This year on PreEngaged, we have been focusing on the idea of connecting with your sweetie! We do believe strong connections are essential to happy, healthy marriages; but, sometimes, on the road to matrimony, we choose to connect with people who are not good to connect to. Have you ever connected with someone and then thoroughly regretted it later?
If you have, you are certainly in good company. There are a number of connections that I made as a young woman which I sincerely wish I had not. And, I did not walk into them blindly, as much as I would love to blame it on age and immaturity. I was young, and I was immature, but I did know that the Holy Spirit was churning inside me with a warning. Even as early as thirteen years of age, I knew that I was diving head first into some close connections that were not meant for me.
What I did not know at the age of thirteen were the consequences of ignoring the Holy Spirit’s still small voice in this area. My happy-go-lucky attitude was, “If I get into a mess, God will get me out of it!” It’s true. He did rescue me by His grace from many “close calls,” but I did not come out unscathed.
By the time I was eighteen, I was a bitter young woman; and, apparently I was not aware of just how sour my expressions had become until my God-mother took me aside to have a talk with me about my attitude. If you have someone in your life who is willing to have difficult talks with you for your own good, cherish them! (Thank you, Becky!)
Revolutions of Desperation
Was I bitter due to years of victimization? I don’t think so. Sure, I got my feelings hurt a lot along the teenage path, but I also hurt a lot of feelings. In general, I would love to rewrite the years from 1995 through 2003. There is so much I hope I would do differently! My bitterness was the result of me trying to forge my own path.
I wanted to date this guy. God obviously had other plans. I disobeyed. I felt pain. Relationship ended. Next…
I wanted to date this other guy. God obviously had other plans. I disobeyed. I felt, and caused, pain. Relationship ended. Next…
I wanted to date yet another guy. God obviously had other plans. I begged and pleaded. His answer did not change. I felt angry. I disobeyed. I caused, and felt, pain. Relationship ended… mostly. Relationship lingered, but not officially. Relationship eventually ends… (or does it?). Next…
I can still remember the desperation I felt. For whatever reason, I greatly desired these relationships. And let me tell you, I hated the eye rolls and disgusted comments some people would make about my choices: “You don’t need a boyfriend!” (“Oh, really? And just who are you to tell me what I do and don’t need?”)Oh, how I wish I could have gotten it then. If I could’ve just seen what was coming, maybe I would have used more wisdom and obeyed the tugging of the Holy Spirit. He was trying to protect my heart.
Warning: Do Not Go Further
Though I could live in regret forever, I can also see how God used these experiences to help me do the relationship coaching work I do today. And, in retrospect, these are a few signs you should not connect with a potential sweetie.
- Your “friend” seems to be a little too into himself or herself. Relationships are about relating with someone else. To relate to someone effectively, we have to stop thinking about ourselves – at least, occasionally! If this guy or girl is so concerned with looks, what other people think, and how you need to change to be “better,” cut the cord and hit the road. I’m not saying he or she will never be relationship material, but at this point Mister or Miss Ego has a lot of growing up to do. I once had a guy tell me to dress a certain way because how I looked reflected on him. Three guesses how much longer that relationship lasted. ~smile~
- He or she seems unconcerned about holiness. Though it would be incorrect to say that Christians never sin, it would be true to say that Christians are convicted when they sin, and they repent of those sins. True believers cannot “continue in sin” without being miserable! (see Romans 6:1-2, I John chapters 1 and 2, and 1 John 3:9). 1 John 3:9 says “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (ESV). If you are considering someone who does not seem concerned about purity, justifies lying, or treats people poorly without remorse, move on quickly no matter how smoothly he or she talks. If he or she shows no fruit of salvation, he or she is probably not a believer. Pray for this person, but do not linger in his or her presence or give yourself the chance to become attached.
- He or she shows signs of jealousy, or tries to evoke jealousy. Jealousy is powerful and destructive. Whether it shows itself in a mild way (a constant fear that your sweetie is interested in someone else), or in a loud way (breaking the bones of anyone who dares to look at your sweetie), jealousy will never make a relationship thrive; but, it will almost always cause problems. If the person you are dating is uneasy when you talk to anyone of the opposite sex, consider that a red flag. There is some insecurity there. And, if he or she is purposely flirting with someone else and trying to make you jealous, don’t waste your time. Even if his or her actions are motivated by fear (i.e., trying to provoke you into showing your feelings), your time and energy should not be wasted on an emotional roller-coaster. The road to matrimony was paved for adults who are ready to work hard and sacrifice for each other.
- You are coming off the heels of another relationship. When a connection is lost, even if it is for the best– there is a painful void left in our hearts. The natural response is to find someone to fill that void. This is when we make rash relationship choices. When you are hurting, don’t you desperately look for ways to ease the pain? I certainly do. When you use another person to make yourself feel better, even if you are not meaning to cause pain, it usually does not end well. After a relationship ends, put some space between you and the dating scene for a while. Re-evaluate your goals. Where do you want to go? What you are looking for in a relationship? Are you pursuing God with all your heart? Until you have addressed these, and healed organically over time, don’t seek out romance. Invest in your friends. Let the Holy Spirit guide, comfort, teach you… and wait.
- You feel the familiar tug of the Holy Spirit telling you to refrain. For me, this was the most obvious sign. Some guys (and girls) can talk a good game. There were times when I could not figure out why I felt sirens going off in my gut. This guy seems perfect. What’s the problem? Whenever we think we know better than God, we are headed for trouble. It is true that several of those fellas may have seemed perfect to me; but, God created them, knew their hearts and intentions, and could see what was coming. Who better to trust than Him?!
These are just a few signs that you should not connect with a potential love interest. Believe me, I understand the temptation all too well! But, no temporary emotional boost is worth the pain that follows.
If you have questions about the relationship you are in, or have some wisdom of your own to share on the topic, feel free to comment below! Or, you are welcome to contact us privately! ~smile~
Have you ever regretted a romantic connection? What did you learn from that experience?