Guard Your Heart – Don’t Get Involved With a Jerk

Guard Your Heart Jerk - Pixabay backgroundThe above title might seem obvious. Why wouldn’t you guard your heart from getting involved with a jerk or jerkette? Who in their right mind would go out to get involved with someone like that? There are those who appear to be obvious jerks or jerkettes (or “losers” —meaning, you lose if you get involved with one) in your eyes. And in those cases, it’s not too difficult to steer clear of going out on a date or beyond with them.

Beware of a Jerk or Charmer

But then there are the charmers —those that look good on the outside; and yet you don’t really know they can cause trouble until later when things are more complicated and your emotions are involved.

Sadly, some of them can steal your heart away and cloud your common sense before you realize that you’re now entangled in such a mess.

So to help you guard your heart ahead of time, we’re going to share some information and lead you to read a few additional web site articles on this area of being “single yet preparing.” We hope it will help.

The first bit of information you might consider was sent to us from a friend of the ministry. The author is unknown, but what they write sure seems wise!


  • Never date anyone who is rude to the waiter/waitress.
  • Never date anyone who is rude to their mother. That is a jerk.
  • If they have a tendency to be rude to you now, just wait.
  • If you date someone who doesn’t share your standards, they’ll lower yours.
  • The two most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship: “I apologize.”
  • Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

What great pointers! We hope they’re not too vague and that you won’t rationalize yourself out of heeding this advice, figuring it’s not important, because it is. These are character issues, that if you pay attention to them, they could save you from future problems.

The following is another relationship guideline given to us by a friend where once again, the author is unknown. But this is for those of you who are already dating someone and you’re considering marriage:


1.  The Relationship Track Record: If you are involved with someone with past anger or jealousy problems, it’s likely these issues will re-emerge. Don’t get fooled into overlooking his problems with others because you believe “he didn’t love them the way he loves me.”

2.  Look at how he/she treats others: If you are on a date and your boyfriend goes on and on about an argument and how he had to “rip him a new one,” remember it’s just a matter of time before he “rips you a new one.”


3.  Get to know the family: One dinner with everyone on their best behavior is not going to provide enough insight into family dynamics. You’ve got to spend time with people to spot trouble. Ask your partner how his or her family showed love, and especially how it managed anger and conflicts.

4.  Is he or she a good person? Character matters. Pay attention to their daily behavior. Does he/she support you or manipulate you to get his/her way? And remember…

5. People can change, but it’s difficult. Change requires concrete steps such as reading books or getting therapy as well as willful effort. No one can force anyone else to change.

Good Pointers

Another good piece of advice comes from author, Gloria Shaffer. She writes:

“It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just begun to date or your dating life is an ugly wreck, there’s hope for you. You don’t have to be an accident waiting to happen. By putting yourself in the driver’s seat you can avoid crashing into losers. To maneuver safely through the hazards of dating, it’s important to acquire the following qualities, much like a driver becomes adept at scanning the road and using peripheral vision to know what’s nearby.

She then goes on to give pointers that you might find helpful in this article that I encourage you to read:


Do you see how important it is to avoid dating mistakes that are obvious? At least they’re obvious to those us who are on the outside looking in. They’re less obvious to those directly involved. They’re not something a person necessarily “catches” on their own. When you combine biochemical interactions where brain and body chemistry is in play, things get trickier.

Chemistry of Love

Below are a couple of articles on the “chemistry of love” that can help you to see how and why this is so. But then after reading these articles we want to lead you to some other information that can help you beyond what you’re going to learn in the following linked articles. However, first things first. Please click onto the web link below to read:


And for a technical view where “Scientists say that the brain chemistry of infatuation is akin to mental illness —which gives a new meaning to being ‘madly in love'”, below is a link to a National Geographic article. You won’t find the article coming from a Christian perspective, of course, but it will help you to see how brain chemistry can cloud human judgement. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to more information that can and should be gathered, when “love” becomes involved, beyond just feelings.


