Continuing the series on Christ-following dating, trying to look at PRINCIPLES THAT WILL HELP MAKE IT EASIER for us to date more successfully and healthy’ly…
I want to look at THE BREAK-UP which we see as a NEGATIVE THING, right? “Francesca and Orville broke up? Aw shame, sorry guys” is the general response we have to that [especially if the dating couple was Francesca and Orville, otherwise we may have used other names].
But I want to suggest that BREAKING UP CAN BE AN INCREDIBLE THING.
WHAT THE FLIPPY FLIP? Yes, you heard me right. Breathe… deeply… and read on…
Okay “incredible” may be a little strong… but breaking up with someone can be A GOOD THING. If it is the RIGHT THING and if it is DONE WELL.
Let’s look at this thru THE LENS OF COURTSHIP which an olde fashionede worde for datinge [add an ‘e’ to any word and it immediately becomes old-fashionede] – the idea of ‘Courtship’ was two people who wanted to get married, INTENTIONALLY MOVING INTO A RELATIONSHIP with the purpose of seeing WHETHER MARRIAGE WAS THE ULTIMATE LOGICAL CONCLUSION for the two of them.
A SUCCESSFUL COURTSHIP would be one where the couple discover that they do have similiar vision and values and their passions overlap in some areas and THEY ARE A SUITABLE MATCH and they decide to move from there towards marriage. [i think no-one will have a problem with that on]
BUT A SUCCESSFUL COURTSHIP was also where the couple realise that, for whatever reasons (could be vision/values/personality/passions/temperament), THEY ARE NOT A SUITABLE MATCH FOR MARRIAGE and they decide to MUTUALLY END THE COURTSHIP. [this may be a bit of an eye-opener for some of us]
And now if you take it back to dating, it works EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. A SUCCESSFUL BREAK-UP of a dating relationship is one where the dating couple realise that THEY ARE NOT A GREAT MATCH for marriage and decide to END THE DATING RELATIONSHIP.
Revolutionary thinking? For some, i imagine, but IT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE and can possibly save a lot of heartache.
The WORLDLY PATTERN of dating says A BREAK-UP MEANS YOU FAILED. What i am suggesting is that a break-up can be a sign that you have succeeded. If the couple both realise that together, then the break-up can be mutual – that doesn’t mean it won’t still hurt a bit or be awkward when the two of them are in the same social situations and so on – and the couple will more than likely be able to get to a place where THEY CAN STILL BE FRIENDS.
I don’t think you will necessarily be best friends with all your ex-girlfriends/boyfriends and i don’t think that is necessarily healthy. But if we adopted a more JESUS-FOLLOWING PATTERN OF DATING then i would bet that you never have to end a relationship hating the other person. A BREAK-UP CAN HAPPEN WELL. And be a success.
This is definitely one of those areas where we need to be TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF OUR MINDS.
I can speak of this stuff FROM EXPERIENCE. I had three girlfriends (and three half-girlfriends, long story) before i met and dated and married the beautiful Val. And while i am not best friends with any of them, i have decent and i would even say good relationships with them all. There is NO HATING OR BAD FEELING or anything because we dated pretty well and we broke up well.
[This stuff is linked to the ‘HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?’ question in terms of physical stuff in relationship which i’ll probly deal with next, because the more intimate you get physically the more painful/difficult the break-up is likely to be]