You might be dating a fellow you really like/love or are even already engaged but you really want to know for sure…is he filled with lust or love? Will my relationship last? Will he be faithful after marriage? I’ve wondered these same questions myself as a single woman and they are perfectly normal and healthy questions that need to be addressed if you plan on making a wise and informed decision about marrying the one you are with. In fact, if these questions go ignored or shrugged off as unimportant, it could cost you (and even your future children) dearly. The decision of who to marry is an extremely important decision and should be prayerfully considered with extreme carefulness and caution.
One of the quickest ways to take a wrecking ball to a relationship is for a partner to be unfaithful. This is because it is extremely painful and hurtful for the partner who was cheated on. You can compare it to being stabbed in the back and some marriages never recover without God’s intervention. Even if the unfaithfulness is on a small scale level (such as a husband who constantly flirts with other women) this can still be severely painful for a wife and she could have to fight bitterness, resentment, and hatred on a regular basis. God expects absolute purity within the marriage relationship….purity in our thoughts, actions, and hearts. Of course, you can imagine what unfaithfulness in marriage could do to a family. Not only does the pain effect the one who was cheated on, but also can easily effect the children as they witness the bickering, fighting, disrespect, and awful display of sin going on before their eyes. It is extremely painful, unhealthy, and sad for a child to know that their mom and dad don’t get along, don’t love each other, or don’t have each other’s best interest in mind. For those of you who grew up in a divorced home, you know this pain. Many children have turned to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain their parents have caused. You can keep in mind that who you choose as a husband will also be a father to your children, if you have children, and any example he might set for your children spiritually is vitally important. Children look up to their parents and if your boyfriend is currently prone to walking in sexual sin, you might want to think about what that would look like later in marriage when he is a father and what kind of example that will set for your children. Here are 25 red flags that could possibly reveal a man who has a problem with sexual sin.
Red Flag #1. You see him checking out other girls when he’s with you.
This one is obvious. If you see him looking at other women and still think you are his “one and only” you’re in for a rude awakening. Today’s society works very hard to convince us that for an unmarried (or even married) man to look at another women in lust is “innocent” and “harmless.” We don’t have to dig far into the Bible to know that this is far from true. Jesus said that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already in his heart. If you’re boyfriend is willing to commit adultery as your boyfriend, how much more committed do you think he will be as your husband? If he isn’t faithful in the small stuff you can bet that he likely won’t be faithful in the big stuff either. If he is willing to be unfaithful in his heart then he has already broken the marriage covenant from the start.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” - Matthew 5:28
Red Flag #2. He doesn’t keep his obligations to you.
Here’s a guy who sent you sweet emails about possibly meeting up on Friday night….but when Friday night rolls around he suddenly is off the radar. He had “something else” to do or just plain “forgot” or got “busy.” Don’t be fooled. A guy who genuinely loves you will likely not put you on the back burner like this and, quite frankly, his behavior is pretty fishy.
Red Flag #3. He isn’t honest or truthful. (including white lies)
This is when you sense he is blurring the truth, coming up with excuses, or hiding things behind your back. He has a smooth answer for everything, but it’s a little too smooth. When you confront him about things he lies to you. Or, perhaps he has lied in the past. Either way, a man who is willing to lie to try and cover himself or his sin isn’t doing anybody any favors.
Red Flag #4. He isn’t open and doesn’t share information.
This is the guy who never shares details with you. In a normal, healthy, and functioning relationship a man and woman should always share with each other the details of what they did and what happened while they were apart from each other. If he withholds information or is very vague, beware.
Red Flag #5. He doesn’t honor you in front of others.
When you walk into a room at an event or in public does he hold your hand? Does he walk into the room like he owns a prize? Does he introduce you to others with pride? Do you feel that he values you as something special and a gift from God? If these feelings are missing you might want to pray about what this means for you. A husband should cherish his wife and if he cannot do that even as your boyfriend, how will that look for you in marriage?
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” – Ephesians 5:28-29
Red Flag #6. He has another close girl friend or multiple close friends that are girls.
Having close girlfriends that you talk to on a personal level besides the one you are dating is simply a bad idea. Not only is it a bad idea, but it sets a precedent for marriage. This is a big no-no. If you see this going on with your boyfriend, you certainly have a right to be upset. (I also talk about this in my list of ways to stay spiritually pure)
Red Flag #7. He spends time alone with other girls.
