How do we know who to date?
Emotional intimacy is a key to a thriving, growing love. It is important that as time goes on you feel a deep connection with your new found date. You see that you relate with them beyond a physical level. This could prove difficult if you don’t feel emotionally safe with them. When there’s no expectation of empathy. Granted, everyone struggles to some degree with this and that is why we need to seek God’s help in overlooking imperfections in others and ourselves.
How to Recognize a Safe Date
A safe person will respect your boundaries. In a book by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, they described boundaries as spiritual and emotional “property lines.” These invisible lines help us define which things are our responsibility and which are another person’s. It also helps us to know when the emotional or physical line has been crossed.
In any relationship, one person may not respect the other’s boundaries. This means that if Uchenna tells her boyfriend, “Don’t call me after 11 p.m.,” and he repeatedly ignores her request, he has not respected her boundaries. Boundary breakers who don’t respect you in one area probably won’t respect you in others.
A safe person will not treat you like a child. Your date should appreciate your maturity and how you demonstrate control of your life. When they treat you like a child, they may believe you aren’t capable of making your own decisions and so makes it an unsafe date. A healthy relationship should have both partners relating like adults.
See if you recognize these other characteristics of an unsafe date:
§ Distrusts your judgment
§ Is critical
§ Is convinced that you need help navigating life
§ Disapproves of you
§ Withdraws when you make adult decisions with which the person disagrees
A safe person will forgive you, not condemn you. Love comes with the ability to forgive. When someone allows their perfectionism and past heartbreaks cloud their minds, forgiving becomes difficult. Every budding relationship should have both partners respecting each other. In marriage, it is priority.
Take your time to determine if the person has the ability to resolve conflict maturely and forgive without constantly condemning.
A safe person is responsible, consistent. An unsafe date will be reckless and drain you physically, spiritually and emotionally.
A safe person admits their faults, rather than blame others. Some people don’t see to their faults, they blame others for their problems. If you’re dating a person who embraces these not-so-endearing qualities, you might want to cut them loose.
The greatest counselor on Love is God. He said:
“Love does not come to dwell in perfection, for no one is perfect. Love dwells in the unlovely, the imperfect. My love for another is not produced by the object of my love. It exists in me when I choose to love all that is unlovely and imperfect; and I thereby receive the love I need by being the lover first. Love is the “bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:14).
Just remember that you aren’t looking for a perfect person – just someone who’s perfect for you.