You blew it. She was perfect. She was the one. You were strong enough to handle her issues. She was gorgeous, smart, fun, passionate, faithful and kind—your first kiss. Now you wrecked everything. The fairytale life is over. You are a failure.
Her MySpace page already read “Single.” I gulped as I changed mine to match. Had it been six months? My mind raced for answers. My heart hurt so bad I was writhing like I had just taken a shot to the stomach. I did the right thing, I told myself. You prayed through this. God gave you peace after a lack thereof remember? Your friends, family, and community surrounded you through this time and decision. My mind started divorcing itself in retaliation.
Images of a lifetime flashed before my eyes of what I would miss with her. Images of our shared memories burst in my mind then faded into the pain in my heart. It is over. God is sovereign and in control. He is at work. He knows what you need. He gets all the glory. Smile and move on now. The truth shall set you free.
I had read all the relationship and marriage books. I had read all the books saying why those books were wrong. I had read all the books about the Book on relationships and marriage. I had listened to all the sermons, seminars and CDs on the subject. I had dated before. I had kissed it goodbye. I had hugged it hello. I had gone back to the days of old. I tried it online. I tried it off-line. I tried it over the airline. I had been in a lot of weddings. I had been there through a lot of divorces. To think that there was anything about this modern-day marvel called dating that I was not savvy about and that I could not successfully navigate, made me crumble to the floor in defeat.
At that moment, it felt like Jesus placed His hand on my head and smiled. “Don’t despair. I am here for you,” He seemed to gently whisper. “Come downstairs. Let’s talk.”
I took a deep breath. My two roommates were downstairs gathering in what has effectively been dubbed the "Bachelor Training Center" (BTC). They were waiting to speak with me, encourage me and give me a swift kick in the rear if needed. And that they did. Of all the head knowledge and experience I thought was enough, the community of friends right there in that house exemplified Christ’s love and hope for me through this time. We have labored for years together toward our Master, our mission and our mate, through good times and times like this. A great comfort came out of our discussion, and it has changed the way I look at dating—again.
The essence is this: Whether or not you proceed to marriage or breakup is not the determinate factor of the success or failure of the relationship. Finding out whether or not this person is a suitable partner for you is. Many will nod at this in agreement and go about their life, yet many will miss its power.
What I discovered through my talk that night with my roommates was that the six months I invested in my girlfriend had a purpose. The fact that it did not work out in the end was indeed a successful end. But this begs the question, “What is a successful dating relationship?” A successful dating relationship is one that recognizes and respects the eternal importance of the other person in purity while discovering and accepting your role in that person’s life. However, this ability to treat her with absolute purity and respect as a sister in Christ before, during and after the relationship can only be achieved through His power. Relying on our own power and wisdom brings the widespread confusion in dating we currently see in the Church today.
We are clearly told as Christians how to act in various roles, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as husbands and wives, children and parents, leaders and workers, friends and enemies. These roles are defined. Other roles, such as boyfriend and girlfriend, are difficult to define since they are not mentioned specifically in scripture. I am afraid our culture speaks more definitively on the subject than the Church does, but I do not think the Bible comes up short. These historically new roles in dating do not change or replace our call to fulfill the roles as brothers and sisters in Christ. And that comforting thought brought a smile to my heart.