7 Red Flags You Seriously Can’t Ignore

*red flag emoji* Don't keep scrolling! Check out these 7 relationship red flags you can't ignore.

Quick warning: this might be a tough post to read. Our heart is to help couples prepare for marriage, but sometimes one of the best things you can do is end an unhealthy relationship before you enter into the lifelong commitment of marriage.As you read, if you worry your partner has one of these red flags, don’t ignore it. We’ll give some next steps for you at the end of the post.

1. They keep things hidden from you.

We aren’t just talking about fun surprises here–we’re talking about intentional deceit and secrecy. Are they overly protective about their phone passcode? Do they lie about their whereabouts? What about their past or their sin struggles… are they open and honest or try to sweep things under the rug? When you are married there should never be any secrets between the two of you.

Ky and I know each other’s passwords to everything because there’s nothing to hide. I will never keep anything from my husband, and I know he won’t keep anything from me. If your partner is hiding their phone, deleting messages, lying or keeping secrets, don’t look past this red flag.

2. They push you away from your friends and family.

Controlling partners will try to isolate you from your friends and family, and not for your benefit. They’ll make you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with others, escalate conflict and issues between you and those around you, and work hard to push you away from those you care about.

The belief that you “don’t need anyone else” is not a healthy view. Yes, your spouse should be number one in your life. Yes, your spouse should be priority over your friends and family, BUT you need other people in your life to support you, encourage you, and help you grow. Your family and friends don't have to be best friends with your partner, but if they have any hesitations, hear them out and listen to them. Sometimes they can see things we can’t when we're blinded by love.

3. They constantly put you down, especially in arguments.

This is an absolute nonnegotiable… your partner should NEVER put you down, belittle you, disrespect you, or make fun of you. Our “true colors” tend to come out during arguments, so if your future spouse puts you down during conflict, that’s a major concern.

Name-calling, cursing, belittling, are never okay, not even in an argument. If your partner escalates the conflict and is personally attacking you and your character, this is someone you don’t want to be with. We share a lot on healthy communication and conflict in our online course.

4. They treat their family poorly.

This is the truth: if they treat their family or friends poorly, they will treat you poorly. Don't look past this red flag. They may treat you well now, but watch how they interact with their parents, their grandparents, their siblings, and their friends. Watch how they speak to them, how they treat them, and how they talk about them. This is the best way to get a little glimpse into how you will be treated in the future.If they treat their family poorly, eventually, they’ll treat you poorly as well.

5. They refuse to apologize.

A happy and healthy marriage requires both parties to not only be good forgivers, but also good apologizers. A spouse that refuses to take ownership of their part in a situation, is not a spouse you want to be with. A spouse who doesn’t believe they can do anything wrong, won’t be able to resolve conflict with you in the future. If this is your partner, this needs to be addressed before marriage, not after.

Note: if your partner apologizes, but it never feels like they really mean it, you may want to learn each other’s apology languages. This will help you apologize effectively and genuinely to one another.

6. They have drastically different spiritual beliefs.

If you grew up in church, you may have heard the phrase that Christians shouldn’t be “unequally yoked.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) The bible makes it very clear that it's not wise for believers to be married to unbelievers.What we believe and how we view God will determine how we live our life. If your faith influences your life and your decisions, but you're married to a spouse who believes that God doesn’t exist, it simply won’t work. Differing beliefs will raise questions like:

  • “How will we raise our kids?”
  • “Will we go to church and how often?”
  • “What are our beliefs about God’s plan for marriage?”
If you need more questions to ask your partner, download our free guide: 50 Questions Every Couple Needs to Answer Before They Get Married.

7. They’re reckless with their finances.

Being good with your money isn’t something that comes naturally, it’s a discipline. If your partner is spending money way above their means, it’s time to press pause. Money is one of the largest causes of divorce because many people don’t know how to handle it.

Discussing money (ie how you handle it, how you like to spend it, how you save, financial goals) before marriage is so so so important. When you get married you become one in everything, including your finances. Your spouse’s debt is now your debt and it needs to be tackled together.If your future spouse is reckless with their finances and they aren’t open to change, that’s a red flag.

So... now what?

If your future spouse has one (or many) of these red flags, don't ignore it. While our goal is not necessarily to break up your relationship, dealing with these issues while you're engaged will save you a lot of heartache down the line.Below are some steps you can take next. Only you know your relationship, so determine what's best for you:

  1. Bring up your concerns to your partner. Pay attention to how they respond (see red flag #3 & #5).
  2. Seek counseling from a neutral third party (ie, not a friend, parent, or someone close to you).
  3. End the relationship. This may be a last resort, but something you should be prepared to do.

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