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April 02, 2024

Dating: What to Look for in the Right Person

My friend Heidi once told me, "The difference between the wrong man and the right man is like the difference between the darkest night and the brightest day." Choose the wrong one and you'll have heartache. Choose the right one and you'll have a better relationship.

But how do you find the "right" one, the one best suited for you?

In order to make choices that lead to a healthier relationship, it's important to know the characteristics you want—and don't want—in another person. Are you clear on what you're looking for? What is your criteria in helping you decide?

Think about the people you've dated in the past. What do you want to be different next time? What needs to change?

Create a vision for where you're heading in future relationships. Start by writing a brief list of things you need. For instance:

• I want someone who's consistent in their words and actions; not undependable.
• I want someone who will make time for our relationship; not work overtime every night.
• I want someone to do service projects with me (like serving at a soup kitchen) because helping others is important to me.

There are many essential traits to look for in someone to date, and eventually, in a life partner. Here are five C's to consider: Christian, Communication, Character, Chemistry, and Calling.

1. Christian. If you are a person of faith, you'll want to be with a person who shares your core values. Being a Christian means that the other person has a committed walk with God. He or she has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, and they're on a path of growing spiritually.

What do you want in a person to date in this area: Someone who will attend church with you every Sunday? Pray together as a couple? (These characteristics should be near the top of your list.) Everyone is at a different place in their spiritual journey. Think about what's important to you, and how you may want to live out your spiritual life with another person.

2. Communication is key to any good relationship. It's talking and listening, building rapport and intimacy, sharing, and more. What kind of communication is important to you in a relationship? Are you comfortable going deep in conversation, or do you prefer to stay in the shallow end? What does "good communication" mean to you?

I remember a dreadful date with a man who did not talk to me on the entire date. Or, at least most of it was silent. Ron (not his real name) was a man from church with whom I'd spoken to a few times. We had mutual friends and saw each other at singles events. One Sunday afternoon we drove two hours to attend an NFL football game and he was completely silent throughout the entire drive and the game—including halftime! I told myself that day that I needed a man who would not only talk, but be a good communicator.

3. Character refers to his temperament, personality and moral fiber. Does he have integrity? Does his keep his promises? How do your personalities mesh? Do you have temperaments that are complementary? Someone with good character will be honest, dependable, compassionate, and loyal. Think about what character qualities are important to you in a person to date.

4. Chemistry is another word for attraction—both physical and emotional attraction. Is he handsome in your eyes? Does she have features that appeal to you? Is there that intangible "something" that makes you click as a couple? Of course, chemistry is important in a relationship, but don't base your choice solely on someone's looks. True beauty is more than a perfect smile or fit body. It's both the outer and inner qualities, and how that person relates to you and makes you feel.

5. Calling is the term I use for God's vision for your relationship. Has God called you to connect with this person? And, in the future, is He calling you to marriage, to be a life partner with this person? You can have all four of the five C's listed here, but if "calling" is not there, it won't work.

For instance, I went out with a guy a few times and learned he was mission-minded. That was great, except for the fact that he wanted to be a full-time missionary in Africa for the rest of his life. I knew it wouldn't work because God was not calling me to move to the other side of the world. God had another path for me.

When you have a better idea of what you're looking for in someone to date, you're closer to finding a person with whom you can connect with and enjoy. You have a road map, a guide, to position yourself in the right direction and help you reach your final destination: healthy and lasting love.