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"Are We Right for Each Other?"

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The minister sat down and looked at us inquiringly. We gazed giddily back at him, hands clasped tightly under the table. We had been dating for three months. It wasn't too early for a little “pre-premarital counseling,” was it? We were smitten, and we knew it.

When hopes are high and hormones are pulsing, it's easy for logic and sound decision making to get lost in all the excitement. We were brimming with questions. Are we right for each other? How can we think critically and objectively without our higher brain functions being in control? How do we know if this is a healthy relationship?

Answers weren't coming fast enough. But one thing was clear: Our dating had become serious, and we needed to ask the right questions to get the right answers.

What are the right questions? They're the ones with clear-cut answers that don't change, regardless of how “in love” you are. With the help of our parents, pastors, books and married friends, we discovered what questions to ask to gauge the godly potential of our relationship. We hope they will prove useful tools for you too.

1. Are you best friends or becoming best friends?

Okay, great, you love this person. But would you enjoy being around each other if you were only friends? Couples that thrive are made up of great friends who make the decision daily to delight in and serve one another, knowing each other's faults as well as strengths. Spending the rest of your life with someone means you're going to be stuck with each other even when you are moody or stressed. You're going to have to choose to love one another even at those moments when you don't really like each other. After all, marriage isn't a long date—it's a lifelong friendship (Proverbs 17:17 Proverbs 17:17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
American King James Version×
; Song Of Solomon 5:16 Song Of Solomon 5:16His mouth is most sweet: yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
).

2. What do you talk about?

Your dialogue reflects the state of your relationship. Aside from rhapsodizing about how great you are together and texting each other sweet nothings, what topics do you both find interesting? Are most of your conversations superficial, or do you often discuss the deeper aspects of life? Remember that after decades of togetherness, all you may have left to do is talk (Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
American King James Version×
; Ephesians 4:29 Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.
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).

3. Does the other person have a few good friends or at least one very close friend?

As the saying goes, “Show me a man's friends, and I will show you the man.” If the person can't maintain friendships, what makes you think he or she can maintain a relationship? If your love interest is a long-term loner, ask yourself why. There may be a sensible reason, such as frequent moves or other circumstances that prevent lasting friendships. However, getting to know the other person's friends is always a wise move (Proverbs 13:20 Proverbs 13:20He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
American King James Version×
; 22:11).

4. How does this person treat others?

How the person treats you isn't necessarily evidence of good character. Pay attention to how he or she treats family members and others. Do people want to be around him or her? How does the person treat his or her parents? These are all good indicators of how he or she will eventually treat you (Philippians 2:3-4 Philippians 2:3-4 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
American King James Version×
; Romans 12:10 Romans 12:10Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
American King James Version×
).

5. How do you deal with conflict?

If you want to make yourself miserable, marry someone you're constantly fighting with. While arguments are inevitable, how the two of you deal with conflict can make or break an otherwise good relationship. You're going to need to find a constructive way of handling strife—one that works for you. If you want to learn how you deal with conflict, find some simple projects to work on together (like writing a magazine article!). You may be surprised at how soon the opportunity to deal constructively with conflict presents itself (Proverbs 19:11 Proverbs 19:11The discretion of a man defers his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
American King James Version×
; James 1:19 James 1:19Why, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
American King James Version×
).

6. Do you share the same values?

Two people who don't share the same values will inevitably grow apart over time. Putting God first in your relationship ensures that you are working toward the same goals. Begin with the end in mind, and you are more likely to follow the same path to get there. Understanding and living by God's laws and His plan must be the foundation of a lasting partnership (Amos 3:3 Amos 3:3Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 14 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel?
American King James Version×
).

7. Is the person happy?

If you weren't happy before you got together, you probably aren't going to be happy while you're together in the long run. Everyone is ecstatic at the beginning of a relationship, but people eventually return to their typical level of happiness or gloom after the hormones subside. Inaccurate or poor self-image problems are a big roadblock to healthy, happy relationships. Misery is contagious. If the person you're dating was unhappy before meeting you, don't expect him or her to be joy and sunshine after the chemical high wears off (Proverbs 15:13 Proverbs 15:13A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
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, 15).

8. What do people whom you respect think of your relationship?

This person is absolutely spectacular, right? Why don't you compare notes with people who aren't infatuated with him or her? Close friends know you, in some ways, better than you know yourself. An objective observer is able to see potential problems you may have overlooked or dismissed as trivial. These people aren't out to ruin your life. Take their opinions seriously (Proverbs 15:22 Proverbs 15:22Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
American King James Version×
; 12:15).

9. Are you making good use of the time you spend together?

You should be doing more than just absorbing oxygen together. Hollow distractions can easily supplant good communication. Healthy relationships are constantly maturing because time is being spent learning more about one another and encouraging each other. If a relationship isn't growing, it is regressing. Spending time wisely building each other up will keep things fresh and exciting (Romans 14:19 Romans 14:19Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 3:13 Hebrews 3:13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
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).

10. What fruits has your relationship yielded?

In the end, you can evaluate a relationship by what it produces. What character traits have you gained because of your friendship with this person? What impact has your relationship had on others? A healthy relationship involves two people who both challenge and sharpen each other, positively affecting themselves as well as the people with whom they come into contact (Proverbs 27:17 Proverbs 27:17Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×
).

Whether that first twitterpated “counseling” session was a premature pipe dream or prudent forethought, it sent us down the right path. After nearly three years of questions, there's only one more to ask. We're pretty sure we're going to like the answer.

God tells us that if we commit everything that we do to Him, our plans will succeed (Proverbs 16:3 Proverbs 16:3Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts shall be established.
American King James Version×
). So, seek out wise counsel and God's will. Ask the right questions, and you, too, will find the right answers (Luke 11:9 Luke 11:9And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.
American King James Version×
). VT

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