With that foundation laid, the following are a few questions along with a challenge to pay attention to.

Avoid Marrying a Jerk:

“Are you too trusting, always seeing the good and jumping to positive conclusions too quickly? Do you get into a relationship and immediately become swept away by the furious waves of attention and love? Do you find yourself enamored with this prince or princess, spending every free moment with that person, constantly conversing by phone or computer, or just talking to him or her in your head?

“If so, then you need to step back and look at your track record. If you have a history of these dreamy love attacks that end up spiraling into nightmares, then you may be avoiding some of your past pain by projecting your ideals onto a prince or princess who is nothing more than an ordinary frog.” (Dr John Van Epp, from the book, “How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk”)

Dr Van Epp goes into detail in his book, about basic principles to help you to recognize whether you are dating someone who could be problematic to marry. He says there are certain “bonding dynamics” that it would be good to go through and evaluate so you better know if you really should proceed to marry each other.

They are:

  • Getting to know about the person you are dating
  • Family background
  • What a person’s conscience is like
  • Compatibility potential
  • Relationship skills
  • Previous relationship patterns

Even if you go through the dynamics of bonding as you should, you can still have a tendency to go through a “Love is Blind” syndrome that can cause problems. That’s why it’s important to learn more information so you have less of a tendency to marry a jerk or jerkette. Dr Van Epp discusses this blind love syndrome in his books. Also he does this wherever he has the opportunity to expose it to the light. He talked about this in a Keynote address in a Smartmarriages Conference.

In it he told everyone:

“The ‘Love is Blind’ syndrome simply says that we either have an underdeveloped understanding of what to get to know about somebody. Or it could be that we have an overdeveloped attachment that is blinding us to areas. These are critical areas that we really should pay attention to. They are predictive —like a preview. They are like the dark clouds on the horizon before a storm. Also, they reflect the need to have a harmony between the head and the heart.

“So basically I am going to present you with an overview of the PICK program that is about the head and the heart.”

Wait More than a Year

Dr Van Epp explains what he has learned that can help you discern when you are dating a jerk or a jerkette, or a loser. He also gives additional advice which you might want to heed. And one of the things he recommends is that a couple waits well beyond a year of seriously dating before marrying. In a article it’s explained this way:

“Dr. Van Epp encourages people to wait two years before marrying. You may be thinking that sounds like an eternity. Van Epp believes that within three to six months you can begin to know someone, but like looking through a microscope at its lowest power you can only see certain things in that amount of time. Dating someone for an extended period allows you to see certain things that may not become evident right away. When you have dated someone for a year you begin to have history with him/her. Many couples get through their first year just fine, but in the second year issues often begin to surface that weren’t there in the past.

“A relationship needs time for things to normalize. Many people are very flexible in the infancy of a relationship, but as time goes by they become less flexible. By taking things slow and easy you give your relationship time to grow up and you get to see how the person will really treat you.”

Who to Avoid Marrying

Dr Van Epp makes the point about waiting two years before you marry. This is because it helps you avoid marrying someone who is mentally ill and/or a narcissist. Many times full blown characteristics of these conditions don’t come out until a longer passage of time. As he says in his book,

“Narcissists do not appear self-centered at the beginning of a relationship.  …Only after some time do they reveal their extreme demands. It’s a kind of “buy now, pay later” arrangement. Once one disappointment blemishes the relationship, the narcissist can never retrieve that fantasy feeling of true love. The benevolent God becomes depraved and angry, exacting obedient love while never feeling satisfied or fulfilled. …Narcissism lacks resiliency. So when the first flaw appears, love begins to die.”

What an important point! We hear all the time from spouses who carry deep regrets. They wish they had waited longer before marrying because they believe they would have seen more warning signs. These could have stopped them from marrying the person they did.

Don’t Settle for Less by Marrying a Jerk

Whatever you do as you are “single, yet preparing,” we hope that you won’t settle for less than what God wants for you. As one gal who did settle for less than the best told Dr David Hawkins:

“Tell everyone you know not to settle for anything less than the best. Not only will they be unhappy, but they’re missing out on God’s absolute best for them. And time’s wasting.”

