Christian Dating Tips and Early Childhood
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
Among all types of Christian dating tips, one of the most important is being cognizant of the monumental role of one's childhood. The type of relationships we had with our parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, pastors and important others all played a role in our upbringing. In addition, the type of neighborhood we grew up in, how conflicts were handled, ethnic experiences we had, the values/morals we were raised with, the rules/customs our families followed, etc. all played a part in our personality development. Many people underestimate how much their upbringing impacts their current functioning in life. However, rarely are current behaviors not rooted in one's upbringing to some degree. We tend to replicate as adults what we were raised with as children.
For example, someone raised in a wholesome environment where healthy relationships were modeled and experienced will most likely replicate those types of relationships in adulthood. In addition, someone raised in a close, supportive family who regularly spent time together will most likely replicate those behaviors with their own family as an adult. On the other hand, someone raised in an unhealthy home where relationships were hostile or rude will typically treat others similarly in adulthood. In addition, someone raised in a fractured and isolated family will most likely replicate those negative patterns in their adult relationships. Behavioral psychologists are famous for saying, "the best predictor of future behavior is previous behavior." However, many people are unaware of this tendency when entering the Christian dating scene and fail to assess their partner's upbringing.
It is important to note that healing and change are possible, especially with Christ in one's life. If someone has experienced an unhealthy upbringing, it is critical to discover if they have received help to process their "baggage," how it has impacted them, and how they can heal from it. If they have not confronted these issues, there is a high chance they will replicate their childhood dysfunction in their relationship with you. Therefore, when dating, be sure to find out important information about their upbringing, the quality of their parental relationships, their experiences in their community, school, etc. This information will give you helpful insight when determining if they are a safe and healthy person to develop a deeper relationship with.