In my last journal, Bible With Bae: Keeping God At The Center of Courtship, I shared some practical ways that my long-distance boyfriend and I kept God in our relationship. At that time, you couldn’t have told me I’d be writing a journal about breaking up, but well, here I am.
In a world where ideas about Kingdom courtship and dating are everywhere, most people have this fairytale idea in their mind. They will meet the guy, courtship will begin and it will automatically lead to marriage. Although marriage is the goal, in reality, every courtship doesn’t always end that way. Sometimes you take that step and go through it only to realize this isn’t right. That doesn’t always mean they were a bad person, it could just mean they weren’t the right person for you.
Does a courtship always have to end up with marriage? Not necessarily. It is a platform for finding out: soul-searching.
Sometimes in the midst of finding out, we come up against issues, warning signs or roadblocks that we should pay attention to. I know, I know, it’s probably hard to face reality when you’ve already invested time, but trust me, its better to recognize and end it immediately rather than drawing it out and becoming more entangled or worse – ignoring the signs and proceeding with engagement and marriage.
I know there may be someone reading this right now who is in a space of deciding if they should continue in their courtship or not and while this is not an exhaustive list, there are a few signs you should pay attention to when deciding if you will end your courtship.
1) It Becomes An Idol
Do you value your relationship with your significant other more than with God? I’ve seen it happen many times before where people are so on fire for God, serving Him, in their Word and truly living for Christ and as soon as they get into a relationship, they stop coming to church, their quality time with the Lord begins to diminish, they may even step outside of community that has always protected and poured into them. My mentor once said something that always sticks out to me, “Your relationship with God is the one relationship you carry into your marriage.” So in the process of courting, don’t allow that relationship to fall by the wayside, you’ll still need God when you’re upset with your spouse. You’ll still need Him day-in and day-out to have a selfless, God-centered marriage. If you find yourself exalting the relationship more than God, it may be time to take a step back.
2)You’re Growing Apart
An important part of courtship is getting to know someone more, getting closer and more intimate (into me you see) with them. If time goes by and you feel like you don’t have interest in talking with them or including them in your life, that’s an issue. One thing I began to notice in my relationship is that we slowly stopped spending time communicating with one another, in a sense we began just going through the motions and our relationship was no longer growing. If you notice this happening, it may not necessarily mean a break up should happen, but it is something you should address.
3)Your Sexual Purity Is Compromised
As believers, we know that sexual purity is a mandate. If your courtship has opened up the door to sexual immorality, its time to take a step back. This isn’t to say that things can’t be restored, but if you and your significant other have broken your promises to God to remain pure until marriage, not only have you created an unhealthy soul tie, you begin to have distorted vision. You’re not as clear and able to see possible warning signs because you’re now feeding your flesh, and your flesh will want to be fed again and again.
4) Your Lifestyles Are Opposite
People are very great at masking their true selves. We’re all guilty of it. We present our best selves to the world, to social media – that’s cute and all, but what are you doing when no one is watching? If your significant other wants to party and drink every weekend, and you’d rather be serving at a homeless shelter, that could cause an issue down the line. Obviously, both individuals should have their own identities and things they enjoy separately, but your lifestyles should be parallel. Do they live a lifestyle of worship and glorifying God? Or do they live a lifestyle of doing what they want to do?
5)When Either of You Need Time To Heal
Maybe one of you weren’t really over that last relationship you were in, so you need to take some time to truly heal from that. Perhaps you’re not ready to be selfless or you have unaddressed issues with your father or mother that you project onto your significant other. Or maybe you self-sabotage your relationships or your ideas about relationships and marriage have been perverted so you’re placing unrealistic expectations on the other person. Now, I know first hand that courting will show you yourself, so having an area of growth does not necessarily equal a breakup, but it is important to be honest with yourself and your significant other and not cause more damage than necessary.
Do I regret my courtship? Not at all, I learned a lot about myself in the process, learned what I liked and didn’t and I stayed sober-minded. I was able to actively practice good communication, grace, and understanding of someone who was different than me. He is a great guy, and I wish him nothing but success, but it wasn’t God’s best for either of us!
Have you had to end a courtship? How did you know it was time to end it? What did you learn?