Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hello Mr. Wrong

 Before we begin I want to point out something that you will probably realize as you read on.  I am not a believer in the idea that Courtship can save you from a broken heart.  Neither do I believe that "Dating With a Purpose" or for that matter ANY kind of relationship method can prevent broken hearts.  Broken hearts happen.  In fact, God ALLOWS hearts to break.  And if He does than it's all for our own good.  To "bring us to an expected end."  I believe that God has the perfect person out there for each of us.  I believe that God will bring two people together.  I believe that if a couple places their relationship in God's hands He will direct the relationship so that it remains pure and God-honoring.

    There are many, many, many, many, many "Successful Courtship" Stories out there.  Every couple has one.  And they're all sweet and inspiring and encouraging.  What we don't see as often are the "Failed Courtship" stories.  I'm convinced it's not because they're not out there.  There are obvious reasons for not sharing this kind of thing.  It's a personal matter, and I'm certainly not saying that everyone should publish their "Failed Courtship" stories.  But, it's good for us to understand that this kind of thing does and can happen.  (Incidentally, I don't actually believe in "failed" relationships.  If two people enter a relationship toward marriage with the idea that God will direct them and show them how/if they should get married, and it ends up not working, it wasn't meant to work.  In that case, I would have to call it a "successful relationship."  We certainly wouldn't want two people to get married just because they started a courtship/relationship if they discover it's not meant to be.  In these cases God has a much better match for each of them.) 

    The other thing that we never hear of but I believe MUST happen more than we think is the relationship that fails before it even gets off the ground.  Before it progresses to the "Courtship/Dating/Dorting/RELATIONSHIP" stage.  I'll be up front and honest here.  It's happened to me.  Twice.  It's happened to some of my friends. It's important to know we're not immune to this sort of thing just because we've committed ourselves to a higher standard of purity. 


    I'll be honest.  It's hard.  For those of us who believe in "Courtship", "Dating-With-A-Purpose", "Dorting" or whatever you choose to call it there's a seriousness of thought that comes with all potential relationships.  When I was in my teens and early 20s I never thought of any scenario except a perfect one.  I imagined a guy approaching me about starting a relationship.... Of course I said yes!  I was already in love with him!  Or, I imagined getting to know a guy as a friend and gradually falling in love, and when we both realize what is happening it's obvious we're destined to be together forever.  Or, my dad comes to me "Rebecca, 'So-and-so' has asked to start a relationship with you.  What do you think?"  And I take it to prayer and recieve a resounding "YES!" from God, and a "YES!" from my parents and fall madly in love and live happily ever after.  *sigh*  It seemed impossible to me that all the right components could be there without adding up to the right answer.  I never once imagined that a Godly, nice guy would approach me about starting a relationship and the train would come jerking to a halt.  And yet, that's exactly what happened. 

    I'll walk you through the emotional rollercoaster that is a potential relationship. 
            A) Guy approaches you/your father/however you think it should go

            B) Hope ignites.  At this point I think to myself "This could be it! I've been waiting my whole life for this to happen, and now it's happening!  Could this really be it?"  Not to mention the heart-warming "He LIKES me!"  Wow.  I mean, surely he wouldn't be attracted to me if it wasn't God's will.  Right?  Um, wrong.  Guys can struggle with crushes and attractions just like us girls. 

            C) You take it to prayer.  At this point you become aware that you do NOT already have feelings for this guy.  The place in your heart that supposed to be going "ZING!" is rather... empty. 

