Signs of a Healthy Dating Relationship, Circa 1986

As I’ve shared before, I’ve been opinionated on this dating stuff for a long time. I have files of this stuff going back to the 1980s. Recently while looking for something in that file for a message I was to give I found this list written by me. Found it on yellowed paper printed by a dot-matrix printer. It’s authentic.

From my 23-year old dreamy self in 1986

1. You are each other’s best friend.

2.  You like each other.

3.  Love to laugh together.

4. Communication is easy, natural, and free.
– Can tell partner what you are really feeling without fear of judgment or putdowns
– Can share negative feelings with each other
– Does your partner carefully listen to you?
– Does your partner seem to understand how you feel?

5.  You both think marriage is a lifetime commitment.

6.   You have numerous spiritual values and ideals in common—sense a solid fit between the two of you.

7.  Know how to resolve conflict.

8.  You feel thoroughly known by your partner and deeply cared for.

9.  Your love is not self-centered—not what do I get but what I give.

10.  You feel romantic about each other much of the time but you feel comfortable with each other almost all of the time.

11.  Is your love for Jesus as mature as for each other?

12.  Does your relationship bring you up or down?

13.  Time was taken to get to know each other.

14.  You are willing to spend the rest of your life with particular personality quirks.

15.  Your family and friends seem genuinely supportive of the two of you as a couple.

How did 23-year old me do with this list? Please leave your comments because 5? –year old me is still learning.

I wish I could remember how I came up with this list. Or even why I came up with this list. I do remember that dot-matrix printer and the font I was using at that time.

It is particularly eerie to read through this list and compare it to my now 21-year long marriage. I married a lot of this list! Though I didn’t take this list out when I met John. I forgot I had it (that file is quite large and full of dated stuff). How did I know back then that the romance part of a marriage has its place—and is a lot smaller of a place than a 23-year old could ever realize? Or that the ability to resolve conflict plays such a huge part of marriage. John and I formed “fighting rules” within the first year of our marriage and we continually honor those rules because they sure have made our tumultuous times much easier to get through!

I inserted links to other articles I’ve written on these very items I came up with in 1986. I can say I’ve been consistent. I’m certainly opinionated.

I think of this entire list there is only one my “more mature” self would change and that is #1. “You are each other’s best friend” does sound so twentysomething dreamy and in real life is dreamy also. Yes, John is one of my best friends. We do have a great friendship. That friendship is the foundation of our relationship. We were great friends before. It was that friendship that put John into that “possible” category while I was single. We still share that friendship. But I have other best friends. John is not my “one and only” in that category of my life.

I’ve had two best friends since long before I met John. They didn’t not become my best friends once we got married. Our friendships only grew. John as my husband does not need to fulfill that deep need inside of me. I have my others and my life is big enough to have these others. If our spouse is our only best friend we are basically asking that one person to give us what an entire village can provide. This does not sound healthy and this entire list was created to find a healthy dating relationship. My life thrives in this entire village because I am free to give of myself so much to it. John is able to be married to this thriving part of me because he doesn’t have the expectation that he is to meet my every need.

Now the life application question. How does your 2018 relationship line up with this 1986 list? Some truths never become dated.


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