Often in the quest towards marriage and finding “the one,” something happens. It’s easy to overlook things that may not seem that big of a deal while dating, but these things could be destructive patterns once married. But love doesn’t have to be blind. There’s no reason to settle for unhealthy or harmful relationships, simply to pursue being married.
What type of guy should a Christian woman look for if she wants to date and get married one day? While there are many qualities of a godly man that a Christian woman should look for in a husband, it is just as important to know what type of qualities you do not want to see in a guy.
We all have sin issues that we deal with on a daily basis. We’ve all made mistakes that we often wish we could do-over. We all need the grace and freedom that only Christ Himself can offer. But our marriages are healthier when we recognize red flags in our dating relationships, instead of choosing not to see problems at all.
So what are some Christian dating red flags that a woman should look for when she is interested in dating a man? Here are 12 types of guys Christian women should avoid.
1. The Shape Shifter Guy
The shape shifter is the type of guy who will say anything to get what he wants from a girl. This type of guy is especially dangerous for Christian women because it will be easy for the woman to like a guy who says all the right biblical words.
However, as Christians, we must be careful we are not tricked by someone’s words. We must also pay attention to the way they live their lives and what they say in other contexts (James 1:25). A shape shifter will be Baptist on Monday and a Catholic on Tuesday depending on what girl he is trying to impress.
Many times a Christian woman is so eager to find a husband, she is willing to date someone who at least says the right things. Often times she is also impressed by a man who is willing to take on her Christian convictions to be with her. However, a man who says he believes whatever you want him to believe so he can be with you is a dangerous man to date or marry.
You want a Christian man who would love and follow Christ even if you were not. If man is “following Christ” for your sake, he will stop following Christ whenever there is a problem between you and him. However when a true Christian husband has a problem with his wife, his Christian faith will be what keeps him going. Christ is the fuel for his love for his wife. His wife cannot be the fuel for his love for Christ.
2. The Unbeliever
Marriage can be hard enough at times, add to that the pressure of deeper spiritual disconnect, and you may be in big trouble when the normal stressors of life occur. Missionary dating and marriage will be a road of extra struggle. If you hold vastly different spiritual beliefs now, don’t falsely assume you’ll get him to “turn around,” or change his ways later. It may happen, but it may not. Be careful not to settle for less than what God would want for the spiritual health and care of your marriage.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? – 2 Cor. 6:14
3. The Apologizer Who Never Changes Guy
Another guy that Christian women should avoid dating is the guy who screws up, apologizes, and then keeps screwing up and apologizing over and over again. If you look for a perfect person to marry, you will remain single your whole life. You want a man who is humble and confesses his sins when he hurts you or does something wrong. But confession is not enough.
Within Christianity, confession is only part of true repentance. True biblical repentance means you turn the other direction and you seek to change your behavior. All people will make the same mistakes more than once most times in life. If a guy struggles with anger, it is unrealistic to think he will make one mistake, repent, and then never sin in anger again.
What should be expected of a godly man is someone who is improving and is on the road of sanctification. While his anger, for example, will not vanish overnight, he should be working on self-control every day so he will be getting better and better over time. Too many Christian women are willing to subject themselves to abusive men who say they are sorry only to continue in the cycle of abuse with no real repentance.
If you want a healthy Christian marriage, look for a godly man who not only apologizes but puts in the work to change so he does not hurt you over and over again with no improvement.
4. The Abuser
You are worth far too much to be abused by anyone. Ever. Move quickly away from anyone who brings you physical, verbal, or deep emotional harm. It’s not worth it to attach yourself to one who desperately needs help and freedom himself. You are not his saving grace. That is God’s work. Marriage is built on deep love and respect and this is most certainly no way to begin. See the warning signs for what they are. Believe you are valuable and precious to God. Say “no more” and move on.
The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. – Ps. 11:5
5. The Wanting to Be Mothered Guy
One guy that should be avoided and not dated is the man who wants to be mothered. Many women find a guy’s neediness and obsession with her flattering . . . at first. It feels good to be needed. Sometimes a guy like this masks his desire to mothered through playful baby talk and through jokingly asking for the woman’s tender affection. He wants to be soothed by her.
Overtime, this becomes odd, unhealthy, codependent behavior that is unfitting for a man of God. God has called a Christian husband to sacrificially lead his wife. A man who wants to be mothered is not capable to fulfill his duties as a Christian husband and father. Going to work, disciplining children, and making sure his family is well taken care of on a daily bases is hard. It is joyful but it is a lot of work. A man who wants to be mothered just won’t cut it.
