A new year is approaching, and many people are motivated to make changes in their lives. No doubt, finding a great relationship is at the top of their lists, as it probably is yours. But are you really ready for love?
I offer this thought because if you’ve gone through a divorce, getting into a new relationship is something you should take great care in doing. Here is a simple test to help you evaluate your readiness and determine that answer (rate yourself on the scale of 1 – 5, 5 being best):
1. If you walked into a room and your ex-spouse was present, would you be able to speak charitably to him/her, regardless of what was said to you? 1 2 3 4 5
2. Have you acknowledged your own contributions to the breakdown of your marriage and worked to correct those habits/attitudes/reactions? 1 2 3 4 5
3. When you think of marrying again, is going through a marriage prep program important to you? 1 2 3 4 5
4. Are you prepared for the work it takes to make a relationship work? 1 2 3 4 5
5. There are times when it is appropriate to compromise on things and times when you should refuse to compromise. Do you have a firm idea of what you will compromise on and what things are non-negotiable? 1 2 3 4 5
6. Imagine you’re engaged to someone you find very attractive and are in love with, but you’re frustrated with the level of communication. For example, if you have a disagreement and his/her typical reaction is to walk away and give you the silent treatment, do you feel prepared to address problems like this or would you let it slide? 1 2 3 4 5
7. Do you feel confident in yourself and what you have to offer in a relationship or do you feel lucky that someone else finds you attractive? 1 2 3 4 5
8. Are you committed to remaining chaste? Are you committed to staying away from movies, jokes or stories, pornography, music, social media, or television that endangers your ability to remain chaste? 1 2 3 4 5
If your score is 35 – 40, you’re ready by these standards. Congratulations! If your score is 24 – 34, you’re almost there. Keep working! If your score is 8 – 23, you’re on your way, but still need some work. Let’s examine the reason for each question:
1. Being charitable to an ex-spouse for many seems like an impossible task. Especially when infidelity has occurred, it can seem out of the question to forgive. But real love cannot happen unless your heart has divested itself of anger and resentment. Imagining yourself in a room with your ex-spouse and how you would react is a perfect way to gauge the level of forgiveness you have achieved. If you can see yourself in the same room with your ex and you don’t want to run over and throttle him/her, chances are you’ve done well in the forgiveness department.
2. This is an important step, because it indicates your level of personal responsibility and humility, something everyone needs to have. Otherwise, you will always be blaming someone else for your own faults.
3. The point behind this question is simple: If you dream of the big “show” instead of the importance of the vows, you need to re-think your reasons for wanting to marry. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a big wedding, but it does mean your biggest concern should be the validity of your vows and the integrity of your union, not the number of attendants or having a glamourous dress.
4 – Pretty simple. Each person should be giving 100 percent.
5 – It’s very important to go into a relationship knowing the answer to this question instead of trying to figure it out as you go. Otherwise, you will find yourself on one very slippery slope.
6 – 7. These questions are interrelated and have everything to do with your self-esteem. Don’t settle for bad behavior. Be confident in the gifts God gave you.
8 – Does anything really need to be explained here?
I hope these questions spark a thought process in you that will bring confidence as you date and find a lasting, loving relationship. As always, count on my continued daily prayers for you and send me your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.