CHRISTIAN DATING ARTICLES BY DR. JIM RIVES
Many classes are offered on a variety of subjects, but I have never heard of one on breaking up for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating. It is certainly something that none of us want to experience. However the realities of life reveal that we have or we will very likely experience this one. Before getting involved with online Christian dating; Christian singles certainly need to give some thought to the process of breaking up if they intend to relate to other Christian singles effectively.
Our society is in too big a hurry to get somewhere. The truth of what we realize is that we too often end up just going around in a circle. Internet dating has been a major contributor to feeding the “rush” mentality for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating. It has left too many for Christian singles hurting and wounded in its wake. I strongly believe that it does not have to be this way. If more thought were given to proper considerations of other Christian singles, the injuries would be significantly reduced.
There is an all-encompassing Biblical principle that must be applied in Christian dating relationships. It is found in Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Perhaps you recognize this as the Golden Rule. The application of this principle to all relationships would bring about a healthy experience for all.
Allow me to share some basics to consider as relates to “break-ups” in a Christian dating relationship.
1. As you approach a new relationship, keep fantasy in check and seek reality. It is thrilling to find someone paying attention to you and wants to spend time with you. However the initial stages of “connecting” is a dance where everyone is on their best behavior. Do not contribute to the fantasy as you enjoy getting to know other Christian singles through Christian dating relationships.
2. Christian singles engaged in Christian dating should set aside times each week to discuss how the relationship is being seen from each of their perspectives. This will cause Christian singles to pay attention to realities and not venture off alone into a world of fantasy.
3. IF Christian singles find that something in the Christian dating relationship is not quite right, or even annoying, discuss it with the other person. Perhaps you can tell that they are really embracing the relationship, but you are not as far along as they are. Share this with them in an open and considerate manner.
4. When an obstacle develops in the Christian dating relationship, Christian singles should not immediately look for the door unless it is a major offense. It will not only serve the relationship well if you take the time to process the item, but will improve your relationship skills for this or another relationship.
NOTE: I want to share a fundamental key when discussing something that may be controversial or confrontational with another person. There is one word that must never be used. It is the word YOU! Too often the conversation begins with “you are doing something that irritates me.” Whenever the word YOU is used in discussing something that is bothering the relationship, it puts the other person on the defensive. How do you approach these topics? Focus on yourself and what the feeling is that you are experiencing. Something like “I would like to share how I feel when I hear you say …such-n-such” You may have a misunderstanding of the motives behind the words or actions. This will allow the other person to express their perspective in a non-threatening environment.
WHEN YOU WANT TO BREAK UP WITH SOMEONE:
1. I would encourage Christian singles engaged in Christian dating to have a mature Christian buddy of the same gender, or a mature Christian couple, to walk with them through a developing relationship. They can help Christian singles engaged in Christian dating have a wider perspective and consideration of what is happening in a relationship.
2. When you find that the relationship is not working for you, seek these counselors for input and prayer. Are you repeating past cycles or are your thoughts and feelings valid?
3. Pray. God’s Spirit needs to give you wisdom and understanding. He also wants to prepare you, and the other person, if the relationship needs to be ended.
4. Do not allow this to drag out in consideration of the other person’s feelings and needs. If you are in a quandary of what to do in the relationship, share this with them and seek mutual considerations of how to approach this. Do not expect them to be overjoyed that there is a challenge in the relationship. At least you will know that you are being considerate and trying. Which is a BIG step in the right direction for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating.
5. When you have arrived at a decision and know that you must end the relationship, do not develop a laundry list of reasons to share. This can be very hurtful and is not necessary. I suggest that you share from a tender heart that you had great desires for the relationship, but as you prayed about it and sought input from wise friends, you have arrived at the conclusion that this Christian dating relationship needs to end. In consideration for their needs, you want to value them and not allow them to invest more of their feelings when you are not investing yours. This is the RIGHT thing to do for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating.
6. Do not expect them to respond with understanding. They need time to process and grieve. Do everything you can to be considerate, and give them space.
7. Pray for them AFTER you leave and for the next week or so as God leads you.
8. WHAT NOT TO DO: It is an immature and damaging thing for Christian singles to just drop a person with whom they have initiated a potential dating relationship. Christians must not participate in the shopping cart mentality so prevalent online. I have received so many emails from Christian singles engaged in Christian dating that were abruptly dropped, or from someone who would just drop in and out of the relationship. Yet they can go online to the mutual dating service and see that the person is online seeking others at the same time that they were either not available or not connecting with someone in whom they had expressed an interest. This is not only immature, but also downright mean and inconsiderate for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating. Be sure that you are not guilty of inconsiderate damage of another person.
