10 Pointers Toward a Trustworthy Relationship

We never quite connect the dots that the charm it takes to sweep a person off their feet is often the influence, later on, that manipulates.

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I am very often asked what it is that you look for in the early going when dating and courting.  I’m also asked very often what the signs are to be particularly watchful of; you know, when the charm is at full tilt and butter wouldn’t melt in a future partner’s mouth.

These are such important questions because picking a dud early on is critically important before they begin ruining your life.  How often is it that the charmer, the one full of humor and pizzazz wins the heart, and it doesn’t matter the kind of relationship.  Working relationships are just as fraught as romances are.

We’re naturally drawn to those who often have the bent to turn nasty.

We never quite connect the dots that the charm it takes to sweep a person off their feet is often the influence, later on, that manipulates.

Here are ten things to watch for:

  1. Can you say no?  Extend that to how much are you allowed to have your own view?  Is your view cherished by the other?  These questions, like the following ones, are applicable to any relationship.
  2. How do they manage power?  Can they be trusted with it?  Who are they when no one’s looking?  If you discover they have integrity, keep watching, and be grateful, but also keep watchful because appearances can deceive, and perfection is in nobody.  These matters are universal in there applicability.
  3. Are they functionally capable?  What’s the work ethic like?  Do they serve others willingly and enthusiastically or do they expect to be served?  Do they love and respect others or expect to be loved and respected?  In short, are they prepared to work hard for the relationship?  Is your diligence going to be returned to you?
  4. How safe do they make you feel?  In the gut I mean?  Chances are your gut knows instantly.  Don’t make excuses for poor behavior if that ‘something’ they have is compellingly good.  Again, these things are relevant in any and every relationship.  A person who’s a saint 90 percent of the time undoes all that work if they’re violent one time in ten.
  5. What do others you know and love say about them?  What do they really say and feel?  Are those you know and love allowed to be truthful with you about this?  Or do you just agree to disagree and ‘don’t go there’?  Denials of these kinds usually end badly.
  6. Were you attracted to them romantically or to work with them because they ‘looked good’ or because it felt good?  It’s okay if that’s so.  Most of us make decisions based on face value, yet what we don’t see is the character beneath an ‘also ran’ who didn’t get a look in.  In the longer run, they may have had the character that would have made for a sustainable relationship.
  7. How much do they seek control or to control you or others?  Someone who needs to be in control is worthy of a red flag.  There will be no happiness in a relationship with such a person. Even when they’re in control, they’re a tyrant; just a happy one.
  8. Do they want the best for you?  Many of the ones who SAY they want the best for you actually want the exact opposite.  It’s those who act as if you’re important (and just as important as they are) who are keepers.  This, like all the above, goes for all relationships.
  9. Are your dependent others really safe?  Whether the people we relate with are directly in contact with our vulnerable dependents or not is immaterial in most cases.  Physical abuse is possible, but so is our neglect of those loved dependent ones because of how we’re treated.  How people treat us — and I’m talking abuse here — has an impact far further than we imagine.  Sometimes we can’t be in a relationship for the flow-on impacts we cannot fully see.
  10. Is their heart capable of being open, safe, vulnerable, soft?  We are all a little hard-of-heart from time to time.  But some people’s hearts are calloused and defiant.  Others are legalistic and exact — no room for error.  Add to this the partiality of a heart full of unacknowledged bias.  The person we want a working relationship with is someone who sees their own heart — they SEE their own foibles.

Of course, we, ourselves also called to be faithful and trustworthy partners.  WE need to abide by these ten above.  Relationships only work when both parties to a relationship seek to outdo the other in loving action that seeks for the other what they’d settle for themselves.



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribe Work

Featured Image by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

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About the Author

Steve Wickham is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. He holds several roles, including husband, father, peacemaker championing peacemaking for children and adults, conflict coach and mediator, church pastor, counselor, funeral celebrant, chaplain, mentor, and Board Secretary. He holds degrees in Science, Divinity (2), and Counselling. Steve is also a Christian minister serving CyberSpace i.e. here.