Warning signs. Things don’t seem right. You can’t quite put your finger on it. These are all signs of something that’s off in the relationship. But there’s no such thing as a perfect guy, so if you’re single, then you do need to discern the difference between a red flag from a mere annoyance. After all, once you marry, you’ll be attached to a sinner for the rest of your life, i.e. a person who’ll likely bring an annoyance to you at some point. Ask me how I know this.:) Yep, I can be one annoyed woman! (My husband and I share about this in the podcast.)
Here’s one woman’s story.
I have some questions I am struggling with. I had been dating a guy for 3 years. This past September I decided to breakup with him because I did not feel he was a spiritual leader and loving me the way I loved him. He has pursued me relentlessly since then and really turned to the Lord. I see how God has grown and matured him and that he is stepping up to be the leader and completely loves me sacrificially now. However, it has been difficult for me because his family, whom I was very close to, was not happy with my decision to break up with him or how I handled things and has lost their trust for me.
What I love about him is his character and that he is hardworking, yet I can’t seem to shake some doubt- there are little quirks and things he does that bother me….should these annoyances about some of his personality be a red flag or should I learn to be patient and love everything about him? I believe that we don’t have soul mates and there isn’t just the “one”, but that person becomes the one when you say “I do.” I don’t want to be afraid of hardships, but I have seen so many marriages fail and I want to be sure.
Click below to hear my response.
If you can’t view the podcast player in your email, click here to listen in: Red Flags in a relationship.
Eric: And before you start in I’m going to talk a little bit about this because I was that husband and I’m sure I still am, that has quirks that you had issue with before we got married.
Jolene: Oh yeah!
Eric: I want you to talk about the relationship between quirks and annoyances.
Jolene: Yes. I think I even broke up with you over some of those quirks because I was like…
Eric: I don’t remember that. I don’t remember you ever breaking up with me. That’s ridiculous. (smiling).
Jolene: Ha! You’re in denial about that, and that’s ok. I fully understand the question. You’ve got two parts; You’ve got the family issue which, ya know, that’s their own stupid issue. I mean, it’s kind of like just let it go. Obviously, if they want to condemn you they’re going to have a rough road if you do decide to marry because you’re going to be in-laws. You can’t change them. I wouldn’t even seek to please them. I would just walk that walk, pleasing the Lord and however they feel about it, they have to get over it. Especially if they are believers. They’ve got to get over it.
And I can say, obviously I’ve got teen sons here and as a mama you don’t want them hurt, but I’m not their Savior. Your boyfriend’s parents are not your boyfriend’s Savior and so forth. You’ve just got to let that go and leave it as it is.
Eric: By the way, before you start in, I want to say that you are the perfect person for this question because you are easily annoyed. Do you agree?
Jolene: Oh yeah! I’m definitely, easily annoyed.
Eric: As a matter of fact, four days into our honeymoon what did you say to me?
Jolene: I think it was three days in. (laughing)
Eric: I’m sorry, three days in into our honeymoon…
Jolene: We had just come back from a run, and we were sitting on the little condo steps there and I just had this thought and I verbalized it and I said, “Wow! You’ve been with me three days now and you haven’t annoyed me yet.”
Eric: And you were surprised about that?
Jolene: Ha ha ha…I was. And I don’t know that most brides would have said that but I did. Yeah so, I understand where the reader is coming from but here’s what I love about what you’ve written- “That you love his character.” Character is key. Character is a big, big deal. Obviously, the next step is the personality. You’ve got to connect with the personality. Then you’ve got the disciplines and habits and lifestyles, and of course, you know there are some of those things they do in life that may annoy you. But is it the personality that annoys you or the habits? So you have to be able to discern that as a Christian woman because, here’s what I see. When I was a single woman and dating Eric, one of the reasons I broke up with him was the quirks., I thought he had the character.
Eric: I don’t remember that.
