needs, and I want my family to serve Him.