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Miranda Writes: Relationships, Part 9

by Omar Miranda

Attractive Character Qualities

A lot of teens ask me questions related to dating and relationships, but probably the number one question they ask is “Mr. Miranda, what kinds of things should you be looking for in somebody to date?” My answer is always, “What kind of person would you want your son or daughter to date?”

I know, I know, it’s kind of a sneaky answer on my part. But there’s something really powerful about helping a teenager get out of that me-first mentality—even if it’s only for a little while. They usually start talking a mile a minute, and I start writing equally as fast. When we’re all done, they literally have a checklist of good character qualities. 

Now, I don’t normally believe in checklists. I believe in giving teens principles—both clear and implied—in order for them to live successful, long, and happy lives. But in this case a checklist is a good thing to create. By the way, it’s OK if your checklist grows as you grow and mature. By the time you hit your mid-20s, which research shows is the earliest you should really be looking to get married anyway, you’ll be ready to look seriously and honestly at any potential spouses.

My list is based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and Galatians 5:22, 23; my experiences dealing with teens; my personal dating experiences both good and bad; and what research shows to be important:

  1. Does the person have a strong, real relationship with Jesus?
  2. Does the person have a strong conscience, a strong moral compass?
  3. Do my parents, friends, mentors, and other important and influential people who know me well agree with this relationship?
  4. Does the person have clear short- and long-term goals or a vision for their life?
  5. Is the person jealous toward appropriate and supportive relationships I have toward others of either sex?
  6. Does the person act kind and loving toward family, friends, and strangers?
  7. Are they joyful? (Joy is different than happiness—happiness typically is more shallow, and joyfulness kind of bubbles up from inside.)
  8. Are they peaceful, generally calm? Or are they always in the middle of a crisis or always having a crisis?
  9. Is the person patient?
10. Is the person self-controlled, or do they often curse, lose their temper, shout, scream, and just generally act out of control?
11. Are they gentle with others—specifically strangers?
12. Does the person have a strong sense of justice—do they get upset when other people are treated unfairly or disrespectfully?
13. Is the person assertive—do they stand up for themselves?
14. Are they optimistic?
15. How does this person treat their parents, siblings, and people of the opposite sex in their life?
16. Does this person have appropriate friends? What kind of company do they keep? (People are like tofu—they soak up the flavor of the things they’re around.)
17. Can they deal with conflict appropriately and maturely? Are they willing to solve problems and not bring up past hurts when you’re having a disagreement?
18. Are they pure—do they have pure thoughts and motives?
19. Are they trustworthy? If they tell you they’ll do something, can you count on them to get it done?
20. Do they always tell the truth?
21. Are they a gossiper? Do they spread rumors, or do they actively try to stop them?
22. Do they take care of their body by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating right?
23. Do they accept responsibility for their behavior and not make excuses?
24. Do they have good self-esteem/self-worth?
25. Do they like children?
26. Do they accept you just the way you are?
27. Are they supportive of your short- and long-term life goals?
28. Can they accept advice, guidance, and counsel even if it’s difficult to hear?
29. Are they willing to grow and change?
30. Are they unselfish and focused on others?
31. Are they appropriately affectionate, or do they pressure you to be overly physically affectionate or to have sex?
32. Are they addicted to anything, or do they have any other glaringly bad habits?

Did you notice that I didn’t mention any of the things that people normally first look at or base their decisions on, such as looks, style, or financial status? That’s because you should be looking for someone who is beautiful on the inside. Proverbs 31:30 points out: “Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised” (CEV).1

While doing premarital and marital counseling, I’ve found that folks are drawn to the person on the inside. And when they fall in love with the person on the inside, that person starts to look really good to them on the outside, too, as opposed to the other way around. The bottom line is that if all you’re focusing on is what a person looks like on the outside, you’re going to be disappointed both in the short term and the long term.

Sharpen your focus

First John 2:15-17 makes it clear that we as Christians should be focusing on more in our relationships than what this world has to offer. This passsage advises: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (NASB).2

What does John really mean in this passage of Scripture? Well, the “lust of the flesh” is a passion to feel pleasure. The “lust of the eyes” is a passion for obtaining possessions. And the “boastful pride of life” is a passion for importance or position. So to sum it up, most of the people in this world worship sex, money, and power! But God is trying to tell us that we don’t need to focus on these things.

Here comes the uncomfortable question Are you focusing on the “lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” as your primary reasons for dating somebody? If so, you’re going to experience a lifetime of pain, hurt, and ultimately a failed relationship. If you focus on somebody who is doing the will of God, then you’re more likely to succeed relationally and be joyful and fulfilled!

The person you choose to date and marry will, besides your parents, have the greatest and most important impact upon the quality of your relationship with God—maybe even your very salvation. So choose wisely!

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way; life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones; and if you put God first in your life, you’ll never go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at; you can keep up with me on Facebook; you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes at; you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site,; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 770-354-2912

1Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
2Scripture quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.


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