Jolene: Ha! He had the character, we connected personality-wise, but he had some quirks I was like, “I don’t know if I want to live with this for the rest of my life.” For the rest of my life! This man, according to the Word of God, was designed to lead me and I’m thinking, “OK. For the rest of my stinking life, do I want to be lead by this?” So I had to really ask myself those questions. Obviously, I guarded my heart to where I didn’t fall in love with him until we were engaged, which I know makes absolutely no sense. I’ll put the links to my story up on the blog where I shared my whole dating experience with him. But I didn’t want my emotions to govern this decision, and obviously in this case you don’t want yours as well, but you do need to discern: “Hey, can I live with these personality quirks for the rest of my life or is it a deal breaker?” I can’t answer that question. Only the person that’s dating can say, “Yeah, that’s a little quirk. We’re different.” I have a girlfriend who’s got quirks like I’m sure all friends do…we all have quirks, but are those quirks so huge that it’s just like, “I cannot spend any time with these people anymore?”
Eric: Let me ask you a question though. She mentions quirks but she also mentions annoyances. As a person who is easily annoyed why are you not annoyed with me because Lord knows I annoy a lot of people.
Jolene: I don’t…
Eric: What is your view towards me compared to maybe your boys?
Jolene: My boys. Ok. I see what you’re saying. I don’t look at my husband’s annoyance. I don’t dwell on it. Now, could I? YES, I’m a human being. I ‘m a woman that I could easily dwell on that but, I know that would tear down our marriage and it would lend to disrespect. So once I embrace disrespect in my marriage then you could forget the whole marriage bed happening because it ain’t happening. If a woman loses respect for her guy that’s a big deal. There is no romance that we want to have whatsoever. I just kind of learned that you’re not perfect, and we are different, and we’re going to do things different and so I just don’t go there in my mind.
Now with my boys, they may annoy me more easily, or I might dwell on it more because I’m their mom who is shaping a life. So with Eric, I’m his wife. I’m not shaping him. I influence him but I don’t shape him because I’m not his mother. With my sons, I am their mom. I am shaping them. I’m trying to have them walk down a certain path and obviously I want to make sure that I don’t become this perfectionist mom that’s just destroying their spirit. So if part of your guy’s quirks or his personality you want to make sure that you can accept that. If you can’t’ accept that, you know, for the rest of your life, then you shouldn’t marry. But if it’s some habits that he does that he could overcome then I might ask him that. Obviously, again, you’re not there to parent. You’re there to just say, hey I’m struggling in this area.
But then you reverse it. Often. Often. Often a woman will come to me with her issues and I think, ok, put the shoe on the other foot. How would you feel if this were your guy saying this about you? Usually when that takes place then there’s a lot more grace in your mind and you’re just asking, “Oh I pray that he would be more gracious towards me.” That’s my thought on that. We all have quirks.
Eric: I have one more thing to add about that. From my viewpoint people aren’t very interesting unless they do have quirks.
Jolene: Right. Right.
Eric: And so, part of my enjoyment being married to you is embracing your quirks. I get a kick out of your quirks, I mean otherwise you wouldn’t be very interesting.
Jolene: Right. Right. And I think part of it too is when you talk about, this is where I was as a single woman, ‘cause again, its for the rest of your life, I’m thinking, “OK we’re supposed to blend into one. How do I embrace these quirks?” It took me a while, and my good friend one time, it was her husband who said I should become a biologist. I’m like, “What are you talking about?” And he said, “Well you’re dissecting your guy. You’re dissecting him piece by piece,” and it didn’t occur to me that yes, that’s what I was doing because the reality is, there is no such thing as a perfect guy or a perfect gal.
So you ask, “Are these red flags?” I can’t tell you if they are red flags. Only you can decide if they’re a deal breaker. If you can’t deal with them for the rest of your life then you might want to end the relationship, and leave it at that. But if this is a guy that makes you a better Christian woman, (obviously those quirks can certainly cause you to become more gracious.) Often times as that Christian single gal, we’re always looking to find that perfect one and that doesn’t exist because the marital relationship should design you to be better as a couple in Christ. That’s my thought on that.
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