Any relationship will have its difficulties. But sometimes those difficulties are indicators of deep-rooted problems. If they are not addressed quickly, they will poison your marriage. If any of the following caution signs exist in your relationship, we recommend you talk about the situation as soon as possible. Do so with a pastor, counselor or mentor BEFORE you consider marrying. These are relational red flags that are warning you of potential relational problems.
Relational Red Flags Difficulties:
1. You have a general uneasy feeling that there is something wrong in your relationship with your fiancé.
2. You find yourself arguing often with your fiancé.
3. Your fiancé seems irrationally jealous whenever you interact with someone of the opposite sex.
4. You avoid discussing certain subjects because you’re afraid of your fiancé’s reaction.
5. Your fiancé finds it extremely difficult to express emotions. Or he or she is prone to extreme emotions. (These can be out of control anger exaggerated fear.) Or his or her emotions are swinging back and forth between emotional extremes. (He or she could be very happy one minute, then suddenly exhibiting extreme sadness the next).
6. Your fiancé displays controlling behavior. This means more than wanting to be in charge. It means your fiancé seems to want to control every aspect of your life. He or she controls your appearance, your lifestyle, your interactions with friends or family, etc. Your fiancé seems to manipulate you into doing what he or she wants.
7. You are continuing the relationship because of fear. You are fearful of hurting your fiancé. Or you fear what he or she might do if you ended the relationship.
8. Your fiancé does not treat you with respect. He or she constantly criticizes you or talks sarcastically to you.
9. Your fiancé is unable to hold down a job. He or she doesn’t take personal responsibility for losing a job. He or she frequently borrows money from you or friends.
10. Your fiancé often talks about imagined aches and pains. There are visits from doctor to doctor. That is done until he or she finds someone who will agree that he or she is seriously ill.
11. Your fiancé is unable to resolve conflict. He or she cannot deal with constructive criticism. And he or she never admits a mistake and never asks for forgiveness.
12. Your fiancé is overly-dependent on parents for finances, decision-making or emotional security.
13. Your fiancé shows a pattern of dishonesty, and rationalizing questionable behavior. Or there is a twisting words to his or her benefit.
14. He or she exhibits patterns of physical, emotional or sexual abuse toward you or others. If your fiancé has ever threatened to hit you or actually struck you, this is a warning sign of future abuse. If he or she puts you down or continually criticizes you, this is a sign of emotional abusiveness.
15. Your fiancé displays signs of drug or alcohol abuse. There are unexplained absences or missed dates, or frequent car accidents. And/or there is the smell of alcohol or strong odor of mouthwash. There may be erratic behavior or emotional swings. There can also be physical signs. They can include red eyes, unkempt look, and unexplained nervousness, etc.
16. Your fiancé displayed a sudden, dramatic change in lifestyle as you began dating. (He or she may be changing just to win you and will revert back to old habits after marriage.)
Do you recognize any of these caution signs in your relationship? If so, which ones?
If so, we recommend you talk about the situation as soon as possible with a pastor, counselor or mentor.
SPECIAL WARNING Concerning Relational Red Flags:
If any of these caution signs are present in your relationship and you are engaging in sexual intercourse, it is imperative that you terminate the physical intimacy immediately. God has your welfare in mind when He forbids sexual connection before marriage. The premature bond this type of intimacy creates will make it difficult for you to make needed changes in your relationship or to break it off.
This article/discussion questions come from the helpful workbook, Preparing for Marriage: Discover God’s Plan for a Lifetime of Love. It is written by David Boehi, Brent Nelson, Jeff Schulte, and Lloyd Shadrach. There was a LOT more to the chapter on the subject of “Evaluating Your Relationship” that we weren’t able to include in this article. A large part of this particular section of the chapter was adapted from the book, How Can I Be Sure? Questions to Ask Before You Get Married. This book published by Harvest House Publishers (which is also a terrific book).
— ALSO —
Norm Wright wrote another article on this same issue. It is posted at Growthtrac.com, which we recommend you read, as well. And then the second link below gives you a number of other articles to help you as you consider marrying. Please read:
Gary Thomas gives another insight to consider in who you marry. Red Flags are waving everywhere.
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