7 Non-Negotiables In Every Relationship

It’s not as simple as just making sure they go to church.

Many 20- and 30-somethings are looking for “the one.”

And regardless of whether they exist in such a way, the idea of entering a relationship has become so romanticized that a casual date can lead to thoughts of wedding bells.

Before you enter a relationship, in fact, before you set foot on the dating scene, you need to consider what qualities and attributes God wants for you in a life partner. And we’re not talking physical attributes like “blond hair, blue-eyed, 6-foot-1-inch tall worship leader with an attractive amount of stubble.”

We’re talking deal-breakers that will define a relationship and, should you choose to marry that person, your life.

If you’re already in a relationship, how you deal with differences in core values may vary due to the unique nature of each couple. However, if you’re single, there are some baseline non-negotiables to wrap your head around before you enter a relationship.

Religious beliefs

We’ve all read the verse that says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) To be honest, we’ve all questioned it at least once. So it begs the question: What does it really mean to be “equally yoked” in a relationship?

It’s not as simple as finding out whether someone is a Christian or not. It’s about how this is expressed in their life. Do they have a relationship with Jesus? Can you see good fruit coming from their life that reflects their intimacy with God? And does their behavior line up both outside of church and in Christian circles?

These may be hard questions to answer—especially when you’re interested in someone—but it’s best to determine what being “equally yoked” means to you before you are swept up in romance and a deal-breaker becomes a “maybe.”

Sex

Make your mind up about sex before you begin exploring these boundaries, otherwise the decision is made for you. The Bible asks us to remain abstinent until marriage. (1 Corinthians 6: 18-20) In fact, it actually tells us to “flee sexual immorality,” so values around sex go further than just sleeping together.

You need to decide where “the line” is, and find someone who will respect this. You need to set up boundaries that will help you honor one another.

[Marriage] is no small privilege, so don’t rush yourself or compromise and rush into a covenant of sacrifice before you are ready to or just to meet the status quo.

There’s so much to discuss in this area including sexual history, boundaries around pornographic images, sexting. Sexuality isn’t just about the physical but everything that engages that part of who we are.

Prayerfully consider what maintaining your purity looks like and seek someone who shares these values.

Children

In most cases, it’s best to hold off on conversations about children until you know your relationship could be headed somewhere. However, it’s still essential to know if you want children. This will determine what sort of family values a potential partner must hold.

Consider the number of children you’d like to have (if any), and be certain on your views surrounding contraception, adoption and fertility treatments as well. Details and numbers can change over time, but your family values shouldn’t.

As you become more serious, details about how you want to raise a family will also become deal breakers. Psalm 22:6 instructs parents to “start children off on the way they should go.” Make sure you have a united front with the future parent of your children so you can direct and nurture them in God’s love.

Political views

Politics can seem secondary to life-altering decisions like getting married and having kids, but it still plays a role in a healthy relationship. Ask yourself: Is it important that a potential partner shares the same political views as you? Does this translate to how they choose to vote (if at all), and how would this impact your future children?

Beyond party lines, consider your views on abortion, same-sex marriage, global warming, incarceration and global injustice. You’ll want to agree with your future spouse on most, if not all, of these issues.

Jesus prayed that the church “may be one" just as He is in the Father (John 17: 21), and this goes for a relationship as well—it is essential a couple be united by their love for God. If politics is a contentious issue for you, then the ideology of a potential partner must match your own. Couples can, and will, disagree on things, but it’s essential they respect each other enough to allow for their differences and still stand united.

Respect

A healthy relationship of any sort is built on mutual respect. If someone doesn’t respect you with their words, behaviors and actions now, then chances are they won’t when you build a life together.

We are asked to “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10), then it stands to reason that mutual respect is essential in marriage.

Be aware of your worth as a human being and as God’s child, and don’t be afraid to look for someone who will show this to you in a relationship. Your core beliefs around respecting yourself, others and the people you love will automatically filter out anyone who doesn’t value people or relationships in the same way.

Gender roles

It goes without saying that you deserve to be with someone who sees you as an equal—after all, we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28) and made in His image (Genesis 1:27). However, knowing where you stand on gender roles will play a fundamental role in any future relationships you have.

Do your research and read books on the subject. I recommend The Liberating Truth by Danielle Strickland. Also pray, meditate on the Bible and talk about it with couples you respect.

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Your stance on women’s and men’s roles in the church, home, workplace and during sex will ultimately dictate what sort of ideals and behaviors you are looking for in a partner. A couple can still function if they disagree on this, but there must be some sort of compromise as this will dictate every aspect of your life and your relationship.

Marriage

Contrary to popular belief, a date over coffee doesn’t equate to marriage.

However, your values around marriage need to be identified early on in a relationship.

Do you want to get married? Is this something you want in your immediate future, or do you have plans to fly solo for a few years? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, someone else will answer them for you. This could lead to an environment of distrust, doubt and frustration that won’t just hurt you but also the person you’re dating.

