Reblog – 10 Dating Deal-Breakers by Debra Fileta

A little while back I stumbled on the site and Twitter feed of Debra Fileta. I honestly am not even sure how it happened, but it did, nonetheless. After I started to follow her on Twitter, she mentioned her upcoming book (came out yesterday), so I checked it out and pre-ordered it. Since following her on Twitter I have been able to participate in a blog on her site about turning 30, being single and how others act towards us.

More recently I have been thinking about the importance of dating a solid-Christian female and not even pursuing anyone who isn’t. While talking to the Freshmen boys in the small group that I lead, I realized that I am not the only one who needs this reminder on a regular basis. While searching for blogs/articles/Bible verses that spoke to this, I once again ended up back on Debra’s site and found her answer to this question. I immediately asked for her permission to re-post this on my blog and she agreed. I encourage you to read what she has to say and let it guide you, if you are single, in your search for a marriage partner.


I get a lot of questions about what kind of things should be taken seriously enough in dating to be considered deal-breakers.  If I’m honest, I was (and still am) pretty particular about the relationships I invest in and the people I get to know.  My personal list of deal-breakers was probably 10 pages long.  But the truth is that preferences and deal-breakers are very different things.  My preferences with regard to relationships and yours may look totally different, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

That said, from my perspective as a professional counselor, some things are just a no-go no matter how you try to look at them.  Over time, what I have observed from my experience and from the couples I have worked with is that there are some qualities and characteristics that should never be looked over, no matter how many other things line up.

1.  Deceit:  The number one deal-breaker when it comes to any relationship, is deceit.  If you can’t build a relationship on truth, then you have no relationship.  If you find yourself in a relationship in which you are lied to or continually questioning the truth, my advice to you is this: RUN!

2.  Addictions:  Most people think of alcohol and drugs when it comes to the deal-breaker of addiction.  But there is so much more to the spectrum of addiction that needs to be observed before you engage in a dating relationship.  Addiction can come in the form of financial  irresponsibility (gambling), sexual struggles (pornography), food (compulsive binging or purging), etc.  I am in no way saying that these struggles make someone unworthy of relationships, I am simply saying these struggles need to be dealt with first.  Healthy people make healthy relationships, there’s no getting around it. 

3.  Abuse:  When it comes to deal breakers, there shouldn’t be a hint of sexual, emotional, verbal, or physical abuse.  Using sex, emotions, words, or physical touch to gain control or power over another person is absolutely out of the question.  Add to that list the sly manipulation of spiritual abuse- using God or His word for selfish gain.  Never make excuses for this type of behavior- and get yourself out.

4.  Rage:  How a person handle’s their emotions says a lot about that person.  Rage is a sign that there are some major deficits when it comes to emotional management.  If you see signs of rage this early on in a relationship, the prognosis is likely very…very bad.  Break the deal before you’re in too deep. 

5.  Codependency:  Codependent people base their confidence and self-esteem on the people around them.  They are clingy, needy, and desperate for affection and love- no matter the cost.  But the reality is that healthy people don’t need each other, they choose each other. Don’t ever mistake the dysfunction of need, for the beautiful gift of true love. 

6.  Avoidance:  Though you’ll never meet the perfect person, you should pursue someone who knows their imperfections, and is ready and willing to discuss and deal with these things.  Avoidant people cower from dealing with any topic that has to do with feelings or conflict.  Communication is the life-line of a relationship; avoidance will never allow for that life to take root. 

7.  Control:  For a healthy relationship to exist there has to be a component of freedom.  When two people live in trust with one another, their relationship automatically exudes freedom.  The opposite of this is control.  One or both individuals trying to control the other.  Who they can spend time with, talk to, and see.  How they spend their time, their money, and their emotions.  What they can buy, wear, or be a part of.  Control is a sign that something is not as it should be in the relationship.  It’s a major deal-breaker. 

