Nicole from Columbia City, Oregon asks, “Do you have a list of things to talk about or ask when getting to know someone – especially a Christian man? I was just curious. :)”Let’s explore this topic of getting to know someone and what to talk about when getting to know your dating partner.
It seems like many relationships begin backwards. Among American young people, often physical affection precedes a solid relationship. A guy and girl may find themselves holding hands, hugging or kissing, and then decide they want to pursue a relationship. Often, these relationships, having started on the wrong foot, don’t last. If they do last, they usually experience a lot of difficulties along the way because the foundation for their relationship is so weak.
As a young person, I went through my share of backwards relationships, and they ended up being emotional train wrecks. When I met Eric, he handled our friendship in a way that I’d never seen firsthand. He got to know me for a long time before he pursued anything more than friendship. Because of this, our relationship – and subsequently, marriage – had a firm foundation and we were able to withstand early challenges that many relationships face.
During our friendship, we talked… a lot. We talked about where we wanted to be years down the road. We talked about our families, our influences, and our spiritual background. We talked some about past relationships and what we learned from them. By the time we moved from friendship to courtship, I felt like I’d known Eric for years. I felt comfortable with him and not like I had to put on a performance to keep him interested.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe your past relationships have begun on the wrong foot and you’re ready for a godly relationship with a strong foundation. First stop on this relationship train: physical purity. I urge you to keep yourself physically pure. No matter how attracted you are to a potential mate, keep yourself from engaging in physical activity with him or her. I’m sure many potentially good relationships have been ruined by engaging in a physical relationship too soon (not only sex, but sometimes even an activity as innocent as holding hands). Once you begin touching each other, even innocently, your logic goes out the window. Save anything physical until after you have come to know each other as good friends. (I can hear someone saying, “Well, how would I know if our chemistry will work together if we don’t touch?” The answer is: the more meaningful the relationship, the more emotionally-bonding touch will be… so, don’t worry about it – you’ll be just fine when the time comes.)
So, how do you get to know each other then? The best way to begin is in groups. This takes the pressure off of you to make conversation with just one person. While getting to know someone in a group setting, there are some questions you can ask when wanting to know him or her better. It’s good to ask them to share about their lives up to this point; however, it’s important not to share too many intimate details, because sharing too much, too soon can cause intimacy to form too quickly before either of you are ready to commit to each other.
One of the first things I would want to know is how they came to know the Lord. Ask him or her to share their testimony with you, along with their spiritual heritage. (And while you are at it, see if his or her story of regeneration lines up with what the Bible says should happen when true repentance occurs. Don’t know that answer yourself? Now is a good time to study!) Is he or she the first generation in the family to receive Christ or did someone in his or her family influence his or her beliefs?
Additionally, you will want to ask more about his or her family. It is not only good to hear about family, but watching his or her interaction with family will tell you a lot about the type of husband/wife and father/mother he or she is likely to be. You will also want to ask who it was that influenced him or her the most and why.
Getting to know someone’s life goals (or learning the lack thereof) is also very important. Without goals, people wander through life with no vision. Someone may seem bright eyed and full of life in his or her youth, but if after talking to him or her you find no aspirations for the future, you can bank on that vitality slipping away as the years press on. You don’t want to consider marriage to someone who has no goals.
After finding out what his or her goals are, you will want to know the plan he or she has to reach them. Where does he or she plan to be in 10, 20, and 30 years (given that their plan is in line with what God will do in his or her life)? Goals are a great first step, but having a plan to complete them is vital. It’s not hard to have goals, but it takes effort to achieve them. You’ll want to know that he or she has the tenacity to follow through. Life never goes exactly the way we plan, but without a plan, we flounder through life.
Along with personal goals, you will want to know what calling God has on his or her life. Does he or she know? If not, be careful – such a revelation can drastically alter the course of a marriage. Does his or her personal goals match the calling God has placed on his or her life?
After getting to know each other well, it is okay to begin asking deeper questions. Before engagement, you will want to discuss views on children, politics, theology/church denominations, where he or she is planning to live/physical location, views on money and how to manage it, and family interaction… just to name a few. Once you know you are heading towards marriage, begin thinking of more questions to ask – some serious and some just for fun. Never quit asking each other questions. You will grow to know your future spouse over the years, but there will always be something new to discover.
Once you both believe there is a potential future for you two, we recommend good pre-engagement and premarital counseling to dive deep. It is so very important to learn all you can about each other before the wedding – and trust me, no matter how much you learn before the wedding, you’ll have plenty more to learn afterwards.
(If you have a question about relationships you would like answered on PreEngaged.com, please contact us!)
What questions are on your list to find out more about your boyfriend/girlfriend… fiancé/fiancée… husband/wife?