Often people who find themselves in a bad or destructive relationship struggle to see the signs that are in fact…in plain sight. That’s why after it all falls apart you’ll hear them say statements like, “I didn’t see the signs,” or “If I just would have known.” So in the spirit of enlightenment, I want to give you a few signs to watch out for.
You’re in a bad relationship if… there is abuse in your midst.
It’s such a common thing that I’m sure you’ve either heard of it or have been caught up in it yourself! What is it? It is the seemingly endless habit many couples have in which they will fight and makeup on a regular basis. Sure, it makes for great movies but what works for a 90-minute Hollywood hit is a no-go in the real world.
When it comes to making up, don’t misunderstand me, it’s perfectly healthy to forgive but it’s not okay to be stupid. What I mean is this: if fighting in your dating world means hitting, pushing, shoving, name calling, yelling, manipulating, or anything rude that occurs on a consistent basis then, of course, turn the other cheek and walk away. It’s simple. In bad relationships, bad things happen and will continue to happen if you let them. Don’t be stupid; be wise. Wisdom always does now what brings satisfaction later. For you, being smart means that after you leave the relationship you shouldn’t go back! When God gave the Israelites an exodus opportunity, they took it and you should too. If your relationship is even slightly abusive, consider this your sign to exit the relationship NOW!
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – I Corinthians 6:19-20
You’re in a bad relationship if… you are living in sin together.
I assume you know right and wrong when it comes to sins such as lying, stealing, and killing. This article isn’t meant for Bonnie and Clyde couples headed for jail. Rather, I’ll cut to the chase and zone in on those of you caught up in one of the more deceptive, yet prevalent sin in the dating world. More than likely you or someone you know is “messin’ around.” Some call it premarital sex; others call it marriage out of wedlock. In case you haven’t heard, God calls it S-I-N. Yah, I know. It feels so right, and you have every excuse in the world to continue. However, what seems right in the heat of the moment is not worth its cost in the end.
When you have sex with anyone other than your spouse, things happen, bad things. It takes one time to lose your virginity, one time to contract an STD, one time to become addicted to sexual immorality, one time for your fiancé’s respect for you to dissipate forever…Get my point? The Bible states that while sin is pleasurable for a season, the after effects are horrible! If you’re living in sin, take a u-turn. Repent and stay pure until you’ve said your wedding vows.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually sins against his own body.” – I Corinthians 6:18
You’re in a bad relationship if… you doubt the person you are dating is The One you are meant to marry.
Yet fear keeps you from breaking off the relationship. James T. Draper wrote, “Doubt never means yes and always means no or wait a while: God does not lead through doubt. If you can’t get peace, that is an answer.” When God opens the door for marriage in your life, you will know that you know you are with the right person. If you aren’t 100% certain that things should progress, you’d better take a time-out from the relationship and pray for God to clearly confirm His will.
I know. I know. You don’t think it’s that simple. I know because I’ve been there. If you choose to ignore the unrest in your spirit and continue on with this person you just don’t think you can live without, I’ll tell you what comes next: Excuses! Don’t go so far as justifying staying in a relationship you’ll wish you had abandoned later. Here’s why: in the dating world, thoughts like, “I can’t break up because…” mean that doubt has given the keys to fear which will drive you down a rough road containing potholes of confusion and bumps of anxiety. If that’s not enough, your joy tank will eventually read empty. If travels down doubt path have you pondering whether or not to proceed in your current dating relationship, allow me to throw up a sign for you which reads, “faith and peace mean go; doubt and fear mean NO!”
…The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” – James 1:6-8
You’re in a bad relationship if… concerned attitudes surround you.
Ever turned on the television or radio to catch a sermon, song, or message seemingly written specifically for you? Anyone ever crossed your path leaving a comment or two that spoke directly to your heart? What about people who know you well? Are family and friends at all iffy about your decision to move forward with the one you are presently dating? Rather than take a defensive approach to their input, consider that emotions can hamper your ability to see as clearly as those positioned on the outside-looking-in to your life.
If it’s true that you don’t want to look back someday after the romantic feelings subside (and they will), and regret you lost (amongst other blessings) valuable time, then ask God for discernment as you listen to others’ advice. If what they are saying is consistent with His Word and spoken in love, then imagine His mighty hand gently tapping your shoulder, prompting you to turn from your plans and take a better path. Consistent concerns are red flags God has lovingly placed in your life to warn you of trouble up ahead! Listen. Learn. Be smart. Break up. Get out of the danger zone.
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” – Proverbs 25:11-12
You’re in a bad relationship if… you’re dating an unbeliever.
Are you dating someone who does not have a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ? Most Christians who hang onto a non-believer actually think they are the best chance that their unsaved date will ever have for knowing Jesus. Don’t be deceived. Someone has already coined a word for this false evangelistic strategy. It is called Missionary Dating. Christian, you are not Holy Spirit Junior! There are no guarantees in life, and this includes the salvation of your current date. God gives each person free will. God waits to be wanted, and so should you. If you’re a believer dating an unsaved person, your date has not only rejected the Lord but also the Lord living in you. Therefore, he or she does not want ALL of you!
You are God’s, and He is jealous for you. Any emotional attachment you have toward a person who is not on the same spiritual page as you, or vice versa, is an unhealthy attachment. Do now what you’ll otherwise wish you would have done later. Heed God’s Word and be not unequally yoked. Yes! That means break up and move on.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14
© 2011 Dani Miser, Author of Single Woman Seeks Perfect Man (Deep River Books, 2010)