No couple will be compatible enough to not need commitment. But without a certain level of compatibility a relationship will suffer and the Christians will not be as fruitful as they could be if they were in a more compatible union.
Therefore, here are 8 warning signs that two Christian are simply incompatible for a relationship.
1. You Need to Change Each Other in Order to Stay Together
A project relationship is a problem relationship.
When people really want to be in a relationship but nothing seems to be working, they often start to look outside the box. It’s a little like looking for a house even though you know you can’t afford one right now. Instead of accepting this and saving more money, you then start looking for a house with a bunch of problems because they are cheaper. You think to yourself, “I can fix it up. Then I can have my dream house and not have to pay full price.”
While this thinking may work for buying a house, it won’t work in relationships because people are not objects that you can fix up with a little elbow grease. People have identities. While two people should come together to help improve each other, they should not come together and try to change core parts of who they are.
As Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” We should try to sharpen each other, but not forge each other into two completely different objects.
2. Your Callings Are Conflicting
Your future spouse does not need to have the exact same spiritual gift as you. In fact, it’s unlikely they will. What is necessary, however, is that your callings to not prevent one another from fulfilling what God has called each of you to do.
For example, if one person wants to plant a church in America and the other person wants to be a missionary in Thailand, those two callings are so conflicting that a relationship would be incompatible.
Peter and Paul did not do a great deal of ministry together because Paul felt called to serve the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) and Peter felt called to serve the Jews (Galatians 2:7). Likewise, if you would pull each other away from God’s call on your lives if you tried to stay together, this is a sign of an incompatible relationship.
3. You Have Different Beliefs About Biblical Gender Roles
It’s okay to disagree about some important biblical issues. But when it comes to something like gender roles in a relationship, this difference will cause so much strife in the years ahead it’s best for this couple to simply accept they are incompatible.
For example, Christians have interpreted the meaning of Ephesians 5:21-33 in dramatically different ways. A husband who thinks a wife’s role should be different than the wife believes it should be and a wife who thinks a husband’s role should be different than the husband thinks it should be will cause them to struggle to maintain the unity Christ wants for Christian marriages.
4. You Have Plans to Raise a Family in Two Very Different Ways
It’s sometimes possible for a man and woman to not realize how different their beliefs about gender really are because they are both fine with not touching on that subject. But when you have kids, you are forced to confront this issue head on.
For example, if you both interpret the meaning and application of verses like Titus 2:4, Colossians 3:20-21, and Proverbs 13:24 in extremely different ways, this is going to cause massive division in the years ahead once you have a family together.
Not only will your parenting styles and expectations be an issue, but you will fight about what values to teach your children. This is why it’s important to have a general idea about someone’s family goals before you marry them.
5. Your Sexual Attraction Is the Only Reason You Are Currently Overcoming Your Drastic Personality Differences
Physical attraction is important. God made a husband and wife to have sex with each other. And if you are not attracted to your spouse, it’s not possible for sex to take place.
However, there are many other things that are much more important than physical attraction. Sometimes two people’s personalities are just not a great fit. One person loves to go out and the other person loves to stay home. One person loves to be active, but the other person loves to read. One person only eats vegetables, but the other person prefers to always eat meat.
Sure, you can overcome any personality conflict if you want to. These are not biblical issues. But if you are not happy with someone and you would break up other than for the fact that you are extremely sexually attracted to this person, it’s a bad idea to stay together.
As Proverbs 31:30 (NIV) states, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
6. Your Commitment to Others Is Causing Unsolvable Conflict
When a man and woman become a husband and wife, God says a new family is formed (Genesis 2:24). It’s important to accept this before you get married so you are both fully aware of the affects this will have on your other relationships.
When you get married, you cannot go to your parents before you go to your spouse. You can’t pretend like you can keep all the same friends if they fight with your husband or wife. And you can’t be naive and place no boundaries between you and other people from the opposite sex now that you are married.
If someone is unwilling to make these changes or you are unwilling to make these changes for this person, it means you are not compatible.
7. Someone Has a Problem with the Other Person’s Past and They Can’t Get Over It
Nothing can change the past. The grace of God can change you so you are no longer guilty because of past sins. But every one of us has lived a life we are not proud of (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Ideally we repent of past sins and fully receive the mercy of God so we are completely different now (Ephesians 2:4-5). But if someone cannot get over something that happened in your past or you can not get over something in their past, it means you are not compatible.
8. There Is Always a Failure to Launch at the Moment of Truth
Eventually a relationship needs to breakout of the friendship zone and into a committed relationship. And eventually a dating relationship needs to breakout of that zone and into the marriage season.
If someone is constantly getting right up to the point of growing the relationship but then they fail and you two are right back where you have been for too long, it’s best to accept this is never going to change. As Ephesians 5:6 states, “Let no one deceive you with empty words . . . .”