A young friend on Facebook recently changed her relationship status to "single." I am afraid we inundated her with congratulations and advice rather than sympathy. Rather than overburden her or any one else on FB, I have been thinking through things I'd like to tell Ellen when she gets up to dating age.
Right now you are only 4, almost 5 years old here in a little over 3 months. Your biggest worries are keeping your toys (I am constantly trying to get you to weed them out), wanting a new DVD to watch on the computer (we don't have a TV), and wanting to know what we are going to do on the next day. But a day will come when you will start thinking about boys. You will want to date them, maybe. Then eventually you may want to get married.
There are reams of books and advice out there on relationships. But there are a few things I wanted to tell you.
Here are the first three; the most critical things you ought to look for in a mate:
First off. Make sure he's a Christian. A solid Christian. That is the most solid foundation for a relationship that you can have. You need to walk together in Christ. Do not even start a dating relationship with a non-believer.
Second. Make sure he is financially responsible. You do not want a guy who cannot hold a job. This is as critical as number one up there. If he doesn't have the discipline to hold down a steady job, he probably doesn't have the discipline to make a marriage work. If he has any kind of money issues; can't keep a job, can't manage his money...whatever...light a shuck and get out of the relatinship. Doesn't matter what a sweet-talker he might be. Cut him off at the pass.
Third. Make sure that he is not a control freak. Men (and women too, but we are talking about marriage here.) who insist on controlling everything about your life way before marriage are going to be a nightmare to be married to. They often will become abusive. Oh, Ellen, you mean the world to me, and you mean so much more to the Lord, don't let anyone ever make you feel bad about yourself, that you are not worth anything. This is what a control freak will do to you to keep you in his grasp. NEVER let anyone abuse you physically or verbally. You are worth so much more than that. At the first sign of abuse, verbal or physical, do not linger in the relationship. Run. Leave it behind. Accept an apology, but don't go back. It (the abuse) will happen again. It always does. If it happens while you are dating, it will escalate after marriage, not get better.
Remember all of this sweetheart. I speak from experience here, having made the above mistakes. Learn from my mishaps and don't let it happen to you.