8.  Lacking Boundaries:  I get emails all the time from both men and women frustrated at their partner’s lack of boundaries with people- specifically, people of the opposite sex.  I always advise that this is something that MUST be dealt with in order for the relationship to continue on.  If you’ve had to address this issue in your relationship and nothing has changed, then it’s time to really consider where you fall on your significant other’s priority list.  If there are signs of this in your current relationship, you better believe it will only be magnified when you enter into a marriage.  So speak now, or forever hold your peace. 

9.  Self-Absorption:  Though this may sometimes be subtle, it’s deadly when it comes to long term relationships.  Self-absorption is essentially declaring that you are more important than anyone else.  In dating, this can come across as someone who is only focused on their wants and needs in a relationship, neglecting their partner.  Someone who is always right.  Someone who is self-centered, vain, or narcissistic.  The root of it all is the same- a fixation with self.  This is poison in any relationship, and even more deadly when we’re talking about a life-long one.  Get…out…while…you…can…

10.  Passive:  Someone who is passive allows life to happen rather than directing the course of their life.  Passivity is typically rooted in insecurity, but manifests in a lack of goals, motivation, desires, and opinions.  It’s someone who repeatedly “doesn’t know” or “doesn’t care” and allows you to constantly take the lead.  It’s a person who is lacking initiative and drive in parts or most areas of their life.  I don’t know about you, but I think one of the worst kinds of relationships is one in which you feel like you are in it alone. 

For me, when it came to falling in love and choosing a life partner- one thing was for certain, I wanted to marry a man who held the same values and beliefs as I did.  But the unfortunate thing is that the title “Christian” doesn’t always translate to healthy. 

The signs of God truly at work in someone’s life manifest themselves in qualities of health and wholeness (Galatians 5:22), a list completely antithesis to the list above.  Don’t ever settle for someone who simply speaks good things–look for someone who lives those things out. 

Marriage is a life-long commitment to someone who vows to love, honor, and cherish you for the rest of their lives.  If you’re not seeing those things in your dating relationship, you’re never going to see them in a future marriage. It’s time to come to terms with the reality of where your relationship is, and break the deal before it breaks you. 

– See more at:


Debra K. Fileta is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Relationship and Marital issues. She, her husband and two children live in Hershey, PA. She is the author of the new book True Love Dates (Zondervan, 2013), challenging young men and women to do dating in a way that is psychologically sound, emotionally healthy and spiritually grounded. Visit and follow her on Twitter to get your dating questions answered and to learn more!

A little reminder from Go Tandem

A while back I wrote a review about and since then they have made many improvements including a new app. Check it and them out, download their app and subscribe. It’s pretty darn worth it! A little while back I got the following from them and I thought I would share it with you all.

“You know, there are a lot of things that try to take our attention off of God. Here are some tips on how to keep God right at the center of your life.

Psalm 101:2-5

I will be careful to live a blameless life–
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
and stay away from every evil.
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
I will not endure conceit and pride.

Did you notice that every verse starts with, “I will”? So, what will you do today?”

Will you be missed?

IMG_20130814_145711On a recent trip to Leipzig, I visited the art museum and on my way out I saw a piece of art hanging on the wall that caught my attention. It wasn’t a masterpiece by some renowned artist, or an intricate piece that would have taken years to perfect. Instead it was a simple neon-letter sign with only four words. It said “Will I Be Missed?” That got me thinking about my life so far. not in a morbid sense, where I delved down deep and got depressed about how short life is in this world. No, instead it got me thinking about my life in a totally different way.

So, “Will I be missed?”

The quick answer: yes, by my family, friends, etc.

The long answer: Yes and no. Of course my family will miss me if I die before they do, but is that enough. My friends will probably miss me too, but again, is that enough?

Why will they miss me? Is it really even about me? Should I care if people miss me?

After I got through the initial selfish thoughts about how people will miss me, because I made them smile, or because of the trips we went on, etc. I started to realize that I really shouldn’t care if people miss me or not. It really isn’t about me. What if I cared more about leaving a legacy than people knowing my name?

