1: You’re having major, recurring, obsessive doubts:
When it comes to love, almost every single person will have a doubt at some point in their relationship. It’s normal to have moments of doubt, to get cold feet every once-in-awhile, and to feel a little nervous when it comes to thinking through the potential of lifelong marriage. But in a healthy relationship, time will always decrease doubts and fears. As time passes, the level of doubt and fear should not increase, but decrease. As you see your partner’s traits and qualities slowly unfold, the right relationship will move you into peace not panic.
If you’re having constant, recurring, obsessive doubts it’s a signal that either something is wrong in the relationship, or something is wrong within your self. Maybe it’s your personal past or baggage holding you back and causing you fear (see point #5), or maybe there’s something going on in the relationship that’s continually causing you to rethink your decision. Or maybe you’re struggling with clinical anxiety that’s starting to impact your relationship. But either way, recurring, constant doubts are never something you should ignore – but instead, seek to get to the bottom of and work through.
2: You’re caught in patterns of unhealthy conflict and communication:
I always say that communication is the life-line of a relationship. Your words are a pathway into your soul, and being able to connect on a daily basis is an important part of marriage. If you find yourself in a relationship where communication doesn’t come easy, and where things tend to escalate into unhealthy patterns of unresolved arguments and unhealthy conflict, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself if this is really something you want to commit to for the rest of your life.
3: You see continued signs of major character flaws:
In my book, True Love Dates, I explain that in a healthy relationship perfection is not the goal, but rather, perspective. But there are times in a relationship when things are actually FAR from perfect. If you’re in a relationship in which you’re seeing patterns of unhealthy behaviors emerge, there’s a good chance these behaviors are going to stick around for the long haul. Things such as dishonesty, rage, infidelity, addictions, and the like are patterns that point to a deeper issue. Without a doubt, these things need to be dealt with and overcome before you should ever enter into marriage.
4: Your most trusted friends and family are giving you repeated warnings to rethink your decision:
When it comes to relationships, oftentimes we’re blinded by love. There could be flaws and red flags that we don’t see because our emotions are leading the way. But an important component to a healthy marriage is having a supportive community: people who love you, believe in you, and support your relationship. Friends and family often see things that we’re blind to. So if you find yourself in a relationship in which your friends and family aren’t on board, I would highly suggest you take their feedback into consideration. Invite some trusted people to speak into your life, and then take the time to listen to what they’re saying before you move forward in haste.
5: You have significant emotional or psychological baggage that you’ve ignored in your personal life:
Like I said before, none of us are perfect. We all have habits and hangups that we’re dealing with and trying to move away from. But there are some issues that are more severe than others and can actually get in the way of a healthy relationship. If you find that your past baggage, or current habits, sins, and struggles are getting in the way of your ability to function well in a relationship, you need to take the time to work on yourself before you try and work on your relationship. In True Love Dates, I discuss the importance of “dating inward” as a significant part of the equation of a healthy relationship. Deal with your past baggage, understand your identity in the present, and cast a vision for your future. The ability to give the real love described in scripture is contingent on your ability to love yourself: that includes taking care of your health. Because you will always attract a relationship that’s on YOUR level of psychological and emotional health.