Single Christians should be wary of being deceived by "looks" and "words" when dating in search of a future spouse, cautioned husband and wife podcasters, Richard and Brittini De La Mora.
“Looks are deceiving,” because someone can "look like the right one” but it doesn't mean they are the “right one,” the couple said in their discussion about looking for the attributes of a godly partner in the most recent episode of their "Let’s Talk Purity" podcast on edifi.
“They can say the right things, but that doesn’t mean that they're the right person. And too often, we know people who are really good with their words, but their words don’t reflect who they are,” said Richard, an evangelist and founder of Love Always ministries.
“A lot of people get deceived because they think, ‘Wow, that’s a powerful man of God,’ or ‘that's a wonderful, beautiful woman of God.’ And then, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, you switched up. How were you this person the first three months and then, you just changed to a whole different person?’”
Richard also warned that a Christian can end up with a “good person,” but “that doesn’t mean they're your good partner.”
The first thing Christians should look for in a godly partner, according to the De La Moras, is that they are “equally yoked,” referring to 2 Corinthians 6, which warns Christians against being "yoked with unbelievers."
Richard explained that there are "a lot of things that can go wrong with" dating a nonbeliever, warning that the "reason why is because there’s a different value system."
“And whenever there is a different value system, there will be a different priority system,” he explained. "But here you are, wanting to go to church, reading your Bible, and then you're mad because they don’t want to go to church [and] read the Bible. But they’re so sweet, with dreamy eyes."
"And you’re like, 'Oh my gosh, I just want to be with them.’ But the reality is that you want to be with them, but they don’t want to be with Him — Jesus. So everything changes.”
While someone "can be a 'Christian' that doesn't mean they actually are a Christian, noting that “just because they have the label doesn’t mean they have the fruit.”
Brittni, who escaped the porn industry, said she and her husband want "to extend God’s grace" to Christians who are struggling with habitual sin and wonder if their struggles disqualify them from dating Christians who aren’t struggling with habitual sins.
“Maybe God is still dealing with certain issues in your heart; like you got extreme anger or you’re still battling with some drugs. … Maybe you have some secret sin, like pornography,” Brittni continued. "We're here to extend God's grace, but we know that there is freedom and deliverance in Jesus."
Though there are Christians who've been set free from their habitual sins, oftentimes those Christians don't know who to look for in a godly partner.
“You definitely want to find somebody that has that fruit of the Spirit; they're ‘gentleness, kindness.’ They’re filled with joy. They know who they are in Christ. They’re faithful. They have good character,” Brittni continued.
“Some people will say, 'How do I even know?' Even people who are battling with a lot of things privately, they can pretend to be a great person publicly, but maybe internally they’re full of pride or whatever it may be. Well, time will always tell."
“God does give us the gift of discernment," she added. "It’s never for you to judge people when you have discernment. It’s for you to give them grace, but also to pray over them. … But you want to make sure that they have the fruit of the Spirit.”
It’s important that couples don’t rush toward marriage because it takes time to develop a godly romantic relationship, Richard added, echoing his wife's comment about how "time will tell."
"Because time is literally our greatest asset," he continued. "Time is our friend. What I’ve seen … when people just jump right into relationships. … but have only been with the person for two months,” Richard shared as an example.
“I’ve also known a plethora of people [where] that has not worked out. I mean, their marriages are in shambles. Why? Because you didn’t allow time to unveil who that person is."
Brittni stressed that "even when you get married, there might have been things you were hiding" that are revealed well into the marriage.
For Christians in romantic relationships, the De La Moras warned that it is crucial to "be patient when it comes to the dating process.”
“Get to know that person. And this is where you ask significant questions. I believe the greatest leaders and the greatest relationships are those who ask questions,” Richard said.
As an example, he referenced the biblical figure David who wanted to fight Goliath and asked King Saul various questions about the challenge.
“I love it. Here’s this guy that’s asking a plethora of questions. That’s good. I really believe that we should ask a lot of questions,” Richard said, explaining that when he and Brittni were dating, he asked several questions, including ones about her finances and credit score.
He also made sure they remained in the dating stage until they got to know each other better. Communication, they added, is the key to every relationship.
Richard also felt it was important to inquire about Brittni’s "sexual history."
“How many people do we know that can’t deal with people’s sexual history? They get jealous," said Richard. "So many people have talked to me, saying, ‘I don’t know how you do it.’ And I say, ‘because God gave me the grace and that’s my wife, not yours.’"
"I truly believe that I have the grace to be with you," he said to his wife.
Listen to "Let's Talk Purity" and many other shows on the edifi Christian podcast app.