4 Seemingly Obvious Red Flags in Relationships

2:05 PM


In dating, a little bit of anxiety can be helpful. A lot of people are concerned about red flags they should look out for while dating so that they don’t end of marrying a jerk. Who you marry is the most important decision you will make in life and so you should be a bit cautious. Before listing a few red flags, two points must be made. First: if you are blinded by love, you won’t see any red flags. In another FAQ, we discuss how you can navigate the dating process without losing your mind. That is more critical than looking for specific red flags to avoid, because if truth be known, it won’t matter what red flags are present if “love” has hijacked your capacity to see and think clearly.

Second, there are very few absolute red flags. What might be considered a red flag for one person may not be a red flag for another. What I will list below are several attitudes or behaviors that will make it difficult to establish a solid marriage if they are patterns in a person’s life. Any one of us might fall into some of the attitudes or behaviors infrequently. What you need to be looking for are patterns.

Okay, so assuming your mind is engaged in the dating process, here are a few things to look out for:


  •        Inconsistencies between what they say and do. I know this sounds obvious, but these types of inconsistencies really reveal the strength of one’s character.  If you have any concerns about one’s character, it’s time to slow down the relationship.

  •       How they treat other people: parents, siblings, roommates, friends, opposite sex, children, strangers, etc. Again, this isn’t rocket science, but you would be surprised how many girls assume she is dating a really nice guy because he treats her well. Very few people treat their romantic partner poorly in the initial phases of a relationship. Early in a relationship you will learn much more about a person in observing how he or she treats other people than you. How your partner treats other people will, over time, be more predictive of how he treats you in the future.

  •       A lack of DATMAKC. A lack of what? I got this acronym from a colleague who teaches religion. It stands for Demonstrated Ability To Make and Keep Covenants. In my opinion, this is the most important thing to look for in a prospective spouse. Therefore, a lack of DATMAKC is a red flag and must be taken seriously. How do you know if they have a demonstrated ability to make and keep covenants? Pay attention to how they feel about and respond to the promises they have made: commitments to you, school, friends, the Honor Code, and obviously the Lord. We are not looking for perfection, but if you see a lack of DATMAKC, I would think twice about pursuing the relationship.

  •       How he or she uses their time, money, and choices. These three elements: time, money, choices are the biggest indicators of what matters most in our lives. Who or what we really worship is reflected most in what we do with our time, money, and choices.

While this brief list is helpful, the only way to get an accurate feel on who your partner really is and who they will be as a spouse is to be thoughtful, thorough, and careful in your dating relationships.

For more information, you might check out this book: How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk by Dr. John Van Epp

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