be a missionary or inner-city worker living on a limited income, you must share that goal. Or if you are going to pursue graduate school, then you both must share that goal, because it will call for great sacrifices in the relationship. Interests and goals need to be taken seriously. Not only do they dictate the way you spend your time and maybe even your life, they also reveal who you really are as a person. If you don’t know what your goals are, be careful of getting seriously involved with someone. Their goals should not become your goals by default. Know yourself first. Be aware of how differences in interests and goals are going to affect how you spend your time and resources. Don’t lie to yourself about interests and goals not mattering to you. They do, and you need to consider the impact that they will have on your relationship.
Common Values The third area where preferences are important is the area of character. Someone’s character is
what you are going to experience if you stay in a relationship very long. It is going to be what you abide with, bump into, develop around, share with, receive from, grow with, and so on. If that character is full of good things, then the fruit of your relationship will be good. But if that character is full of thorns and thistles, then you are going to suffer. Believe it, as Jesus said, “a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). To search for character that shows the fruit of the Spirit — love, patience, kindness, and so forth — would be a good dating goal.
Minor Imperfections You Can Live With No one is perfect. Every person that you date will be a person who will sin and let you down. However, as you evaluate the people you date, remember a few things. First, there are sinners that you can live with. Those are people who have the ability to see when they have wronged you, to confess it, to 45
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Trinitarian Magazine Issue 4/2011