I talk about this in my other article about affair proofing your marriage. If this is definitely inappropriate behavior while married and it probably isn’t a good idea while dating either. After all, this is the behavior trend he is setting for his future wife and if he is already breeching the boundaries with other girls now then you can realize he isn’t taking faithfulness very seriously.
Red Flag #8. He’s perfectly fine with spending time/going places without you and does it fairly often.
This is a biggy. Any guy who genuinely cares for you and loves you is simply going to want you around, especially if he has any hopes of marrying you one day. You would think that would be a good recipe for a married couple too, right? I’m not saying that you have to do everything together, but if he seems apathetic about wanting you to be with him on a regular basis you can get the memo. He doesn’t care that much about you. Perhaps, he’s entertained the idea of some other women too. In a healthy, thriving relationship, both partners (especially during the dating stage) should have a desire to be around each other on a regular basis. This means each partner is asking each other to “go along” where they go, even for routine outings.
Red Flag #9. He goes for random periods of time with very little or no communication.
There is no good reason for this. A guy who disappears off the radar for a while only to pop back up again is most likely up to no good. Sometimes a guy like this will find a different “subject of interest” (another woman) for a while and you will simply go on the back burner while he pursues and entertains the idea of this other person by email, phone, or otherwise. Then, suddenly if things don’t work out between himself and the new “crush,” he remembers you and returns.
Red Flag #10. You have this “gut” feeling down inside you that he won’t be faithful.
My opinion is that the very best advice you can listen to is your “gut” feeling about how this man will operate after marriage. If you are a Christian, your “gut” feeling could very well be the Holy Spirit trying to get your attention and warn you. Please pay attention!
Red Flag #11. He doesn’t seem that worried when you spend time without him.
Well, this one is simple. If he isn’t that worried then he isn’t that worried…about you (that’s right, you heard me right) or his relationship with you. He doesn’t feel he has anything to lose. Makes you feel special, right? Sometimes us women can try to “justify” what he feels by telling ourselves “oh, that isn’t true…he really loves me” even when all of the facts are staring us straight in the face.
Red Flag #12. He lets other women touch him or he touches them.
There is absolutely no good reason for a man who is desiring to follow God and do what is right to let women hug him chest to chest, brush their hands on his shoulders, hug him from behind, hold his hand, or do anything else that requires physical contact besides possibly shaking hands or occasionally bumping into them on accident while playing sports. A man who lets other women touch him physically like this or even touches women physically is obviously not setting any good boundaries and has not demonstrated any desire to do so.
Red Flag #13. He looks like he “overly” enjoys talking to other pretty women.
If you find yourself a little disgusted at your boyfriend when you witness him being overly excited when talking to a pretty woman, then you might want to take into consideration that your gut feeling might be right: he is operating in lust.
Red Flag #14. He doesn’t display any physical or emotional boundaries.
A man seeking to walk in purity will keep physical and emotional boundaries. If your guy is demonstrating emotional boundaries with women he will not discuss personal matters with other them (other than maybe his mom) and he will not try to meet the emotional needs of other women. I discuss some ways that men can inappropriately meet another women’s emotional needs in my article on how to affair proof your marriage. If a man has good physical boundaries he will keep his hands to himself, not stand too close to a woman or in her “bubble,” and not allow other women to touch him in inappropriate ways (hand brushing, chest-to-chest hugs, etc.).
Red Flag #15. You mostly only get attention from him if you look good.
In this case you can tell that the relationship’s emphasis is more about looks instead of your relationship with each other. Here, the emotional intimacy is lacking and the focus is on the physical. Although guys tend to be very interested in women because of their looks (which is normal), this situation is a little too unbalanced. You might sense that your personality is not the main reason he likes you whereas in a healthy relationship each partner should be interested in both looks and personality.
Red Flag #16. He doesn’t seem that devoted to God.
Doesn’t read the Bible? Doesn’t seem interested in talking about God stuff? If you have a guy who isn’t that devoted to God then he won’t be that devoted to doing what is right either. God’s commandments help us stay away from evil, sin, and the consequences they cause. If your guy loves God, he’s going to want to obey Him. That’s a good thing. If he doesn’t appear to love God or His Word, this might be something you want to consider because it’s the most important thing on this list.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” – John 14:23
Red Flag #17. He doesn’t avoid temptation or flee evil.
