Most people don’t marry expecting to divorce.
Most people don’t go to the altar expecting unfaithfulness.
Most people don’t knowingly marry an abuser.
People change over time and no one knows what the future holds.
Don’t beat yourself up or let others do the same wondering whether you married the “wrong” person. Marriage isn’t about finding the “right” person. Eve was God’s perfect choice for Adam and they still messed it up. After you said “I do” you did everything within your power to make it work.
This blog is not for you…unless you’re considering remarriage.
This blog is for young adults who haven’t married yet.
Because even though we can’t know the future,
some people are better for you than others.
And, especially if you’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family with a warped view of normal, you may not have the discernment to know the difference.
Recognizing as a baseline that we are all sinners, the book of Proverbs describes three basic character traits: wise, foolish, and evil.
A wise person is teachable.
Those who are wise…
- listen, learn, and seek guidance (1:5).
- willingly receive correction and instruction (9:8-9).
- speak words of healing (12:18) and peace (29:11)
- fear the Lord and shun evil (14:16)
A foolish person is not teachable.
Those who are foolish…
- despise wisdom and instruction (1:7)
- spurn correction (15:5)
- run off at the mouth (10:8, 14)
- spread slander (10:18)
- are always right (12:15) and wise in their own eyes (26:5)
- won’t listen to advice (12:15)
- delight in airing their own opinions (18:2)
- are deceived (14:8)
- mock repentance & forgiveness (14:9)
- are hotheaded (14:16) and quick to quarrel (20:3)
- repeat the same mistakes over and over again (26:11)
An evil person is bent on harming others.
Those who are evil…
- are wicked and violent (2:17)
- delight in doing wrong (2:14)
- cannot rest until they do evil and make someone stumble (2:16)
- plot to do evil and stir up conflict (6:14)
Recognizing that everyone can fluctuate between wise and foolish behavior, there are “chronic” fools who will never seek wisdom, and evil people who are wicked to the very core of their being. Neither is likely to change. Dr. Henry Cloud says that understanding the difference in these character traits can help you discern “who you want to invite into your tomorrows.”1
Because some people are better for you than others.
And some people are worse for you than others.
You don’t deal with these people or behaviors in the same way. “Whereas you talk to wise people about problems, and you talk to fools about consequences, do not talk to evil people at all, period.”2
How can you tell the difference? In addition to the lists above, here are some warning signs:
Warning Signs – when someone does these things
- Controls, manipulates, or bullies you to get what they want
- If you don’t do what they want, they reject you, abuse you, or withhold love, approval, and/or resources
- Blames you for their bad choices
- Abuses drugs or alcohol, or has other addictions
- Harms or abuses you physically, sexually, emotionally, or verbally
Warning Signs – when someone doesn’t do these things
- Control their anger
- Work through conflict constructively
- Accept feedback
- Go the extra mile
- Concerned about your relationship needs
- Seek or receive godly counsel
- Admit wrongdoing (repentance)
- Ask for or grant forgiveness, seeking reconciliation
Are you in a relationship or considering entering into marriage with a chronic fool or evil person? Stop. Now. Have nothing to do with them (Proverbs 14:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:2). They aren’t going to change and they will break your heart (Proverbs 13:20).
(1, 2) Cloud, Dr. Henry. “Wise, Foolish or Evil: Which One are You Going to Be?” drcloud.com, https://drcloud.com/article/Wise_Foolish_or_Evil_Which_One_Are_You_Going_to_Be. Accessed 2/11/2017.