Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

 Believe everything that you've heard.  Two-legged wolves really do exist, and they wear sheep's clothing with style.

Guard Your Heart

Be careful of entering into new relationships for at least a year or two, and optimally even more. There's a breed of man out there that sees you as a unique prey. He assumes that you're lonely, vulnerable, and loaded. He has mixed motives in his intentions towards you. Generally he's a smooth talker, and if you let him, he'll tell you anything you want to hear.

I'm not encouraging you to be suspicious of every man that comes along and declares an interest in you.  I'm just encouraging you to be suspicious.

Many a widow has a tale to tell of how she got duped. Don't let it be said that you have a story to add to the collection.  Let wisdom be both your defense and your guide.

Warning Signs and How to Protect Yourself

1.  Take things very slowly. There's an old saying, "Patience is the weapon that causes deception to reveal itself."  Give the man time to show you who he really is.

2.  Pay attention to inconsistencies. Keep a journal outlining everything that your potential suitor says and does. Reading back over your notes helps you to keep things in perspective and to stay objective.

3.  Ask lots of questions. Remember what he says, and ask the same question over again at different times in different ways. If he's resistant to being transparent, consider that to be a warning flag.

4.  How does he speak of past relationships? A long trail of exes who, according to him, were always drama filled and with serious problems equals to a common denominator -- him.

5.  Just because he tells you that he loves you doesn't mean that he loves you. What do his actions say?  They speak way louder than his words. Does the level of affection that he professes for you seem out of step with the amount of effort that he's putting into winning you?

6.  Are large chunks of his time unaccounted for on a regular basis? Does he strictly limit the amount of time that he spends with you both in person and on the phone?

7.  Is he rushing you into a relationship? Does it seem like you just met last Tuesday and now on Sunday night he's already professing his love for you?

8.  Does his pursuit of you seem to be overly aggressive and time sensitive?

9.  Does he tend to try to segregate you away from your family and friends? Is he hesitant to spend time in their company?

10.  Do your closest friends and family raise concerns about him? Ask the people you trust and respect about their opinions in regards to your potential new relationship. Ask more than one person. Listen to and actually consider what they say.  In particular, get input from brothers, brothers-in-law, uncles, male cousins, your father (if he's still living) -- you catch my drift.

11.  Be prayerful and careful as you consider your potential suitor's affections.

12.  Watch his character and how he treats other people. Listen closely to his thoughts as they're revealed in his conversations with you. Assess his relationship with God, honesty, fidelity, sense of humor, selflessness, chivalry, finances.  Is there always some problem in your relationship where he's breaking up with you and then coming back? Take care of business before you start thinking about love. Love without business is a freight train to disaster.

13.  Does he attend church regularly?  Hint to the wise:  Don't let your guard down based on this one point alone. The more important question is does he authentically conduct himself in a manner that's actually reflective of what he's being taught in church? Don't forget what we're discussing here -- wolves in sheep's clothing. 

14.  Who are his friends? Yes, it's true. Birds of a feather really do flock together.

15.  Get to know his family. You'll be able to get a well-rounded picture of what's he's about just from this one step alone. 

16.  Who do you know first hand who knows him and can fill in some of the blanks on his history?

17.  Does he have financial crises in which he feels comfortable in coming to you and asking you for money to assist him? 

These are just a few thoughts to get you started. Even the most savvy widow is vulnerable for a certain period of time. Be wise and protect yourself. In truth, God may send another Boaz your way. Just make sure that it's actually Boaz and not his cousin, Bozo.

Your heart is too priceless a gift to have broken after the loss that you've suffered.

In future articles, I'll share some of my own experiences since I've started dating again. Let's just say that they've been a real eye opener. 

What have some of your dating experiences been as a widow?  Share them with us below. 

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."  I John 4:1

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."  Matthew 10:16

"Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." Proverbs 11:14