Here is the time to draw up that list of requirements: when you are thinking about involving your heart with someone. You had better have strong requirements and they should concern character.
– Can the person connect emotionally? Is he present with you? Do you feel heard, listened to, and like you are with someone when you are with him, as opposed to feeling alone?
– Does the person allow freedom, separateness, and your own choices to be okay? Or does he try to control you, punish your freedom or independence, or not respect your choices?
– Does the person respect your limits and your no?
– Can he “go your way” as well as want his own way? Is he selfish or self-centered? Can he be concerned about the wishes of others as he is about his own?
– Does he possess self-control and discipline? Or is he impulsive or irresponsible?
– Is he a perfectionist? Does he require you to be “ideal” instead of allowing you to be real and have imperfections? Does he act as if he “has it all together”? Does he seek his “ideal self” more than being “real”?
– Is he drive or able to enjoy life and relationships?
– Does he face his pain, weaknesses, and problems? Does he confess when he is wrong and ask for forgiveness? Does he forgive others and accept his bad parts? Or is he condemning and judgmental?
– Does he have a set of passions, pursuits ,and interested? Or does he just adapt to the flavor of the day and drift in life? Does he give himself to anything?
– Does he serve in some capacity and deny himself for others?
– Is he prideful or arrogant? Does he seem to think he is superior to others? Does he feel inferior to the degree that he backs away from life?
– Is she too tied to her parents, even as an adult? Is she getting inappropriate help from her parents? Does she still try to please one of her parents? Has she grown up?
– Does he respect authority? Can he submit to it?
– Can he take control and stand up to things? Can he say no and stick with it, even when someone does not like it?
– Can he take confrontation? Is he defensive? Can he heard complaints about himself and change his behavior when it is hurtful to someone?
– Can he be honest and assertive about what he wants?
– Is he trustworthy and loyal? Does he have zero deception?
– Does he have integrity in all he does?
– Does he blame others or see himself as a victim?
– Is he growing in life and spiritually?
– Does his spiritual commitment have a life of its own? Or do you have to push it?
– Does he submit to God and obey him? Or is he his own god?
– Has he faced his “issues” and come to grips with whatever is in his past?
– Does he confront you and tell you when you are wrong or he doesn’t like something? Is it with anger? Is it with love?
– Does he have an emotional problem he hasn’t faced?
– What personal habits indicate character issues to you?
– What is his relationship history? Has he dealt with it?
– Does he communicate or shut down? Does he face conflict and work it through with you? Does he use bad tactics?
– Does he withdraw or does he seek you when something is wrong?
– Is he addicted? Envious? Jealous? Petty? Bitter? Resentful? Divisive? Into cliques? A social climber?
– Does he have empathy and concern for the hurting, weak, and less fortunate?
– Does he have long-term good friends?
I know this is tedious stuff. But so is living with someone who has serious character issues. Remember, whatever this person is like, if it is a character issue, it is not going to change without that person admitting his problem and getting significant help. Listen to your feelings and what it is like to be “with” this person, apart from his attraction and charm. “Experience your experience” of being with the person or in a relationship. This is what you will have long term – not the adoration, admiration, or infatuation of whatever you are idealizing. At some point, get down to who that person truly is. As you look at these things, hold on to your heart and commitment until he is proven good.
An excerpt from How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Dr. Henry Cloud