Guess what. You are not dating (or will not be dating) a perfect person. Like you, the person you are dating is a continual work in progress.
So how do you know what is going to turn out to be a yellow light which will annoy the heck out of you from here to eternity and what is fixable? Or a better word would be “growable.” You do know that you can’t fix someone in a dating relationship, right?
My go-to guru, Dr. Henry Cloud, created a list for that too. This comes from p. 99 in his book Boundaries in Dating. These are the traits he listed of someone who demonstrates the ability to work on their imperfections:
- A relationship with God
- Ability to see where one is wrong
- Ability to be honest
- Ability to see the effects of the wrong on the other person
- Ability to empathize with those effects and be truly sorry for the other person as opposed to just feeling guilty for themselves
- Motivation to repent and change
- Ability to sustain repentance and change
- Commitment to a path of growth, a system of growth, and the involvement of other people in the growing process
- Ability to receive and utilize forgiveness.
Speaking of forgiveness, over at Be Brave there is a raw and honest series on forgiveness.
This is a go-to list for you to keep. Do you see any of these behaviors in the person you are dating? Let your team have this list too and allow them to speak honestly to you. Then you in turn truly hear what your team is saying to you.
My love for a lifetime for 19 years now is not a match anyone would have made on paper. We are both still amazed that we ended up together—and can be so happy. He had lots of yellow lights. Lots. Yet it was my team who noticed the good qualities in him. They are the ones who encouraged me to look twice. And thrice. And for a tenth time. Soon I was able to see these traits too. I truly had my team cheering for me to move in the direction of John.
Not all such stories have happy endings–yet. Your current relationship may need to come to an end because these traits are not in play in his/her life. Make the brave decision to end this relationship. Because you don’t want to be annoyed from here to eternity because of “excused” some bad behaviors early in your relationship. Heal. And then try again. Try again with our brave dating practices and you will get that happy ending.
(Photo credit: http://changebusters.com/_Media/arabidopsis_med.jpeg)