Whether we admit it or not, I think we all have certain "red light" issues - those traits or characteristics in a potential suitor that shut the relationship down before it has a chance to get off the ground. Over the past few years, there has been a subtle shift in my red light issues.
For instance, smoking used to be an immediate red light. But about a year ago, I began spending time at a local cafe, where I made a lot of new friends. None of these friends were potential suitors. In fact, most were female or married or way too young to be a romantic interest. However, some of these new friends were smokers. As I got to know them, I realized that smoking does not necesarily reflect poorly on a person's character. I would still have to call smoking a yellow light issue, as I am not sure I would enjoy kissing a smoker, but then I don't enjoy kissing someone who has just had a beer or a cup of coffee, either.
Other circumstances have added some new red light issues to my list. For instance, a man who hasn't been divorced for long, or worse yet, isn't yet divorced and is already out there looking for a new woman causes an immediate red light to go off. Also, as I get to know a man, if I find that his reasons for being divorced are not in any way, shape or form biblically justifiable, that is a definite red light.
Some of my old red lights have become even stronger. Men who have been arrested for acts of violence against a woman, which awakens childhood fears from seeing my dad pushing and hitting my mom, are completely out of the running, even if they have taken an anger management course. Likewise, men who think that threatening to spank a woman is fun trigger a very strong red light for me. I am not denying the ability of men to change, but that is a risk I am not willing to take.
Perhaps the strongest red light for me is a man who doesn't love the Lord. I am not ruling these men out because I don't think they will ever be in love with my God; I am just not getting involved with them while they don't love and serve Him.
Men who are new Christians tend to trigger a yellow light for me. I recognize a need to go slowly and observe. Same thing with men who have been divorced more than once, or who seem to move from one relationship to another, never pausing to process why one relationship ended before moving into another.
I realize that following my instinctive red and yellow lights probably cuts way down on my possibility of ever remarrying, but I would rather be safe and single than to run those lights and end up in a great deal of trouble and pain!
So what are some of your red lights or yellow lights? Have they changed over the years?