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Avoiding Dating Catastrophe

Chemistry wasn’t my strong suit. I do remember the little slips of litmus paper that were used as a test to determine the pH balance of a liquid. Those magic little strips turn red when a solution is acidic and blue when the solution is alkaline. If the paper is purple, the solution is neutral. Just like that, you know what you’re dealing with.

What I have for you today is a GREAT litmus test that I believe you would do well to use before you start to date after divorce, or now if you’re already dating. It is not the only thing to consider in determining if you are ready to date after divorce, but it is HUGE.

Are you ready? Here it is…

Can you be true to yourself to the point that you would be willing to walk away, or let the person you are romantically involved with walk away, rather than to sacrifice your sense of self or your values?

Do you see how HUGE that is?

Divorce leaves a void and therefore often an intense need to find another relationship to fill that void. This intense need can leave us subject to rationalize and tolerate undesirable things about another person.

The need to be loved and to have a relationship can cause us to sacrifice ourselves and who we really are for the sake of romance. This leaves us vulnerable to disappointment and hurt that grows larger the longer we are untrue to ourselves. I’m not talking about whether or not the toilet seat is left up, I’m talking about core values and being treated respectfully.

Having a romantic interest in your life can be blinding. So, it is best to be prepared to be true to yourself and to God before you get involved with a romance. Being prepared is your best defense.

The problem is that not being true to yourself never works out well in the long run. Compromising your standards may not be obvious at first. You adjust your values a little here and compromise your self-worth a little there. It often happens little by little.

By settling for less in a relationship, that is just what you get—a relationship that is less than what you desire or what God wants for you.

Work on healing from divorce before dating.Don’t become romantically involved with anyone until you are confident that you can do these four things:

  1. Recognize when you are dating someone who has values that are significantly inconsistent with your own.
  2. Recognize when you are dating someone who treats you in disrespectful ways.
  3. Stand firm in your own worth without caving just to have someone’s affection.
  4. Confidently end any dating relationship that is unhealthy for you and feel proud of yourself for recognizing the problems and moving on.

Wait until you can pass the litmus test above before you get romantically involved. Till then fill your need for relationship with God and friends. Be true to yourself. Be true to Christ. You’ll be glad. You’ll head off grief. You’ll stand tall. You’re worth it!

Christian Thought for Today:

And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

Ephesians 4:23-24

Take Your Next Step…

About the Author

Renee Smith Ettline, life after divorceRenee Smith Ettline, M.Ed. is founder of After Divorce Ministries, LLC, author of Peace after Divorce, and creator of the Peace after Divorce Workshop. Her Peace after Divorce Workshop group study is widely offered in churches and reaches across denominational lines.  She builds on her background as an educational counselor, her Christian faith, and her own divorce experience to light a path for those who need support for healing from divorce.


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