6. The Addict
This man needs freedom that can only come by admitting there’s a problem and seeking counseling, professional help, and the strength that God can bring. Addiction to alcohol, drugs, or pornography will lead to destruction. And though your relationship may seem to challenge him in the right direction, don’t be fooled that he’ll so quickly “give it all up for you,” without the aid and accountability of professional help. You are not the one to set him free and your role is not to try to change him. Only God can.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Cor. 6:12
7. The Control Freak Guy
The overly controlling guy should always be seen as a red flag to a Christian woman who wants a healthy marriage one day. At first, his attention and desire to know everything can be seen as a positive. Who doesn’t want to be well looked after and cared for? However, the control freak takes it way too far. His motive for knowing everything is not based in a desire to serve but in a desire to control and dominant a woman’s life.
The control freak does not get better with time. He gets worse. He doesn’t relax with the more information you give him. He gets more frustrated and creates new reasons in his mind to be paranoid. Control freaks have often been betrayed in the past so they are very skeptical and want to avoid getting hurt again. So they try to control everything to keep themselves safer. Control freaks are often very narcissistic and want everyone’s worlds to revolve around them.
Do not date a control freak. If someone is being too intrusive, attempt to set new healthy boundaries with this person. If they respect those new boundaries and do better, perhaps they are not really a control freak and they just needed some clarity on what’s okay and what’s not okay. But if this person cannot respect your boundaries in Christian dating, don’t think that marriage will change anything. It’s best to increase your boundaries with someone like this by breaking up and removing them from your life.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. – James 3:16
8. The Narcissist
If your boyfriend cares more about what he looks like in the mirror on any given day, than what you do, or can’t seem to get enough of his “greatness,” you may have trouble ahead. No matter how handsome, talented, and charming one may seem, marriage is built on the word “together.” If the relationship before marriage seems a bit one-sided, emphasis on “his side,” it may be destined for struggle. Your life should be greatly cherished by the man who calls you his wife. Humility, compassion, love, and respect towards others are much more admirable characteristics than simply the externals.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. – 2 Tim. 3:2-5
9. The Insanely Insecure Guy
There are many other types of guys to avoid in Christian dating as a woman, but one of the guys you should really look out for is the insanely insecure guy. Every human, including good Christian men, struggle with insecurities from time to time.
That is not what I am referring to. I’m talking about the guy that needs daily, intense reminders that you still like him. If this guy is constantly needing his ego stroked and is completely basing his self-worth in how you view him, this is a recipe for disaster.
A good Christian husband must have his identity rooted in Christ first and foremost. To lead well, he must know that he has a strength and value to offer even when there is an issue between you two. One of the core ingredients to a strong Christian man is being secure with himself because of his confidence in Christ’s transforming gospel work in his life.
So if you are a Christian woman who wants to date and marry a godly Christian man, look for a guy who truly loves Jesus and has his identity rooted in Christ.
10. The One with Destructive Money or Work Habits
If you’re supporting your boyfriend and paying for everything now – this may not change much later. Is he a hard worker? Does he have a job? Is he a workaholic? Does he have secretive spending habits? Addiction to gambling? Insurmountable debt? Once married, these patterns can worsen when the stressors of family life and responsibilities mount high. Money problems and financial struggles are one of the main causes of divorce. Have the discussions before you’re married. Decide upfront if the two of you can agree on the big issues.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Prov. 13:20
11. The Flirt, Cheat, Tempter
Behaviors established before marriage are not going to magically go away once you say “I do.” Sexual sin can be a deep trap of the enemy and once ensnared in these destructive patterns, they are difficult to break. The mistakes of the past should hold no control over our present and future. Watch for behaviors that signal trouble. Is he respectful to women? Does he flirt with your best friend or the waitress at dinner? Is he begging you to sleep with him? Red flag. Be careful that you have wisdom to see the true heart before you enter covenant relationship with one entrenched in sexual sin. You are worthy of respect, the one who loves you, will wait for you.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. – 1 Cor. 6:18
12. The Liar
Every marriage must be built on trust. Without this as a firm foundation, you’re in for trouble from the beginning. So what about those “little white lies” you started noticing along the way? In reality, there’s no such thing as little white lies. Any lie is meant to hide, deceive, or manipulate truth. There is no room for dishonesty in a healthy, loving relationship. It’s a dangerous trap and you will always be left wondering what he’s hiding.
A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.– Prov. 19:9
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