None of us know the future, so it’s not wise to try to predict what will happen. That’s not the point of this article. Rather, here we want to discuss some signs to help you recognize when something more is happening between you and a friend so you don’t miss what God is doing and so you don’t misjudge what God is not doing.
In other words, these 3 signs can help you follow the Lord’s leading when he is in fact telling you to become something more with a friend and these signs can help you avoid pursuing something more when God is really not leading you in that direction.
1. If God Is Preparing You and a Friend to Be Something More, Your Friendship Will Thrive Rather Than Nosedive
On the outside looking in, it’s often pretty easy to tell when two friends will be something more. When my wife and I were just friends, our other friends later told us that it was obvious to them that we would eventually start dating one day.
While it’s easy to see this type of thing from the outside looking in, when you are the one with feelings for a friend, it can often be a little more challenging to see clearly. Your vision can get skewed in both directions. On one hand it’s easy to assume your interest is only one-sided and this person does not like you like you like them. This is easy to do because we usually have a high view of this friend that we like and then tell ourselves things like, “Why would someone great like that like someone like me?” On the other hand, it’s also very easy to assume this friend does like you because you can misinterpret their desire for friendship as something more.
The best way to avoid these misunderstandings is to pay more attention to your actual friendship with this person and less attention to your hopes and feelings for a relationship with this friend. Even with our own relationship with God, we are told to focus more on the actual relationship and not just on our perception of it. Sadly, many people trick themselves into thinking they have something more with God than they really do because all they do is pay attention to their feelings rather than the facts and fruit in their life. The Bible says that true Christians bear fruit for Christ and grow in grace over the course of their lives, which is called the process of sanctification. It doesn’t matter how you feel. If there is no fruit there is no faith. As James 2:17 teaches us, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Obviously these truths are about our relationship with God, but there is some wisdom in applying this general principle to our human relationships as well. Our feelings can mislead us, which is why we need to be honest about the real facts and fruit of a relationship. If you two don’t have a thriving friendship, it’s unlikely this relationship would turn out well in dating. It’s kind of like lifting weights. If your connection together can’t bench 100lbs in friendship, how could it bench 200lbs in dating?
The point is, when God is leading you and this person into something more, your friendship will be thriving and full of life rather than nosediving and getting weaker over time.
2. If This Person Surpasses Your Requirements for Friendship and Has the Qualities of a Godly Spouse that You Desire, This Could Be a Sign God Is Preparing You for Something More with This Person
In wisdom, we should have different requirements of people based upon our relationship with them. This same principle can be seen in the life of the church. To be a member of the church, you need to have certain beliefs and live a certain way that aligns with that church. But just because you are qualified to be a member does not mean you are qualified to be an elder. For example, there are Christians who are genuine believers in the Lord who do not meet the specific requirements for eldership as listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
This same principle can be seen in our relationships too. For example, your friends don’t need to have all the qualities you would want in a spouse. It’s perfectly fine to have friends of the opposite sex who are Christian and love God but maybe they see some big theological doctrines differently than you. Or maybe they are enjoyable to serve with in ministry but you also know you would not want to live with this person forever because parts of their personality get on your nerves.
Each type of relationship is different and thus our standards should be different based upon each relationship. When you and a friend are meant to be something more, their qualities will surpass your requirements for your friends and you will see those qualities you desire in a future spouse one day. You won’t know everything about them, but you will be able to see the basics like their walk with God, their fruits of the Spirt, and their readiness to fulfill the role of a Christian husband or wife.
Some people are meant to be friends and that’s it. Just because someone makes a good friend does not mean they will make a good boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife. Those relationship positions require different qualifications.
3. If God Is Building a Strong Foundation for Romance By Putting Your Friendship Through Some Healthy Trials First, This Is Often a Good Sign God Is Preparing You Two for Something More
Every relationship is different, so I’m not saying that everyone needs to go through some trials in friendship first before they can have a successful dating relationship or marriage one day. But more often than not, God does prepare his people for success through trials and hardships.
This is true in relationships as well. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Not only will a true friend help you through difficult times, they will also keep loving you when you two have adversity with each other. If your friendship folds when things get a little hard, this friendship is not going to transform into something more.
But if God allows some misunderstandings that need to be talked about, if God is allowing some offenses that need to be forgiven, or if God is putting your friendship through some other forms of trials and these trials are strengthening your bond rather than weakening it – this is a good sign God is preparing you two for something more.