Because you are the most important part of any relationship, any real improvements must first take place within you. Who you choose to be in a relationship with is a byproduct of how you feel about yourself. No healthy minded person would seriously consider marrying a 10-year-old. The 10-year-old is not mature or responsible enough for a serious relationship, and the person that married them would be headed for trouble.
Unfortunately, everyday men and women join themselves to those who are emotionally, spiritually, and financially immature. They use themselves, the person's age, or previous relationship as the measurement, dispelling all the other indicators of maturity. To establish a healthy relationship, each of the principles in it must first be healthy themselves.
First, each of the principles in the relationship must be evaluated from head-to-toe to determine if they are "relationship healthy." This is different from normal health because it involves their spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical well-being.
To determine if a man or woman is ready for a healthy relationship, you must examine the steps that they have taken to lead them into adulthood. Do they have order in their personal life? What is their relationship like with their family and friends? What is his relationship like with his mother? What is her relationship like with her father? If a person is not able to develop healthy relationship with others, it's very unlikely, they will have healthy relationships with you.
Second, each of the principles in the relationship must be measured against themselves. How do they honor their words? Have you witness them being dishonest with others in your presence? Do they honor their commitment with others? To determine if a person will be respectfully in their relationships, you must consider the fact that their respect for others is governed by their respect for themselves. If a person is not honest with themselves, they will not be honest with others, and ultimately, they will not be honest with you. But before you turn the mirror on them, turn it on yourself. You may be the dishonest one in the relationship.
Finally, each of the principles in the relationship must be measured against the word of God. Don't use yourself as a guide. If you have been dealing with counterfeit relationships your whole life, you may not know the real thing when you see it. Also, dishonest people seem to find each other so neither of them will be qualified or capable of evaluating the other. Evaluate them on how they respond to God and to his word. When a man or a woman honors and keeps God's word, they are living at a standard greater than themselves. This is the true test of honesty, spiritual, and relationship maturity.
Healthy relationships require two healthy people. You or the person that you are interested in may not be relationship ready. You must first evaluate yourself, if you are not relationship healthy, you should not be in one. You cannot build on a shaky foundation. Once you are healthy, you will be able to see the real from the fake and determine respect from disrespect. You will know that if a person has no respect for God, the creator, they will have no respect for the created. God must be first in their life. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. For questions, comments or more information, go to www.tlhouston.com.