One thing I often hear is “If I only knew!” Well, there are some ways you can know. You just have to know what to look for. The clues are there hidden in plain sight.
A friend, Janna, once shared how her husband was abusive. How does one not see the signs? I’ll tell you how, my friend. When we are considering a relationship to another, they will often put their best mask just for you. Sometimes they don’t even know that certain seeds of truth are even growing inside of them until they are in a similar situation. If my friend had noticed the one glaringly loud warning sign, she could have save herself years of trouble. The problem is that even when the signs start showing, we are looking at it through rose colored glasses. Janna often commented how her, then boyfriend, would complain about his father abusing his mother.
And that, my friends, is the smoking gun!
Another problem is that our self esteem is so low that as soon as one person is showing interest, we are all to willing to sell out our self-respect. Janna thought no other prospect would ever show up, so she settled.
As women, we also don’t realize that a fairy tale ending is just that – a fairy tale. True love is not a bunch of hasty words spoken in the heat of the moment. True love is much more than that. For one, love needs to be identified as a verb because true love is what you have through the darkest time of your life. How much you are willing to humble yourself to possibly actually have to take physical care of someone you say you love because they are physically unable to do so. Clean them up after they have just lost bowel control….Change a bloody dressing…. Brush their teeth…. hold their hair back while they are vomiting over and over again.
My third grade teacher ended up in the nursing home, a victim of dementia… and every single day her husband was there by her side. He would help to care for her and take her for walks or outings. He would feed her and sit there and hold her hand – even when she no longer recognized him. He did this for years before she finally succumbed to the disease that had already claimed her mind.
So what’s a girl to do? How does one know if they should take it to the next level…. or to any level at all?
I have compiled ten items for you to think about. Consider. Maybe they are things you never thought about or put together but this list is merely to get you looking at the relationship from another perspective.
1. Does he like big families or small families?
Is his childhood filled with memories of playing and spending significant time with cousins. Did he have five sisters and eight brothers. Did he have more siblings than Peter Rabbit? If he is accustomed to large families than there is a very strong chance that he will not want to stop at two children. If he is used to small families and you are used to larger ones, you may want to have a serious talk about expectations.
2. How passionate is he about his church denomination or religion? Is he willing to leave his or would you be expected to go to his?
How strongly does he feel about his religious convictions? Would he succumb to family pressure to stay where he is? How open is he to trying your religion or denomination?
3. Is he a spender or saver?
Does money burn a hole in his pocket? How does his family handle money? Are they ones to fix things themselves or were they quick to call a repairman for even simple fixes? How does he feel about working on a budget together? How did his parents do it?
4. How did his father treat his mother? How does your intended treat his mother? Siblings?
The relationships of tomorrow are often based on the relationships of yesterday. Your future boyfriend and/or husband will default to what he has learned as a child. That is a bonified promise! He can’t help it. It is what he knows as a personal truth.
5. What does he think is a man’s or woman’s role in the house?
Believe it or not there are still men in the world who still believe the June Cleaver version is what is to be true. He feels the woman should take care of the house and the children… and him, of course, while he goes out and does manly things and I say that while sucking on a throat lozenge to keep from coughing too harshly at the absurdity.
6. Does his family spend a lot of time together?
To be honest, when I first started hanging with my husband’s family, they celebrated every single birthday together. It drove me crazy. I’m talking every cousin, sister, brother….. everyone! This is no longer the case but my point is that I was accustomed to birthdays not being such a big deal. We did not have a party for every birthday. Yes, we had cake, but no big family party.
7. Where is his ideal vacation spot? How did his family handle vacations?
My family went all over the US…. tenting as we went. My husband’s family rarely took vacations. For one, no one knew how to read a map, but vacations were not something they did.
8. Does he like animals? Are allergies to pets an issue?
If you can’t live without your sweet puppy, Fang, you better find a man who appreciates the dog’s finer qualities.
9. Do you share the same values?
The photo is more meant as a spoof but if you are pro-life and he is pro-choice, you may want to be prepared for this to pop up at the most inopportune and inconvenient time. Things you feel strongly about should also be shared by the one you have a relationship with. If not, chaos will ensue.
10. Does he respect you?
Does he take your feelings into consideration or are you just the chief cook and bottle washer who takes sole care of the kids and cleans the house? Does he give you some “me-time”? Or is that a foreign expression that have yet to cross your lips? If you are dating, does he respect the word, “No” if he pushes for more? Is he ever willing to sacrifice any of his interests so that you can pursue yours? Is he willing to compromise? Does he expect you to go way beyond even if you do not feel well? Does he hit you or demean you and call you names? Does he make you feel worthless? Does he want to be a boss without being a true leader? Does he inspire you to greatness or tear you down at every turn?
If you cannot feel good in any or all of these situations, perhaps this relationship is not for you.