Why do we act the way we do when we are in love? Why do we take a relationship a step further to the marriage level when all we can see are warning signs everywhere? Why do we stay in unhealthy relationships despite the pleas and warning cries of concerned friends?
I’ve come to realize that the feeling of love suppresses critical thought and makes us blind and deaf to red flags. Warning signs are red flags that should not be ignored. I know there are a 1001 reasons people get into relationships. If your reason is marriage, you shouldn’t play the risky game of ignoring red flags by choosing the fantastic illusion of what you envision your relationship to be over the ugly reality of what it is now. Marriage is a “till death do you part decision”, one that should not be toyed with. You do not wait until a house totally falls apart before you begin to take action. You start to take action from the first sign of problem you notice. Not all red flags are as visible as physical abuse. Love is now so abused that it is even used as an excuse to keep unhealthy relationships alive. I am beginning a series on relationship red flags and this is the first part of this series.
One of the most important yet ignored criterion for a relationship is dating someone who is headed in the same direction as you. Being headed in the same direction does not necessarily mean having the same likes, dislikes or career. It simply means having similar beliefs, norms and values in important areas of life. Take a good look at your relationship. Are you being pulled in the opposite direction of your life? In a relationship where there is no defined direction, there is bound to always be a conflict of interest such that one person starts to live the other person’s life. The problem is that we let our emotions dictate the direction of our relationship. Emotions alone cannot sustain a relationship, let alone a marriage. Dating is supposed to be a place of growth not a conflict zone. Only people headed in the same direction can truly grow and stay together. For instance, you cannot to expect to grow spiritually when you are dating someone who is not interested in having a relationship with God or someone who is too proud to admit that he needs God. You will find yourself slowly conforming to their standard just to keep the peace. Spiritual connection is used as an example because it is the highest level of connection and the basis for direction in a relationship. If you cannot connect with someone on the spiritual level, you cannot connect with them on any other level. There will always be conflicting interests. If you do not have an aligned view of the spiritual aspect of your lives with your partner, there will always be a problem whether you choose to admit this or not. Beauty, money, emotions, good sex and even great career paths cannot substitute this because they fade with time.
Your relationship should be one that is built on a solid foundation; one in which the both parties complement each other long term, in their spiritual walk with God, career, goals, dreams and everything else. Be objective about your relationship, if you are not headed in the same direction with your partner, you started wrongly and you need to rethink your decision to keep pursuing that relationship. We have to be careful about making a decision as important as marriage prematurely. Do not judge the success of your relationship by what you see now, you may make them see things from your perspective now or you patiently conform to their way of life just to keep the peace. But you should understand that conflict or resistance will arise when you find out how much a shadow of yourself you have become in a bid to keep up with the relationship. It is better to have a broken relationship now and heal than to have a broken marriage which is supposed to be till death do you two part.
If you are the one without a direction, you are not qualified to be in a relationship because you will hurt your partner. Define your direction first before you get into a relationship. Get your life right first before you ruin another person’s life. Discover who you are first so you won’t ruin the life of someone who already knows his/her direction. Don’t let your emotions cause you to make excuses and remain in that relationship. It may seem beautiful now but know that it will get very ugly soon enough and if you don’t have the right foundation, your relationship will crumble. Make a decision soon before you mar your life.

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