So you start to date someone, and it all seems great. Then your friends and family let you know that they don’t like them. We’re hit with confusion and disappointment, and left trying to figure out if our friends and family are out of order, just need to get to know them better, or if they see something we can’t. Asking these 10 questions can help us before we go crazy!  

Years ago before I met my now wife, when I was dating someone else, a few of my friends said they didn’t think it would work out. Naturally, I got defensive and thought they were out of order and we fell out.

Fast forward a few months and we broke up. Lots of the problems in the relationship that I was ignoring grew and grew until we couldn’t get past them.

How do you work out if your disapproving friends and family are trying to help

So how do you work out if your disapproving friends and family are trying to help, or are just being unfair and too harsh? It’s an important question. If we get it wrong the consequences can lead to losing friends who care and are genuinely trying to help. Or ending a relationship that could be great.

How do we work it out?

(The following extract is taken from page 194-196 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free here)

Different Contexts 

Often, when people begin to answer this question, they assume that everyone is in the same boat or has the same experience as they have. Our friends might want to protect us from a relationship they see is damaging us, or they might have a few hidden motives!

Families will react differently too

Families will react differently too. We might have Christian parents, non-Christian parents, families who are supportive, distant, controlling, off the wall – anything!

As if this didn’t make it complicated enough, we all have different expectations of what being someone’s friend, brother, sister, son or daughter means.

Biblical Rules?

So it’s impossible for us to give you hard and fast rules. The Bible does make something clear though: we should listen to good advice!

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)

Treating others with honour begins with us doing what God asks of us

[Parents approval often means a lot, especially if we’re still young.] When it comes to our parents, we’re taught to honour them (Exodus 20:12). But honouring our parents doesn’t mean we have to go along with everything they ask of us.

Treating others with honour begins with us doing what God asks of us, and then being humble enough to allow people to challenge us when they think we are getting it wrong. (Read One Thing We Should All Avoid When We Like Someone.)

10 Questions

So here are some questions to help you think through your own situation [as we think about disapproving parents, family and/or friends]:

  1. Are your friends/family keen that you grow in your relationship with God? If so, is their advice seeking to help you to do this in your relationship?
  2. Even if your family are not Christians, do they often give you good advice/look out for you, or do they try to push their agenda on to you? How accurate or helpful has their advice been in the past?
  3. What is your relationship with them like? Is it positive? Unhelpful?
  4. If your relationship with your family isn’t positive, you might find yourself ignoring potentially good advice. So is there someone who you could share their comments with who would help you to consider the merit of their advice?
  5. How will you deal with close friends not liking the person you date?
  6. Do you listen to their advice in general? If not, why not? Do you have good reasons not to listen to them?
  7. Why are you dating this person? If it’s to get back at your family/parents, will it ever be a healthy and selfless relationship? Will it end up causing pain to the people you should be caring for?
  8. Do you feel able to continue dating someone if your family disapprove of them? Why does your family disapprove of your girl/boyfriend? Have they ever met or tried to get to know one another?
  9. If you’ve worked through all of the above and still think you’re right to be in this relationship, what kind of support will you need?
  10. How might you cope if it gets to the point where you need to break some ties with your family or friends due to their unwillingness to accept your girl/boyfriend?

(Read the introduction of The Dating Dilemma book for free now, or buy the book here.)

Imagine If…

I don’t want anyone to experience being caught between people they care about and a new relationship. It isn’t fun and I didn’t like it when it happened to me.

But sadly it happens.

Imagine if the next time we’re in this situation, we used these questions to guide us through it. Some of these questions may not be relevant, but most of them should help us think through what to do next. (Read What Makes A Happy Couple? Fresh Insight).

Are there any other important questions to ask? Comments welcomed below.