Ultimately, marriage is about serving your spouse.

Husbands are asked to love their wives, and wives are asked to submit to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-27) This is no small privilege, so don’t rush yourself or compromise and rush into a covenant of sacrifice before you are ready to or just to meet the status quo.

Top Comments

Taya Drape

1

Taya Drape commented…

What does the writer mean by working out gender roles for 'during sex'...

What does this mean?

I don't get what this means at all.

Two married people trying to pleasure & make each other happy.

What more is there to it?

I'm genuinely confused.

Dave de Haan

4

Dave de Haan replied to Adam's comment

'Blaming' others for your own struggles is not really a good thing there. Especially when you point out that its even worse because it is a Christian website (or person..).

While for some men (or women) its a trigger to see more skin (bare arms or shoulders, or more of course), others got triggered into temptations by a certain smile, age, posture, move or characteristics... Then where is that line between 'good' and 'bad'?

Dealing with the beauty of our sisters and our own struggles that come along is an important topic, i admit. But if something is tempting you, see that as an opportunity to deal with it, instead of blaming others.Talk about it, give words to what you feel and point them straight to God, admit that it does something to you and you are getting stronger and stronger because God wil give strength to the ones who speak out there heart and searches for Him. Light, brother, thats what it may see, these temptations your facing (and I am also speaking to myself).

7 Comments

Adam

1

Adam commented…

As a husband who tries to avoid temptation in the barrage of sexualized media, I am disappointed with the cover photo of this article. Our culture is so saturated with liberal ideals that I cannot even visit a Christian website without being met with immodest images.

Dave de Haan

4

Dave de Haan replied to Adam's comment

'Blaming' others for your own struggles is not really a good thing there. Especially when you point out that its even worse because it is a Christian website (or person..).

While for some men (or women) its a trigger to see more skin (bare arms or shoulders, or more of course), others got triggered into temptations by a certain smile, age, posture, move or characteristics... Then where is that line between 'good' and 'bad'?

Dealing with the beauty of our sisters and our own struggles that come along is an important topic, i admit. But if something is tempting you, see that as an opportunity to deal with it, instead of blaming others.Talk about it, give words to what you feel and point them straight to God, admit that it does something to you and you are getting stronger and stronger because God wil give strength to the ones who speak out there heart and searches for Him. Light, brother, thats what it may see, these temptations your facing (and I am also speaking to myself).

Carolyn Robe

119

Carolyn Robe replied to Dave de Haan's comment

Golly I looked at the picture and did not even notice the "immodesty." Interesting..In some cultures showing an ankle is immodest and the modesty police whip the ankles of someone revealing themselves in this way (!)Saudi Arabia. Could it be that "modesty" is in the eye of the beholder? Who is being sexualized....I applaud women who choose to be modest, whatever that means.

Michael Johnson

289

Michael Johnson commented…

Great thoughts! Sharing this post with the Future Marriage University (FMU) community at https://www.facebook.com/FMUniversity. The wise individual will think thoroughly though these issues BEFORE they date. Not figure it out on the fly. That's why we exist. Thanks for writing this.

Taya Drape

1

Taya Drape commented…

What does the writer mean by working out gender roles for 'during sex'...

What does this mean?

I don't get what this means at all.

Two married people trying to pleasure & make each other happy.

What more is there to it?

I'm genuinely confused.

Royce E. Van Blaricome

48

Royce E. Van Blaricome commented…

My first thought as I started to read this article was "Who wrote this and what are their qualifications?" Can't read the whole Bio on the author but I do question how much experience and qualification a "twenty-something" person has to counsel others on something as significant and important as Marriage.

That said, I decided to read the article. The first Red Flag came with "The Bible asks us to remain celibate until marriage." Uh, NO!! The Bible - God's Word - COMMANDS us to remain celibate until marriage.

Then the next big Red Flag came with "You need to decide" and "There’s so much to discuss in this area including sexual history, boundaries around pornographic images, sexting. Sexuality isn’t just about the physical but everything that engages that part of who we are. Prayerfully consider what maintaining your purity looks like and seek someone who shares these values."

Didn't even bother to read anything more in the article. There is NOTHING Biblical about that counsel.

Uh, NO! YOU do NOT need to decide about what pornographic images are acceptable or not, whether sexting is appropriate, etc. You ONLY need to decide to OBEY what God has said.

Very sad to see this magazine put forth such ungodly counsel. Especially since it likely is directed toward young people. This country and this world has enough Jory Micah's - those young, self-appointed "ministers" that are actually false teachers and apostates who give ungodly counsel that leads people to Hell. I hope and pray anyone who reads this article will also read Prov. 14:12, 1st Cor. 6:9-11, and Rev. 21:8.

Rebecca LaMartiniere

1

Rebecca LaMartiniere commented…

The Psalm 22:6 reference under the paragraph about "Children" should actually be Proverbs 22:6.

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