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Let's say you've asked the right questions and you've been careful about the people you date. In time, you'll probably find yourself liking one person a lot. It looks like it's getting serious. If you find yourself moving in this direction, or if you are already in a serious relationship, here are other questions to think through and to talk about together:

1. Is our relationship about mutual trust?

A relationship can't survive without honesty and openness. If lies creep into the relationship, it's time to get truthful, or call it quits.

2. Can we be ourselves when we're together?

If you have to be somebody you're not, or if either of you feels you must put up a front, then you're in the wrong relationship.

3. Is either of us overly possessive?

Words and phrases like "smothered" and "jealous" come to mind. If one of you can't move without the other one knowing it, then possessiveness is a big problem. If this happens, both of you need some space, and maybe you even need to back away from the relationship. These traits are red flags.

4. Do we regularly have good conversations?

Chat room-type chatter is fine. But now and then you need to have a conversation that goes a bit deeper—that lets you know each other's likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams.

5. Have we set physical limits?

This question is extremely important and often difficult to answer, especially if a relationship has already become too physical. To avoid pushing the limits beyond the point of no control, you need to set agreed-upon limits early on. You also need to know why you need limits.

More questions worth asking: Do both of you understand why God wants people to save sex for marriage? Do both of you clearly understand why sex outside of marriage is so destructive? If you break up tomorrow, would you end the relationship with no regrets about your physical involvement? If you can't answer yes to these questions, please talk with your youth pastor or someone else who can give you guidance in this critical area. For help, see God's Plan for Sex.

6. Do we have dates that include our friends?

If your friends or family complain that they don't see you anymore, your relationship has gotten way too exclusive.

7. Do we plan how we'll spend our time together?

With "nothing to do," it's easy to fill up your time by becoming more physically involved than you should. Do your best to begin each date knowing how you're going to spend your time together.

8. Do we have a good understanding of what forgiveness means?

People mess up. That's just the way it is. That's why it's important to forgive each other. Holding grudges because you've been wronged kills a relationship. On the other hand, no one should say "forgive me" when they really mean "accept my faults and don't expect me to change."

If you want to regain trust, if you want to keep the relationship healthy, then changes must be made. The Bible calls these changes "repentance" (Acts 26:20, NIV), and it means that you will, with God's help, stop doing the behavior that got you into trouble in the first place.

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