It’s important to critically evaluate your relationship before getting married. This evaluation should be ongoing, but if you haven’t done it before getting engaged, it definitely needs to happen during that period. Since Christians should shun and avoid divorce, we want you to be sure of your lifelong decision before you say “I do.”
A caution flag is a behavior that will become problematic in romantic relationships, especially in marriage. One caution flag isn’t a deal breaker by itself, but when there are numerous flags, you’re asking for trouble if you don’t address them.
Below are some of the biggest caution flags for marriage. If your significant other exhibits multiple caution flags, it might be a good idea to take a break from the relationship or postpone the wedding until they are handled. They should be openly discussed, and if desired, a professional premarital counselor from SYMBIS might be optimal for helping you through resolving these issues.
Anger is a natural emotion for all people, Christians included. The Bible teaches us that righteous anger is okay, but we shouldn’t let our anger extend into sinful behavior (Psa. 4:4 & Eph. 4:26).
Sinful behavior from anger manifests in many ways, but emotional and physical abuse are the two primary forms. Emotional abuse is the most common and usually manifests as name-calling, silent treatment, and passive-aggressive comments. Physical abuse manifests as punching walls, throwing objects, and hurting other people.
Your partner should never take their anger out on you, but from time to time, even the best of people fail at that responsibility. It’s a caution flag when this type of behavior is the rule and not the exception. However, physical abuse that does bodily harm to you is always a red flag and absolutely warrants ending the relationship immediately.
Anxiety is a common feeling when important situations are at hand. The Bible reminds us not to be anxious about anything but bring our worries to God (Php. 4:6). Sometimes that feels easier said than done, but these aren’t the type of anxiety issues were talking about.
Anxiety becomes a caution flag and a cause for concern when it affects everyday matters like driving or public appearances. These kinds of interferences are anxiety disorders, and they need to be managed by a professional and supplemented with prayer. No one should be forced to live with crippling anxiety, and it’s important to resolve this problem before becoming married.
Depression is the companion of grief and can affect everyone from time to time. Depression becomes especially prevalent after the onset of difficult life circumstances, but usually, after an appropriate amount of time, people will exit that cycle. The nature of the circumstance typically dictates the normal length of the depression cycle.
However, if you or your partner is consistently struggling with depression, professional help should be sought before becoming married. Chronic depression is not normal and burdensome for everyone involved. Medication is often necessary to treat these conditions and often significantly improves the quality of life for the one suffering.
It’s not uncommon for couples to desire a bit of privacy from each other. In fact, it’s necessary when you want to surprise them with something special. But excessive privacy can lead to unhealthy suspicions.
Suspicions come in many forms, but they are all essentially trust issues. The most common form is a suspicion of infidelity. Other types of suspicions are developed when a partner’s past is not fully known. The solution to these doubts comes through telling the truth in love and being openly transparent with intentions.
If your partner consistently accuses you of being unfaithful without any evidence, you must resolve the underlying trust issue before becoming married. Being open and communicative about your past and your future intentions is the best way for both people to settle their nerves. If the problem continues, this becomes a red flag and worth ending the relationship over.
Addictions come in various forms and extents, but they are all bad. Some people are accepting of certain patterned behaviors and don’t consider them to be addictions. So, for the purposes of this section, we’re talking about addictions that cause negative results in the relationship.
Obviously, illegal substance abuse is one of the things in view here. As Christians, we are called to obey the laws of our governing authorities (Rom 13:1). An unwillingness to stop this behavior is an attitudinal problem, but the inability to stop makes it an addiction problem.
However, legal substances are also a problem. Alcohol is the most destructive substance in America and can cause significant family turmoil when it’s abused. Failure to abstain or use in moderation is a tell-tale sign of addiction and worth seeking help.
If this describes is a factor in your relationship, please consider taking advantage of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Many of their meetings take place in churches and include calling upon a “higher power” as a necessary step in treating addiction.
Habit issues are different than addiction issues. Addictions are certainly bad habits, but not all habits are addictions or bad. Nevertheless, they can really get under your skin sometimes; those are the types of habits we’re talking about here.
Does your partner have an annoying habit? It might not even be something that’s bad behavior and could be the reason you’ve never brought it up, but it always makes your blood boil when it happens. Well, eventually that habit is going to make your blood boil over and erupt into an argument of volcanic proportions.
It’s a mature and healthy idea to bring this habit up with your partner. Most of the time, they won’t even know it bothering you and will be happy to change their behavior. Embarking on a lifetime of trying to hide your irritation is unhealthy for you, unfair to them, and ultimately impossible.
For the same reason, you should also ask if there are any habit issues that irritate them. If so, repeat this process on yourself for them.