We all have some sort of list. You have one, I have one, your friends have one, strangers have one. It might be written down, or it might be perfected etched into your mind. Whatever it is, we all know in some relative form some qualities we are looking for when it comes to a significant other.
The reason WHY we have a list is because we have standards. And the reason we have standards is because we have likely been hurt in the past and want to avoid that in the future. OR we have seen others who have been hurt significantly and have learned from their misfortunes. Now, there is a lot to be said on the actual QUALITY of the qualifications on our lists, but instead of today’s post being about that, I want to talk to you about what I believe is the TOP quality to consider when entering into romantic relationships.
I have personally been in my fair share of relationships. Good. VERY good. Bad. And VERY bad. Through the many years, I have discovered more about myself, as well as more of what I am personally looking for in someone else. Now don’t get me wrong, there are MANY things I look for when it comes to choosing a life partner. It IS, after all, the most important decision of your entire life. BUT alas, I believe through it all, I have been able to discover what I think is a key quality for anyone who wants to have a successful relationship.
First and foremost, this is my nonnegotiable: THEY HAVE TO LOVE JESUS. Not just God. They cannot just be spiritual. They have to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Period. dot. END OF STORY.
This post is not meant to dive into that [though it is essential in my opinion], because you guys already know I am a Christian and it should be a priority as Christians to walk together in spiritual unity through relationship. Rather, today I want to talk about another KEY quality that is essential for dating relationships. The question I want to ask you right now is:
Is the person a learner?
…Meaning, are they constantly seeking to change and gain not only more knowledge that thus turns into WISDOM?
Having a teachable heart and spirit is probably THE most important characteristic that I have learned to value through the years. If they are a learner, they will likely be on the quest to learn how to be a better husband, father, employee, friend, son, ect.
In journeying together as a couple what you will find is that in 5 years you will not be the same person as you are today. Neither will your significant other. I know this as a single person because I was DEFINITELY not the same 5 years ago. Heck I was not the same one year ago! As such, in relationship we need to continue to want to LEARN and grow towards one another. Our preferences change over time. Our views of the world shape and mold and become more poignant. It is essential that we keep a spirit of learning and staying in check with one another throughout the process.
Learning also enriches our lives. A few years ago, I was not much of a reader. But over the last few years, I have become increasingly more and more interested in reading, and studying, and podcasting. Right now I am in the middle of 6 books and over 10 podcasts!! You could call me Ms. Book Worm over here. So I guess that would make me Ms. WORMan instead of Ms. Warman? [HA- yes just went there] 😉
But the reason why I love reading and podcasting so much is because I am stimulating my brain. I am discovering and gaining perspective on things with a lens different from my own. I am widening my scope of view and deepening my thinking. IT IS AMAZING AND I AM OBSESSED. Now, everyone doesn’t have to be a book worm overkill like I am currently, but the point is, what is the person of interest doing to learn and ENRICH their life?
Also let’s talk about something VERY vital amidst this conversation of learning. Seeking after knowledge is great, it is step one. But what comes after seeking knowledge is WISDOM. Wisdom combines knowledge and the knowing of WHAT to do and HOW to navigate. Most of the time, wisdom comes from seeking out true learned experiences and diving in deep, either from your own personal experience, or from that of others. When we have knowledge and act on it productively, it can turn into wisdom. OH LA LA NOW WE ARE TALKING.
Having knowledge of how awful it would be to experience a fire is one thing. Hearing about someone who went through a traumatic fire and learning how they would have better prepared for it or how they dealt with the aftermath provides me with some wisdom to deal with a fire should that ever crazily happen. The fire is just a metaphor, because in reality LIFE fires happen ALL THE TIME. We need to be seeking out wisdom versus just knowledge so that we can best prepare for the fires in our own lives.
Wisdom here friends, is one of THE most important gifts to strive after as we see in biblical teaching. Wisdom is “more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her” Proverbs 8:11. In the Proverbs we are literally encouraged to search for wisdom and guard it continuously. Like jewels, it is a TREASURE. Wisdom keeps our world from descending into chaos. When we don’t act in wisdom, we dishonor the rules that hold everything together. Without wisdom we cannot thrive. We should be always on the path of seeking wisdom.
“Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” Proverbs 4: 6-7
So again I ask, is this person you are considering a learner? Do they make specific strides to seek knowledge that turns to wisdom throughout their life? Are they enacting on the things they are learning and seeking to grow and change? Are they humbling themselves to realize they do not know it all hence encouraging their quest for more learning and self growth?
A HUGE part of this entire process is growing in the areas that are most painful. In many ways, I think the best way to do that is through mentorship and even therapy. Has the person you are considering been through therapy for deep rooted hurts and past traumas? Or do they recognize the hurts and are they actively seeking healthy means to heal these wounds ? Are they putting in the #WORK to get to the deep rooted source of repeating issues [Newsflash: we all have SOME deep rooted issues]? Or, are they just getting by with the knowledge they have hoping it will get better?
Compartmentalizing is the opposite of learning and seeking wisdom. We tend to thing putting things into a box makes our life easier. But when it comes to cleaning house, we suddenly get shocked when we realize how many BOXES we have stored up and have to sort through. Don’t be a hoarder. Don’t hold onto things and say “you’ll deal with them later”. Don’t date someone who has a load of boxes that don’t wany to deal with either. I promise you, these open boxes will at some point become an eye sore of your past, one that you start to resent. INSTEAD, embrace the discomfort of them HEAD on and seek to learn through the traumas, heartbreaks, disappointments, regrets. Seek to LEARN and through it gain wisdom in the process.
If you notice your person of interest is compartmentalizing a lot versus seeking true growth through learning, I can assure you that your journey will be filled with extra bomb explosions and unexpected weather. One day, these compartmentalized issues will resurface.
Okay friends, there you have it today. The TOP quality I would suggest looking for in someone else when you are considering a dating relationship. Being a learning and seeking after wisdom through these specific means to me shows that even in the areas the person lacks, they are willing to learn and grow and change, BECAUSE they are in complete surrender to the Lord’s will in their life. They recognize and value the importance of wisdom and constantly seek to learn in and throughout their life. This person will likely do the following:
They humbly accept that they do not know it all.
They embrace that they are imperfect and are in tune with their specific flaws.
They own that they have needs and actively seek help along the way.
They are not okay with accepting the status quo, and are constantly striving after the pursuit of growth.
They seek after the best means to make themselves a better person as a consistent practice in their life.
They have mentors that speak into their lives.
They are CONSTANTLY in the word as the source of the ultimate TRUTH.
They have gone to therapy if need be and own it like a badge of victory.
I hope and pray today that this post encouraged some of you. The last biggest thing I want to say is this: these are amazing qualities to look for in someone else, but ALSO this is a great litmus check for OURSELVES as well. We need to make sure we are also fully in step with these practice so that instead of just searching for the one, we can focus on becoming “THE ONE” for someone else. 😉
What did you learn by this today? Have you experienced the fruits of dating/being married to a LEARNER in your own life? I would LOVE love love to hear your thoughts!