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The Christian Dating Game: Attraction vs. Compatibility

Relationship coach Tera Carissa Hodges explains the key to sustaining a relationship

A couple on a date at a restaurant
Credit: Getty Images/Fuse

When it comes to finding a romantic partner, we all have our dating preferences and attributes that we find attractive. I was instantly attracted to my husband because he was just my type: tall, dark, godly and handsome.

While attraction is important, it’s certainly not enough to sustain a relationship and what or whom you’re attracted to may even be causing you harm. One of the greatest lessons I teach as a life coach is you don’t have to spend time with everything you’re attracted to. Before you commit to someone you’re attracted to, examine yourself first. Ask yourself: Why am I attracted to this particular quality? Have my past dates exhibited the same patterns of behavior or qualities? Do these particular attributes I find myself attracted to propel me toward my ultimate end goal or do they take me away from my goals? 

Whether you believe it or not, on a subconscious level, there is always a reason for your attraction to a certain person or thing. Doing the research on yourself will reveal that answer and possibly grant you the freedom, clarity and power you need to make healthy relationship decisions outside of what your eyes and the butterflies in your stomach recommend. If you were to be honest, both have been wrong before. Both have desired something that in the end was not compatible to your peace, health, or mental well-being. Attraction sparks your interest, but compatibility will keep it for the long haul.

Compatibility happens when two or more things are able to exist or perform together in combination without problems or conflict. That’s what you want for the future: a partner who will work in combination with you with as few conflicts as possible. 

If marriage is what you desire, it’s time to start making different decisions when it comes to dating. With vows that include, “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer,” the stakes are too high to confuse attraction with compatibility. 

So before you get lost in someone’s eyes, smile or status, ask yourself honestly: What is this person all about? Are we equally yoked? Do we have many similarities? Is this person willing to commit to me long-term? Do we share the same values? Do our future goals align? Do we solve conflicts well together? Does this person respect me and my choices? Do I feel appreciated and uplifted in this relationship? 

The answers to these questions may very well help you move away from what’s temporary and hold fast to something that will last a lifetime.

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