Anonymous asked: Hi Unka Glen! Many of us think that God has prepared someone for us. Though my boyfriend and I are serious about our relationship, we’re having rough times, we’re seeing how ugly each other can be, and wonder if we’re not “right” for each other. I became doubtful as to whether I have made a wrong decision, and should end the relationship now, rather than persevere, since maybe after all, we are not the “right person” God has prepared for each other. I’m confused, because I recalled times where God helped us through, but I can’t help but feel sad since the relationship became so hard. Should it be this hard? [edited for length]
Unka Glen answered: Great question, and one I see a lot of young Christians struggling with. It seems that, as a response to the extremes of today’s secular dating, Christians have created an opposite extreme view of dating, where people don’t really date at all, they just enter a state of pre-marriage. But beloved, always remember, the opposite of a bad idea is another bad idea.
If God lets you know this is the right person for you to be dating, then date that person, if God lets you know this is the right person to marry, and that it’s the right time to get married, then by all means, tie the knot. But the problem that today’s young people have, is making the false assumption that God would want you to marry everyone that He would have you date. If that was the case, why date at all?
There is a purpose to dating, and if you don’t understand it, you’re not likely to have healthy dating relationships. Dating is about learning. Here’s a short list of the things you begin to learn when you start dating:
- What kind of personality is compatible with yours
- How to be romantic
- How the opposite sex thinks
- What kind of lifestyle do you want to share with your future spouse
- How to work together as a team
- How to balance relationships and responsibilities
- How to manage your self-image
- …and so on.
There is a Godly purpose to dating, and figuring out how to work through problems is part of that challenge. In some cases, you find the person you’re with is just not willing to work through things, so that’s a breakup situation. In some cases you find that it’s hard but possible to work through things, and that’s a time to get strength from the Lord and learn about solving those issues.
And sometimes, you work through those issues, and come out the other side, and simply realize that you’re a bad fit for each other. That you bring out the worst in each other somehow. Sometimes you put two good, sweet, loving people together, and it just doesn’t work. In that moment, you thank God for that insight, you break things off, and you try to remember the good times.
I’ve heard a prominent Christian author, who writes about dating, say that dating is about practicing for marriage, and that breaking up is like “practicing for divorce”. And bless his heart, that’s just so wrong it makes my head hurt.
When we date, we enter into a social contract that says, “I’m in the process of looking for, and learning about, the kind of person I want to spend my life with. I hope that person is you, but if not, we should both move on as friends and find the right person for each other.” Marriage is when we stand before almighty God and take a vow to make this relationship work no matter what.
The difference between those who kinds of relationships is as profound as you can imagine, and rightly so. Date all kinds of people, have all kinds of romantic experiences, have crushes, and learn about yourself, about the opposite sex, and about relationships… Because when you make the commitment to marry someone, all that freedom is over, and you enter a whole new adventure, with it’s own unique highs and lows, and in that new world, breaking up is no longer an option.
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