A legacy lives on with or without yours or my name. A legacy is more about impacting future generations than having people know who I am in 100 years. So what is your legacy? What about your life, your beliefs, your visions would you want future generations to hold true to? What is the most important thing that you can pass on?

I just started meeting with 5 Freshman boys on a weekly basis to discuss the Christian life and all of the things that come along with that. This is where a legacy can begin. I can help these guys see truth and then in turn they can help others see truth and after the domino effect kicks in, years later we can have so many people seeing the truth of Christ and they may only know the name of the person who shared that truth with them. They may never know my name….and that’s just fine by me!

Forget about whether you will be missed or not and start thinking about how you can impact the future of this world with or without your name in the history books. What legacy are you going to start today?

Who are you today?

I have sat on a bench many times since my arrival in Kandern, awaiting the bus that will take me to


Loerrach where my language school is and on this bench a question is written. At first glance this question seems pretty simple, innocent even, but within it can lie a very self-examination. Someone scrawled (In English) “Who are you today?,” probably not thinking too much about how it would make people really look at themselves.

Within the last few weeks this question kept coming up in different areas of my life. I heard a song that I had listened to many times before, but had only just heard the lyrics and it said “Who are you today?” Then I was reading “The Rest of God” by Mark Buchanan and sure enough within the first paragraph of a chapter it said, “Who are you?”

If you think about it this question might never be answered. As Mark Buchanan suggests when he says, “We keep asking, though we never get a full or fully satisfying answer this side of heaven.” He goes on to talk about how who we have been, who are are today and who will will be all goes into the idea of who we are. We obviously cannot know the answer to this, since we don’t know what the future will hold.

If everyday, every hour, every minute, we ask who we are going to be today or right now, maybe that destiny becomes things we are proud of and even better things God wants it to include. Mark Buchanan puts it much better than myself when he says:

Who will you be? This is as crucial to your full identity as who you have been or have become. The future shapes you as much as the past or the present, maybe more. Destiny, every bit as much as history, determines identity.

We can dwell on those things we regret or we can concentrate on living every moment for Him. Our past has no hold on us, but our future is limitless and matters more than what is in the past.

I leave you with the same question that prompted this blog:

Who are you today?

Waking up to the moo of a cow and other things I’m getting used to

The most common questions I have been getting since I got here, is how am I adjusting. What do I like, what don’t I like, what seems ridiculous, etc. Well, one thing that I have realized is that I am pretty darn flexible.

  • There isn’t Mexican food… I got over it.
  • It’s been raining a lot here…I bought an umbrella.
  • Gas is expensive…I walk more and ride the bus.
  • Peanut butter is expensive and not in candy or ice cream at all, I’m working on adjusting to this.
  • There isn’t hot sauce (other than tabasco…gross), ok this one gives me issues.

There are a few things that have been an adjustment and I thought I would share them with you all. None of these things are bad, or wrong, they are just different. In fact, I kind of like some of them, but nonetheless there is an adjustment for sure.

  • I’ve have woken up to the sound of cows mooing on more than one occasion. This is not a Germany thing, but this city boy is not used to that at all. No roosters, but definitely cows.
  • Apparently the number one is written differently in Europe than in the US (with a tick from the top down to the left).
  • 1 Euro 25 is written 1,25 not 1.25 like we would do.
  • The date is written day/month/year.
  • Most stores are closed on Sundays (I like this one, but I have to remember to grocery shop on Saturday so I can eat on Sunday!)
  • Water isn’t free and there are no free refills in restaurants. Both of these almost blew my mind! Ok, I knew them before, but it still boggles my mind.

Anyway, the adjustment continues on this side of the pond (no I don’t really say that), but I am enjoying it and can’t wait to discover new things that are different!

Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be…monolingual

As many of you know I am in language school right now. The language school I attend is a school that offers German and a few other languages to people who need to learn a new language due to a job or a desire to learn a second language. There are no requirements to what languages you know, where you come from or why you are there. All that matters is you want to learn a new language (and you pay of course).