To learn more, please click onto the web site link to read:


Remember What We’re Told in God’s Word:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

For I know the plans I have for you says the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Seek first the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

I can do all things through CHRIST Who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

And my GOD will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in CHRIST JESUS. (Philippians 4:19)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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Filed under: Single Yet Preparing

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9 responses to “Guard Your Heart – Don’t Get Involved With a Jerk

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Excellent advice. I wish I had read this before I got married, but it’s too late! Great as this advice is, it’s not for me – it’s for those who are not yet there. But what help is there for me who did not have the priviledge to get this advice and have already been married for many years?

    I am a Christian, who doesn’t believe in divorce as a solution to problems. I never did any background checks. Our differences were very obvious, but I was blinded by her good looks and believed that either she would grow out of that behaviour or I would cope with it. Unfortunately, from the onset of our marriage we have had conflict after conflict. Every time we have a conflict she leaves home, and doesn’t seem to have any regard for our marriage.

    I am convinced that she doesn’t love me, that’s why she has been trying to leave me for the past 18 years. The only thing she likes about me is my financial and material support. I have stuck in there, paying and believing that with time we would work out our differences. Unfortunately, the only direction we have progressed is drifting apart. She doesn’t regard anything I say, and goes against all my advice. What should I do as a Christian husband?

    1. (USA) You ask what should you do as a Christian husband. The question is, what does “Christian” mean to you? To me, it means being a follower of Christ –doing what He would do. What do you think Christ would do? When those that Christ loved didn’t show love back, what did He do? Did He give sacrificial love, or did He walk the other way saying, “I tried to love you but you wouldn’t have it, so I’m done with you!”?

      I too, wish you would have read this article before marrying. I wish everyone would. Let this be a warning to those who are experiencing the “tingles” of love before marrying. The tingles and excitement of new love eventually goes away (the divorce courts and unhappy homes are filled with couples realizing that, as evidence). When this excitement and adventure goes away, true love must be built upon reality, if you have the commitment to do so, which as followers of Christ, you are supposed to do. Make sure you are marrying someone who is as committed to putting in the tough work of rebuilding your marriage as you are, and as you need to be, to make your marriage a good and lasting one. Your marriage is a mirror of Christ’s love for the church. It involves sacrificial love. Make sure you are marrying someone who is willing to sacrifice as Christ, and make sure that you are willing as well. And as my husband and I have found, the excitement of love comes back in a newer and on an even higher level.

      Jeff, for you, I’m sorry that you find yourself in this place. How I wish you didn’t have to be, but you are. Again, what do you think Christ would do with a bride who ran the other way? Personally, I believe He would and does pursue His wayward bride and loves her.

      I have a few suggestions for you that may or may not work, but they are certainly worth a try. Pray about it. One would be to read through the “For Married Men” Topic of this web site. It will give you insights into what a wife really needs and what a husband needs to know. Another would be to pick up a few resources wherever you can obtain them and prayerfully read them. (Sacrificial love CAN include reading books and applying the information in your marriage, when it’s needed.) Since you’re located in South Africa, I’m not sure where that would be, but I know others on this web site from South Africa have referred to these resources, so I’m thinking you can find them somehow.

      One resource I recommend is to pick up the book by Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy (you can click into the link I’ll put into this reply to read about it and get the information, to better help you to find it –those from the U.S. and many countries can obtain it through the link). That will give you a grasp of Christ-like marriage commitment and great advice as well. Another would be to obtain the book, The Heart of the 5 Love Languages written by Dr Gary Chapman because that will give you a good grasp on learning to show love to your wife in ways in which she best recognizes it, rather than in ways that you do (there is even a “Singles Edition” for others who are reading this). You may find that you’re missing the mark as far as being able to best help her to know your love is real and embracing it. YOU may know that it’s real, but the way you express it may not be what she understands. The book will explain this more thoroughly.