WHEN SOMEONE WANTS TO BREAK UP WITH YOU:
Related Christian articles for singles: Christian Dating: Results of a survey on Christian Dating vs. Christian “Courting” And: Christian Singles: Hurting people hurt others! And: Christian Dating Advice: how to start Dating again? And: Advice for Christian Singles: Should a single Christian woman let a single Christian man know she is interested? And: Christian Singles: "Is it love?" And: Dear Pastor Jim: "Do you expect all Christian singles who want to be married to be happy being single?" And: Christian Dating: "Dear Christian Singles, what Criteria Do You Use for Dating other Christians?" And: Christian Dating: VCR- style Dating is hurtful And: Christian Dating and Credit Reports And: Is Christianity An Excuse for Christian Singles to Be Passive? And: Finding the Will of God and Making godly Decisions
1. Hopefully the person is considerate, and perhaps read the above. I wish that life were always fair. It just is not so and the dating scene is one confirmation of this.
2. You will always find it wise to have one or two Christian buddies of your own gender walk with you through any relationship experience. As I mentioned above, they will provide needed perspectives as your Christian dating relationship develops. They can also help you keep your head in reality instead of the great adventure into fantasyland for many Christian singles engaged in Christian dating.
3. When someone comes to you and says that they want to break up with you, do not fight it. Ask them to share with you what is going on within them and hear what they have to say. Often the real reasons are not shared as some weak excuses are provided. When another person has reached a decision to end a relationship, it will not serve you well to argue or challenge them. It is very proper for you to express how much you desire for the relationship to succeed. Talk about where you are and what you desire, but do not attack them for their position. This is the LOVING thing to do for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating.
4. The best thing that you can do is to respond to them in love. It likely will not be your first thought, but I suggest that to do so will speak volumes into their spirit. While time may see them change their mind, it will more likely come about if they find you loving. Do not feed the reasons they may have for a break up by behavior that is unkind or hostile.
5. You will need time to grieve. You need your buddies to come along side and allow you to be you, while encouraging you to gradually move forward with your life. Christian singles should not rush out and try to find another Christian dating relationship right away.
6. If there were hurtful words or actions that came from the other person, take them to Jesus. Ask His Spirit to reveal anything to you that you can learn. Otherwise you will leave those hurtful things with Him and let Him address them. This is a very important step. In fact, if you cannot leave them with God, I plead with you to find a good counselor. The processing of hurtful events/words in our lives is essential to being able to move on with life in a healthy manner. If you do not process these in a healthy manner, they will lie within your spirit and surface in future Christian dating relationships. I speak from personal experience in this area.
7. Move forward one step, one thought at a time. Philippians 3:13b says “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” It is not easy to just let go and move on with life. It takes an effort each moment and day. As you focus on activities that move you toward a future, the past will lose its pull. Spend the next 28 days focusing on activities, thoughts, friendships, education, etc. that have to do with building you a better future. This amount of time will create a new pattern and replace the old one.
8. God wants to comfort and encourage you. This is the purpose of His Spirit being within us Believers. Pour your hurt, frustration, and anger out to God. He is big enough to take it and turn it into good.
Breaking up is never a fun process for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating. However it does not need to be a damaging one. On whichever end of this dating breakup you find yourself, be considerate of the other person. Place your focus on God’s ability and desire to provide a future filled with hope and joy. This is the HEALING thing to do for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating who want to grow and mature in Christ, yes, even through a dating breakup.
In His love,
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Note: The answers provided in this site are intended to be as one provided by a minister. It is NOT intended to take the place of a licensed counselor. Dr. Rives encourages all who are seeking to resolve deeply rooted psychological, emotional or behavioral needs to seek the services of a trained and licensed counselor. The answers provided in this web site are intended to be words of encouragement and spiritual guidance as one would obtain from a licensed minister as well as the sharing of Dr Rives personal experience. Articles by Dr. Jim Rives used with permission, copyright © 2001-2009 JacobsMinistry.org Inc. (Arizona Non-Profit Corporation) All rights reserved.