Mark Ogletree, MFT, PhD. & Victor W. Harris, MS
When visiting with couples, we often ask a husband or wife if any of the bizarre behaviors and practices their spouse is currently demonstrating was manifested during their dating and courtship. Surprisingly, many men and women say, “Yes, I noticed that, but I thought once we were married it would go away.” Others will say, “I tried not to notice it.” It is wise not to ignore the clues and hints that we term Signs or Red Flags in a relationship. If your date or fiancé tells you to only call them at night between the hours of 11:30 and 11:45 p.m., and requests that you do not ask for them by name, but just to give the code “A6758,” you might want to reconsider this relationship. If they have nuclear weapons in a storage facility or a bionic limb, you might want to be very careful and pay close attention!
Someone has said that before we get married we should keep our eyes WIDE OPEN and that after marriage; we should keep our eyes HALF SHUT. Seriously, below is our TOP 25 checklist of signs or Red Flags that we hope will be helpful to pay attention to when considering your date or prospective partner.
Does your partner –
1. Have extreme views on political, family, religious, or world affairs?
2. Encourage you to develop your talents and progress, or do they want to keep you hidden in a closet,
away from the rest of the world?
3. Allow you time for yourself, or is your partner possessive?
4. Encourage you to have your own interests, your own life too?
5. Allow you to spend time with your friends, or is your partner jealous of your friends and the time you
spend with them?
6. Compare you to past boyfriends or girlfriends?
7. Take an interest in other people, or is your partner selfish with his/her time and pursuits?
8. Exhibit behaviors that suggest that the world revolves around him/her?
9. Exhibit behaviors that suggest personality faults such as deep insecurity, excessive jealousy,
uncontrollable temper, and inflexibility?
10. Exhibit character flaws such as being condescending, or lying, cheating, stealing, arrogance, etc.
11. Fail to admit mistakes and can never admit to being “wrong?” (Note: If your partner fails to see
mistakes now, he/she won’t be able to see them or admit to them later on in the relationship either.
Look for humility and meekness, but personal confidence, as well)
12. Often exhibit negative or critical traits?
13. Complain about your family or spending time with your family?
14. Seek to build relationships with your family or does your partner lack the skills to do so?
15. Have difficulty relating to his/her own family? (Note: This is a huge Red Flag that your partner will
have difficulty in his/her own family relationships later on)
16. Enjoy work or is your partner prone to laziness and irresponsibility?
17. Have the television on all the time at his/her apartment or home?
18. Criticize your personal appearance?
19. Tell you that you need to lift weights, go jogging, or join a health club?
20. Make fun of your weight or other bodily traits?
21. Verbally, physically, or emotionally abuse you?
22. Tear you down and then try to come back a few days later as “Mr. Nice Guy,” promising that it will
never happen again?
23. Need to make major social or emotional changes in his/her life?
24. Promise that he/she will change after the wedding?
25. Have some of the same goals, dreams, and aspirations as you do?
Adapted from D.E. Brinley & M.D. Ogletree, First Comes Love
[Covenant Communications: American Fork, UT, 2001], pp. 75-77.