Here are some things I have noticed in class so far:

  • Out of the 19 students only 2 of us speak one language, the other 17 speak at least 2.
  • Breaks are really boring when few people speak English.

I have always been a proponent of people learning the common language in the country they are living in and I still believe that, which is one of the reasons why I am taking German now.

Taking this class, though, has made me think more about people becoming bilingual (at least). In school we all learned some other language and by learned I mean we sat through a class and passed a few tests. The problem is, we didn’t have a need to really learn the language because English is the predominant language used for business throughout the world. I am learning German so I can get around in Germany and communicate with Germans, but in the States I didn’t have to use German outside of class, so I never committed it to memory.

I want to look at some of the advantages to learning another language though and hopefully you will see why learning another language might be something of interest to you even if you do live in an area where people only speak your language.

The obvious advantages:

  • Learning a second language helps you solidify your knowledge of your first language.
  • Going to a foreign country is easier if you know more languages (obviously this is dependent on what language you know and what country you visit).
  • It’s cool to say you are bilingual and even cooler to say multilingual!

The not-so-obvious ones:

  • Job opportunities may be available to you that wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Showing interest in someone else’s language and culture can open doors that wouldn’t otherwise be open.
  • Talking to someone in their first language about God and their relationship with Christ can make them feel more at ease.

I’m not saying everyone should go out and learn multiple languages purely for the sake of learning languages, but what if you did learn another language? What if a learned Spanish and a job opened up in Spain through your company? What if someone new comes to your church or neighborhood and you can be the welcoming committee because you speak their language? What if you have a friend who speaks Spanish, German, Italien, etc? Wouldn’t it be awesome to sit down with them and invest in them by truly learning about their language and their culture? You just might be surprised at what that would mean to them.

Any of my readers speak multiple languages?

If you want to learn a language but don’t want to spend a lot of money I can possibly point you to a couple websites, just let me know!

Sympathy means to suffer together – What I learned from the movie 42



Before I left for Germany I had the privilege of seeing “42.” It is probably one of the best movies I have seen in a long time, not just because the acting was well done. I really enjoyed the movie because of the story. Because of Jackie Robinson, because of Branch Rickey, that is why the movie was so good. Both of these men were strong Christians who believed in the equality of all. While at first Branch Rickey made it sound like his decision to bring in Jackie Robinson was purely a business move, later in the movie he explains to Jackie that he wanted to make a difference in the sport he loved. An actual quote I found of Rickey said:

“Ethnic prejudice has no place in sports, and baseball must recognize that truth if it is to maintain stature as a national game.”

There were a couple lines in the movie that I wanted to briefly talk about.

At one point in the movie Branch tells Jackie that to truly have sympathy means you suffer going back to the original Greek word from where we get sympathy. Isn’t that far different than what we normally think about when we hear the word sympathy. We hear to have sorrow for someone else’s misfortune, but do you truly suffer with them? When someone loses a loved one, do you feel as if you have too? When someone gets sick, are you sick too? When you see the commercials of starving children, do you get filled with the desire to make the suffering end? That is true sympathy and we should be more sympathetic in our daily lives.

My other favorite moment of the movie was when Jackie and his wife are both struggling with all of the events surrounding them…the hate, the threats, the words and every other terrible thing that people were doing to this young couple. Jackie’s wife, Rachel, says to her husband “If they knew you, they would be ashamed.” I know I am ashamed at some of the thoughts that pop in my head about some of the people I see throughout my day. Do you do the same? Some of the time I am sure that our thoughts are correct, but how often? I doubt it is nearly as often as we would like to imagine. The person we think is scum of the Earth might just be the salt of the Earth. We can’t know anything if we generalize, we must get to know someone.

I hope you go see this movie, but more than that I hope we begin to truly sympathize with those hurting around us and that we will see people for who they are and not who we think they are.