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Want to get to know someone on a date?

For starters, we suggest getting to know them prior to the first date, and to help you do just that we share two tips in the LoveEd video above, but here’s just one quote:

Live in the moment. Focus your attention on the person you’re actually with, not the person you’re hoping they will become.

But after you’ve gotten to know someone a little before dating, how do you get to know that person on an actual date?

We talk about that in great, practical detail in our book, Date Like You Know What You’re Doing: Your DatePrep Guide. Speaking of, here’s just a small portion pulled directly from that book:

Reputation vs. Character

Reputation is who others think you are, but character is who you really are. While you might date someone for their reputation, if you end up married to them, you will have to live with their character. Every day. Until one of you dies.

In a perfect world, someone’s reputation would naturally flow out of their character. However, in the real world…

Someone projecting a sterling reputation could be hiding secrets which suggest a character that’s anything but sterling.

Sadly, this possibility is even more likely inside the church community where bad behavior is less tolerated. This means you may not get any warning from friends and family saying things such as, “They’ve changed so much since they met you!” Therefore, you must be willing to take the time and do the hard work necessary to discern the true character of the person you’re dating.

How to Determine Someone’s True Character

The saying goes, “character is who you are when no one’s watching.” But how are you supposed to find out who someone is “when no one’s watching” while you’re watching them?

Honest answer? You can’t.

But don’t let that discourage you! Let that inspire you to do two things:

  1. Take. Your. Time!
  2. Pay. Attention!

Sad truth: most people date with their eyes half closed and then when they get married and the power of limerence fades, their eyes are opened, and they see the character issues they ignored when they were dating.

(And that’s another reason why we have divorce.)

So, in honor of dating with your eyes wide open, here are a plethora of questions for you to address over time.

Relational Questions:

  • How do they treat people in authority? Do they resent them or respect them?
  • How do they treat people who are serving them or work for them? Do they disparage them or treat them with dignity?
  • Do they talk about people behind their backs? In front of their backs?
  • How do they talk about their past loves? Was everything their ex’s fault?
  • How do they talk about their family, especially their parents (or the people who raised them)? Do they tend to idolize, admire, or criticize them?

Emotional Questions:

  • How well do they respond to disappointment? Do they sulk, rage, or whine?
  • How do they respond to success? Do they brag? Slack off?
  • What are their fears? Do they center around money, career, family, health, or zombies?
  • How do they deal with their fears? Do they tend to worry about them, suppress them, or face them?
  • From where do they seem to draw their strength: from within, from the approval and support of others, or from an authentic relationship with God? How can you tell?

Material Questions:

  • Are they responsible with money? Carry debt thoughtlessly? Spend frivolously? Give generously? Save frugally?
  • Are they responsible with time? Plan? Flexible? Waste it with hours of entertainment? Invest it in reading and watching FMU material?
  • Are they responsible with possessions? Are they obsessive or careless? Do they hoard or do they share?
  • In all these areas do they tend to act more like stewards, owners, or renters?

Integrity Questions:

  • How open are they about admitting their “rough spots”? Do they appear more defensive, humbly honest, or blissfully unaware?
  • How do they deal with their character deficiencies? Do they seem more passive, apologetic, or intentional about taking steps to change?
  • Do they learn from their mistakes and subsequently break recurring patterns of failure, or do they just seem to repeat them?
  • Can they share a past struggle where they have found victory or at least measurable and sustainable progress?

I know that’s a lot of ground to cover, and most people don’t learn the answers to most of these questions until after marriage. And that’s another reason we have divorce. But that won’t be your story.

Of course, if all the above questions were on a test, most of us (perhaps all of us) would flunk, but that shouldn’t mean you just throw caution to the wind, close your eyes, and kiss. That’s how our culture wound up in this mess.

[The above post is an excerpt right from Date Like You Know What You’re Doing: Your DatePrep Guide. I wrote it to empower YOU to grow spiritually and date wisely so you can marry well. Check out the book and video curriculum here!]