      And the other resource is The Love Dare written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick –based on the movie “Fireproof.” It gives daily help for 40 days in a devotional form to “dare” you to show love to your spouse in ways as Christ would. All of these resources are a stretch to read and then to do, but I believe they are worth the effort. That’s what true love is all about. It’s not just doing what comes natural, it’s going the extra mile, as Christ did, to do that which is uncomfortable but necessary to truly express love. It’s a way of living out Luke 9:23, of denying yourself and taking up your cross and daily following Him. You ask “what should I do as a Christian husband?” and I believe this is what Christ would do — go beyond what you have already done, as Christ leads.

      This is a time when you come to the barrier of belief and decide if you are willing to put even more action into what you say you are –being a Christian –a Christ-following husband. How I wish I could give any other “advice” rather than this because from what I read in your comment, you believe you’ve already gone the extra mile and more so. And I don’t doubt that — that’s why I hate giving this advice. But I believe this is what Christ asks of us. YOU can’t control what your wife does with the love you show, but you can’t hold back from going even further, if you are going to “love as Christ does” as the Bible tells us to do. You are only accountable for the effort you put forth as you “understand what the Lord’s will is” (as expressed in Ephesians 5). Don’t look at what your wife should be doing, look at what you are to do & live accordingly. The Lord will surprise you in the ways He will reward you. I pray God’s best for you Jeff, as you go forward as the Lord leads.

  2. (GHANA)  Please, I’m in love with a man who shows me care and love to me. Please, I wish to get married to him as soon as possible in May of this year. We have always planned it in this year. Please help me.

  3. (UK) I wish I had read this before I got married 6 months ago. It was a terrible mistake and I really wish my husband didn’t deceive me so well. I am partly to blame for not having a good set of standards and invited a jerk into my life. I got pregnant 3 months into our dating and he obviously had surprised me with anger issues until I announced I was 6 weeks pregnant, sobbing and not knowing what to do.

    We thought the right thing to do was to marry, but I was foolish in believing he was committed to me. Instead he seemed to have been showing everyone else he is a good guy but to me he was emotionally abusive, possessive, jeolous and self-righteous. The mistakes he made such as sexually joking on Facebook with another woman and having an unprofessional relationship with his physio, I find hard to accept as we have a 6 month old baby. He justifies all that as “I’m sorry” now move on!

    I tried marriage counseling but he didn’t want that. I asked him to pray for us and our family he said no, never and that one day he will pray. It has got to a point where I finally gave up this manipulation and overwhelming emotional heartache to find a friend in another man who cares and treats me with so much respect. When I mentioned to him that I have a friend who says a prayer for me and our daughter he says he is praying for us but I know in my heart he is lying. God Almighty help me!

    1. Kate, I’m also sorry that you didn’t read this article (and others we have posted on our web site) before you got married… truly I am. But please don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that because you hurt so badly, solutions to cheat and do that which you should not, are acceptable. I don’t know if the man you married is a “jerk” or not –or if he simply needs more help emotionally and spiritually than he has had previously. But I do know that you are married. You made a vow to him and that does not include having a “friend in another man” –no matter how your husband treats you. That is cheating. This other man is not respecting you… he’s cheating with you. Even if it’s “only” emotionally (because you don’t say) it’s still cheating. The Bible tells us that if we even look at someone else with lust in our heart it is as if we have “already committed adultery with her [him] in his [her] heart.” (Matthew 5:27) What you are doing is cheating.

      Truly, I’m not trying to minimize your pain with your husband. Abuse of any kind is wrong and should never, never happen. But so is adultery –no matter what the reason. There are better ways to deal with that which hurts.

      If you want God Almighty to “help” you, then being with another man is not the way to go. God may want to use this situation to help grow you and your husband. He certainly doesn’t condone finding someone else –especially when you are married. And the example you are setting for your child is horrific. Your daughter may not know right now what is happening (although I’m sure she can sense the tension between you and your husband), but you are setting a precedence in teaching her that as long as things don’t appear to be fair in the marriage and as long as the marriage is rocky and someone else is around to treat you “with so much respect” and even say “a prayer” for you and your child, then it’s okay to cheat. THAT is something to think about and pray about. I hope you will.