            D) Then the questions you ask yourself.  Is this guy really the one for me, but I'm immune to falling in love with him?  Am I destined to be married to someone I don't love?  Or, am I supposed to marry him because all the lights are green (except my heart) and eventually I'll "grow to love him"... maybe. 
      I remember a time when my Dad asked me how it was going with a certain guy.  This guy was interested in starting a relationship with me.  I wasn't so sure...  I looked at my dad while trying to sort my thoughts into a coherent sentence that would somehow communicate every question, concern, uncertainty, fear, hope, dread and depression that I felt all swirling around in my heart and Dad interpreted it all into one brief fragment of a sentence. "No spark, huh?"  Wow.  Relief.  "Yeah, no spark."  He just nodded and walked away.  As if to say "Well, that's that.  No spark."  Yeah.  No spark.  What a relief to understand that there is SUPPOSED to be a spark.  If there's not, Red Light. 
            Of course, no spark isn't the only reason you should nip a relationship in the bud.  There are MANY other things to consider.  Do you agree with this guy on all important subjects?  Doctrine, Child-raising, are you compatible?  I could write another whole article on these subjects but these issues have mostly already been addressed by more qualified people than myself. 

            E) The dread.  The doubt.  This could really be it.  The last train for marriage-ville.  I'm not getting any younger.  This guy is attracted to me.  He'd probably take good care of me.  If I don't agree to go with him...  there's a good chance no one else will ever ask me.  I could be doomed to spinster-hood!!!!!  In the infamous words of Mr. Collins of Pride and Prejudice fame "...You should take it into further consideration that, in spite of your manifold attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made to you."

            F) The decision.  The "breaking it off."  Is it really breaking it off if it never even starts? 

            G) Then the guilt.  I probably really hurt this guy's feelings.  Now I feel like an ice queen.  Am I incapable of love? 

            H) Back to the single life.  Except now I feel even more single than ever.   

            I) Then the self questioning. "God, why did You allow this to happen?"  For me, this is one of the hardest parts.  As Jessie Brown says in Cranford "It's not the despair that hurts, but the hope."  Even if your hope never materializes into the feelings you hope it will... the disappointed hope can still leave a bruise that may take a long time to heal. 

   A friend said to me the other day "God will allow our desires (even good ones) to be tested."  This is so true!  False start relationships can be discouraging, believe me I know!  But, it's always better to look on the bright side.  Be thankful for the experience!  Be thankful that God is working in you!  Be thankful that you made the right decision!  Know that God doesn't walk us through darkness for no reason.  He tests us because He loves us.  Every test and trial we go through is one more test or trial behind us.  Don't give up!  
If there's three things I want you to understand they would be these:

  •     Just because a guy wants to start a relationship with you doesn't mean he's the one.  I consider marriage a very serious decision to be made.  A possible relationship should be seriously considered.  But, don't fall into the way of thinking that a possible relationship is automatically THE relationship.  If there's a perfect man out there for you, there are no rules saying he has to be the first to ask.
  •    Trust your gut instincts.  God will not ask you to marry someone you don't love or feel right about.  If he really is the one for you God will make it clear to BOTH of you.
  •    Don't allow yourself to doubt.  There's nothing wrong with you.  Everything in our lives should contribute to our growth.  And God will use any situation to draw you closer to Him.  And there IS a perfect someone for you somewhere out there.  Don't get discouraged.

I know many girls will never have to deal with this sort of thing.  But, I also know that some of us will.  Please don't give up hope or feel alone. 

I believe in happy endings.  If it's not happy... it's not the end.


Melanie October 20, 2009 at 7:27 AM  

That you for the encouraging article! I needed that! :-)

Monika October 23, 2009 at 9:51 AM  

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! This is exactly what I have been going through and I have felt so alone and even a little guilty that my story doesn't seem to be as "perfect" as those around me... like I am doing something wrong. But I am trusting and waiting. Thank you!

Betsy October 25, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

Very well thought out. These are some thoughts my sisters and I have been talking about lately. There has to be a spark about a guy - so true! If it's who the Lord has for you, He will give you that attraction!

Victoria October 29, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

Brilliant! I have experienced every inch of this post...be encouraged all!...when Gods writing your story, there’s always a happy ending!

Katie October 29, 2009 at 12:51 PM  

THANK You soo much Rebbecca. It is something that I have been thinking a lot about recently. :) There definitely has to be that spark...he may have all the qualities you are looking for, but that spark HAS to be there. Thank you again...this article meant a lot to me. Praying that you'll have the patience you need as you wait. God sure has a way of teaching us lessons He wants us to learn, doesn't He?

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