We love to talk about “red flags” when it comes to relationships, but it’s equally important to know the “green flags” that are part of healthy, happy relationships.
Whether you’re single and casually dating or looking toward the next steps with your boyfriend, here are eight “green flags” to look for.
1. He Has a Healthy Relationship with His Family
You’ve heard the old adage that “the way a man treats his mother is the way he’ll treat you,” and that extends to his whole family. If a man is invested in good connections with his parents and siblings and treats them with love and affection, it’s a major green flag. Situations can obviously differ, particularly for people who have experienced abuse or other harmful family dynamics. In that case, it’s a green flag if he’s pursued appropriate boundaries with his family for his own health, and sought healing from any trauma.
How we treat our family of origin, including how we handle any wounds or negative aspects of our upbringing, says a lot about how we’ll handle a family in the future – the things we’ll want to imitate or avoid. If a man has a clear picture of his childhood, with things he both loved and wants to imitate, but also negatives he would change for his own children, it’s a green flag that he’ll be a healthy parent one day.
2. He’s Independent and Follows His Own Counsel
While it’s also a green flag when men know who to seek wisdom from in particular situations – including trusting your advice and wisdom if he needs it! – it’s also a good sign when a man is confident in his decision-making skills and knows what he wants. A man who feels crippled by decisions isn’t someone who can guide you toward becoming better versions of yourselves as a couple; but a man who is pursuing virtue and makes decisions accordingly, while knowing how to healthily handle stress, criticism, or uncertainty, is the type who’s a companion for life.
A man who’s convicted in his values and acts on what he’s discerned is best is a man worth having.
Especially living in a digital age, it’s easy to consult way too many sources for the decisions we make. A man who’s convicted in his values, knows who to turn to for trusted help and when, and then acts on what he’s discerned is best is a man worth having around.
3. He's Motivated and Has a Good Career
The definition of “good” here isn’t financial – though it’s important to make enough money to care for yourself. More than that, it’s a green flag if a man finds satisfaction in being responsible, reliable, and creating career goals that he strives to meet. It’s a great sign if his metric of success expands beyond what salary he makes, and he is able to also look at how he’s professionally contributing to a better workplace, culture, and world.
Making himself miserable by staying in a job that’s unhealthy or by refusing to see the positives and set future goals is a sign of an unhealthy relationship with work. Even if a job is banal or tedious, it’s a healthy sign when a guy is able to still find meaning and satisfaction in his work.
4. He Doesn't Play Games
This is a beautiful green flag to discover, since the opposite is so common! When a man communicates his interest directly, makes plans and sticks to them, and doesn’t leave you hanging – it’s perhaps the most comforting green flag of all, at least initially. Even if he’s afraid of rejection, he knows that being honest and forthright about what he wants is key to a successful relationship. He doesn’t leave you guessing if he’s interested – he communicates it both in word and deed. He also doesn’t wait around for you to make your feelings known, or for someone else to “swoop in”; instead, he steps up to the plate with the proper encouragement.
He doesn’t leave you guessing if he’s interested – he communicates it both in word and deed.
5. He Sees Marriage As a Lifelong Commitment
While divorce is an occurrence that’s necessary in some cases, it shouldn’t be held as a “get out of jail free” card when pursuing marriage. It’s a green flag when a man sees marriage as a lifelong commitment, and is ready to do whatever it takes to keep your relationship healthy. While divorce can happen, a man should have a perspective of doing everything in his power to make sure it doesn’t.
6. He Has Hobbies That Are Life-Giving
It’s both refreshing and a green flag when a man has hobbies he enjoys and spends appropriate time on. When he has free time, he fills it with things that help him become a more well-rounded, healthy person – like sports, exercise, reading, or creating in some capacity. While there’s an expansive list of hobbies out there, it’s a great sign when a man chooses to pursue these regularly instead of filling his free time with binge-watching or scrolling on endless feeds.
On the same token, it’s a green flag when a man is willing to share these hobbies with you, and also work to share some of your hobbies as well. While it may not be what he naturally enjoys, he takes the time to invest in what brings you life too and encourages you to pursue those things.
7. He Knows His Weaknesses and Responds with Growth
When a man is aware of his weaknesses and is willing to work on them, it’s a huge green flag. He receives healthy criticism and takes it into account, and authentically strives for improvement, instead of making excuses for his weaknesses and continuing to let them fester. Especially when it comes to your relationship, it’s a green flag if he can identify the ways you can both love one another better, and actively initiates or participates in conversations that are geared towards improvement for both of you and how you relate to each other.
He is open to healthy criticism and authentically strives for improvement.
8. He Has a Healthy Perspective on Past Relationships
If he’s dated previously, it’s a green flag if a guy can speak well of his exes while also being realistic about why the relationship didn’t work. He can look at mistakes made with the growth mindset talked about above, and work to not allow the same mistakes to happen in your relationship. He can also still respect the women he’s dated and won’t bad-mouth them, even if the relationship went really south. He recognizes the difference between being honest about pain or unhealthy things in a relationship and assaulting a person’s reputation or character. He also maintains good boundaries with his exes, and listens to any feedback or hesitations you might have about his past.
There are many red flags we can look for in relationships, and there are even more green flags that can tell us the person we’re with is worth investing time and energy in. When a man is virtuous, it creates a healthier you and a healthier relationship in the long run – so don’t settle for less than someone with green flags!
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