Are you wondering if the guy you’re dating is the one you should continue dating? Do you have doubts about the relationship? Though the concept of “The One” is not biblical, at some point we have to decide that the person we’re with is the one we choose. God gives us the freedom to choose a spouse from among those who love Him. Once we say “I do,” that choice becomes permanent through covenant.
With decisions this big, a little doubt is normal. But there’s a difference between cold feet and clear signs that the guy you’re dating isn’t the one you should choose. Here are three criteria that should encourage further thought, prayer and discussion before you jump into the long term.
1. You are unequally yoked spiritually.
The term “equally yoked” is based on 2 Corinthians 6:14, in which the apostle Paul warns against forming intimate relationships with people who don’t share a love for Christ. This was not because Paul fancied himself the “fun police.” As articulated in this post on Project Inspired, unequal yoking is for the protection of both people involved. The follower of Christ cannot pursue the Lord effectively when “salvation dating” another person, and the unsaved person can rarely make an unbiased decision to follow Christ when entrenched in an unequal relationship.
God is clear about these kinds of relationships in Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments. Dating an unbeliever is not God’s will for you. This is a clear sign that this guy is not the one for you. If he comes to Christ on his own time and one day comes back around—wonderful! But it is not your job to save him.
2. You maintain the relationship out of guilt.
Another sign that a guy may not be the one for you is if you’re maintaining the relationship out of guilt. You feel bad for him and don’t want to hurt him, so you continue the relationship much longer than intended. But guilt is no foundation for a positive relationship! It would be far better to be honest and hurt some feelings than to continue a relationship founded on a lie.
Tell him the truth. Be honest with yourself about your own motives and reasons for being in the relationship. Don’t be afraid to be single rather than be in a relationship for the wrong reasons.
3. He has a significant character issue.
Does your boyfriend struggle with anger? Does he lie to you? Does he continually fail to make an effort in the relationship? Each of these things points to a deeper spiritual problem at play in his life. Though Christians are still imperfect people who need grace and growth, when someone’s character continually takes a bent to selfishness and dishonor, it’s time to step back from that relationship until they get the counseling, accountability and growth they need.
If the guy you’re dating is not pursuing victory over his weak areas, what makes you think he will ever change? He may say you inspire him to be a better man, but unless he actually becomes a better man, that inspiration is nothing more than flattery.
It’s hard to end a relationship. Breaking up is always a tough decision. But for your own spiritual growth and protection, you sometimes have to make those hard decisions out of obedience to God. It’s difficult, but it’s worth it. Pray about the relationship and ask for wisdom to make the right decision in the right time.