      I hope you will step away from this other man. He is not respecting you and his prayers certainly aren’t being heard if he is sinning with you. The Bible also says “what God has joined together let no man separate.” He is contributing to a further emotional separation between you and your husband. That is wrong. God will not honor that. Please, please prayerfully consider all I am saying here. Truly, I want better for you and your daughter, but this is not the way to go. I hope you realize that.

  4. (KENYA) Make the right choices… quality courtship leads to serious marriage. Don’t ignore signs. Every sign is from God. Use common sense to analyze people. Common sense is God given. Success on something depends on facts and not luck. PRAY AND SEE. Open your eyes wide. COURTSHIP can be broken BUT MARRIAGE cannot except for marital unfaithfulness. Analyze the person. After studying the facts right, proceed with the arrangements. For it’s better to remain single than to get married to the wrong person. Imagine being unhappy for two thirds of your life that you will remain married to this man or a woman. DO not get into unnecessary covenants. Carefully evaluate your steps. COMMON SENSE MATTERS A LOT. ;-)

  5. (KENYA) DO NOT defile yourselves in courtship. You will create a loophole for the wrong future. God has got His standards and they must be followed. Second… if you cannot understand each other before you live together, how can you when you will cohabitate. Prepare greatly for marriage. Be mature enough to know what you want. Marriage is not for boys and girls but for ladies and gentlemen. Marriage is a responsibility. The man provides, protects, and directs. ADAM was given this work by God, and to love the wife. The lady is to respect the man and to be submissive.

    Third… a man leaves home but a boy doesn’t. The lady coming to your house is a queen, not a servant so a man must have his own Kingdom and not his father’s house. Fourth, a man must leave boyhood to manhood, leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two become one flesh. The lady too has to leave her parents. Leaving home depicts a sign of a responsible partner. It is a COMMAND from God. MATTHEW 19:5. LADIES and GENTLEMEN, look out for these things. They seem little but they are VITAL.

  6. I got saved at the age of 23, I am now 27 in year 2014. I thank God for the insight in this article because I now know that the Holy Spirit has been leading me all this while. I was starting to think my expectations are way too high. I was in a courtship with a brother who later was ordained to be a pastor. He was not working but only Evangelising in Prisons and Schools. When we met he had a case against him whereby he stole money where he was working. This was before he got saved. The case was now on its 7th year. The court found him guilty and he was to pay back the money he stole.

    When I asked him how he was going to render ceaser what was his, he told me I should pay the debt for him. He put me through emotional turmoil saying God had given me my job so that I could assist him with his debt. This put me in spiritual confusion because I loved him and did not want him to go to jail. Long story short, I went into prayer and God answered. When I asked him why he was not working to earn salary to pay off the debt, he would say he is a minister of the Gospel, he does not have the desire to work. He said I should provide for him and his ministry, otherwise God will punish me and take away my job. I told him what he was saying was not biblical as God ordained a man to be a provider for the family. God took me out of the relationship.

    I had a friend who was comforting me as I went through this. He is not a believer but started going to church as a way of getting close to me. I saw his intentions and decided I will only fellowship with him as I believe God also wants him in the Kingdom. Along our friendship I decided to give him a chance and dated him. He went to another country and his behaviour changed. He went back into his old habits of drinking alcohol and partying. He runs his own business but the money he gets he spends on alcohol. He has never called me, not even once. Its been over 6 months since he went back home. I decided to end the relationship as I got a wake up call as the Holy Spirit told me I was going to miss my God ordained Godly Husband while I hold onto something that is not of God.

    I still talk to him and we agreed to be friends. But I know in my heart I still love him and do not know if I should continue fellowshipping with him or stop because I grow fond of him every time we chat.