Does he stay away from places of temptation? Perhaps he still goes to the store where is ex works? Maybe when he sees a seductive female he doesn’t try to avoid the situation? A man sincerely trying to follow God and stay pure will do what it takes to escape the possibility of sin, even if it’s inconvenient. Take note.
Red Flag #18. He has a history or cheating or unfaithfulness.
This is pretty obvious but I think a lot of women write this off. “Oh, he’s different now.” My advice is to not shrug it off but to carefully consider this as perhaps an indicator of a problem, habit, or sin that he might still be enslaved to. He may or may not have not taken care of his sin, especially if it was a problem in the past.
Red Flag #19. You find “stuff” in his email or on his computer.
For all women engaged to be married I suggest doing this…..one day when he is unsuspecting (do not under any circumstances give him a hint that you will do this) ask him out of the blue if you can read his email. (I do not care how nice you think he is, how good of Christian you think he is, and how much you trust him…this is so important!) It will be awkward, yes, but it is a test of his character. It could possibly reveal who he is in the dark places that you do not see. If he responds that he doesn’t want you to look his email then this isn’t a good sign. If he let’s you look and you find nothing, good! If you look and you find hundreds of emails written to other women online….you might have just uncovered the dirt under the carpet. Good thing you asked, right?! It was worth the pain of feeling awkward!
Red Flag #20. He’s a flirt.
If your guy tends to flirt with other women, know that this is a blatant act of unfaithfulness. It’s inappropriate behavior, that’s it period.
Red Flag #21. He doesn’t seem to value purity, faithfulness, or family as much as you do.
Do you get the feeling that you value purity and faithfulness more than him? Do you seem to be more into having a family and making it work more than he does? Please don’t ignore your gut feelings. If you choose to marry a man like this, then don’t be surprised when his actions line up with what he does and doesn’t value.
Red Flag #22. You just don’t feel like he’s all that “into” you.
This is never the best feeling and, girl, I’ve been there. You just get an overall sense that you are not the only girl in the world to him. My question is, do you really want to marry a guy who’s really not all that enthused about you and doesn’t think you are all that much more special than any other woman? There is only ONE you and you are special in God’s eyes.
Red Flag #23. Or, on the contrary, he seems a little obsessed with you.
This type of guy meets you and thinks you are the greatest thing in world from the get-go. He is overly obsessed with you and perhaps wants to spend loads of time and money on you. But, does he really think you are the greatest thing in the world or only the idea of you? One great way to reveal this character is time. After time and once he gets to know you, he might find that the idea of you didn’t really line up with who you really are. This is when you suddenly will not be the center of the universe to him. In fact, this type of guy might even drop you like a hotcake! Not cool, right? You could find yourself crying “but…but…I thought you loved me!!!”
Red Flag #24. He doesn’t spend much money on you.
This isn’t always an indicator that a guy doesn’t value you, however, I think it is to some extent in certain cases. If your guy can’t ever find a $20 bill to scrounge up and take you to dinner while you are dating or do something…anything nice for you, realize that this could actually be an indicator of how much he really values you. Like I said, not always (some guys are just simply tight with their money), but in some cases, yes.
Red Flag #25. He doesn’t turn his eyes away when he sees temptation.
How much does he want to do what is right? What does he do when you are both in Walmart and some girl walks down the isle wearing almost nothing? Does he look away or stare straight on? Or does he try to sneak a look? What about when you both are walking in the mall and you pass Victoria’s Secret? Does he try to steal a glance at the posters? What about when he browses the news on his computer and sees a pop star dressed in a scantily clad outfit? Does he keep on scrolling? Or does he click off the page? I’m not telling you to spy on him or be suspicious (because these would also be wrong for you to do) but if you happen to notice these things happening from time to time, you might want to take note. This can be a really good indicator of where this guy is at spiritually. Do you really want a husband who isn’t willing to look away? Do you want this type of father for your children? A guy who’s faithful will be faithful, even with the small stuff.
So, there are my 25 red flags. I hope they help you make an informed decision. Certainly, trying to find a man who you can trust to have your back is rare in today’s society but possible with God’s help. The key to knowing who to marry is in prayer and listening for God’s answer. Of course, if your guy has any of these red flags I am by no means telling you not to marry him. My advice is to do what God says no matter what that might be. If God gives you the go-ahead, that’s all you need. But know that marriage is a very, even extremely, important decision and choosing to marry a man that has serious spiritual issues with sexual sin can be a blaring road sign for “hard times ahead.”