Singles can get confused and not sure when and what should be shared with a potential mate they have just met. What is the best to share about your previous relationships, when and where is the best way to open up when starting a new relationship? Christians singles can get caught up with wondering if to be open in a first meeting is a good and Christian way to deal with new relationships. Dr. Jim explains what should be said (and when).
When and what is appropriate information to share when meeting someone?
The interaction between single adults when they are considering a potential relationship is a critical time. Each one desires to be on their best behavior and make their best presentation. It is also a time when each is hopeful that they are being given an accurate picture and can make a proper assessment. Is this the time to share everything about each other? What information should be shared?
There are some principles that I suggest should guide your conversation, as well as the rest of your interaction:
- In addition to the physical aspects of this meeting or meetings, it should be a time when good character traits are displayed. Honesty should lead the list in all that you share.
- There is the temptation to ‘hype’ certain things about us in the attempt to impress the other person. This should be avoided, as it usually is transparent and will not work to your benefit. Try to be yourself and act as normal as possible.
- Initial meetings are not the time to be totally candid and revealing all of your life. Each relationship, friendship or more, must develop its own level of trust. Confirmed trust is an essential ingredient before sharing more intimate details.
- In the initial meeting, it would be proper to consider making a statement such as, ‘(I have been divorced), and will be pleased to share in greater detail at a more appropriate time,’ (or whatever is applicable and relevant). The initial meeting is not the time to bare your soul to all that you have experienced.
- Consider the fact that your open sharing may not jive with the other person’s emotional situation. Wait until you get to know one another a little more and can be more sensitive to each other.
- When do you share deeper items that might negatively impact the potential relationship? There is no magic moment and you will need to spend a good deal of time in prayer, and perhaps in the counsel of an older and wiser Christian. I do not believe in holding these back for several meetings and allowing emotions to engage before sharing. It is unfair to treat the other person in this way. If you were a major factor in your previous divorce or relationship breakup, or have a medical condition that is significant, I think that these should be shared within the first few meetings.
Please see our previous blog post about Relationships and the Past.
“Do to others what you would have them do to you”
What is the Golden Rule?
The foundation for all your timing and sharing should be the Golden Rule found in Matthew 7:12: ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…’ Consider how and when you would like to be informed of the things you have to share. Pray about it and then act and share, as one Christian should with another.
A final thought about emotions and where to place your expectations
One final thought as you consider the timing and sharing of ‘things’ in your life that are relevant and important. Do not allow your emotions to get ahead of the process. You should not let your hope and expectations get too high for a relationship until you have reached a point where you can share and see the response to what you share.
The potential of rejection greatly influences each of us and may tempt us to hold off sharing until after an emotional bonding has taken place. Such a choice has the potential of being very damaging to both parties.
Place your expectations on God’s Spirit to guide and prepare the heart of the other person. If this person is God’s choice for you He will prepare their heart for what you will share. If they cannot accept you and all that God has done in your life, then they are either not ready for a relationship or not the best one for you. Please remember that God does want only the best for each of us and that you can count on.
“If this person is God’s choice for you He will prepare their heart for what you will share.”