Relationship Series

How do you break it off with him without hurting him or ruining the friendship?

Paul and Beth Spooner Answer:

There are no stock answers for these questions as every situation is different and requires prayer and Godly wisdom. Don’t enter a relationship if you know from the outset you could not marry the person. Relationships can lead to pain and heartache so it’s not worth it if you couldn’t marry the person. See dating as courting and that it is a journey towards a future which may be with this person or not. If this is clear to both from the beginning then it opens the way to the discussion that you can’t see your future with this person and so it’s time to part. The sooner this happens the more honouring for both. Hopefully God will be speaking to both of you and so there will be a mutual understanding that this is not God’s plan for your lives. Don’t gossip about or slander the person with anyone else. May they be the first to know about this. If it is completely one sided then trust and pray that the other person will see God’s plan in time. This is not a time to point out their faults and highlight your feelings. Focus on the journey for both of you. There is often pain on both sides in any break up and one may never return to the friendship you had but trust that, if all is in God, there will be a continuing respect and honour for one another. Space and time bring healing. For a future relationship it may not be appropriate that you have a close relationship with your ex. If you’ve crossed boundaries physically it can make a future friendship more difficult. 

Make sure the air is clear as far as you can, from your side…..

Rom 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it is up to you, live at peace with everyone.

Check you heart that you truly want the best for that person and for them to find the best future and partner(if that is his plan) that God has for them. Repent if you have to and forgive any hurts you may be feeling. Let Jesus lead you and comfort you and give you the wisdom you need. He is ultimately the perfect husband/companion. Don’t expect others to be Him.

Does God not ever allow you to date a non-believer? Perhaps He wants them to receive salvation through you.

Emmy Tedder Answers:

No. I don’t believe God ever allows you to date a non-believer. Scripture is very clear on this one.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. " AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:14-17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God calls us out of darkness to belong to Him, separating us from union with the world. A believer has nothing in common with an unbeliever. This scripture says there is NO PARTNERSHIP, NO FELLOWSHIP, NO HARMONY, NO AGREEMENT between the two. How could a marriage, where the two become one flesh, possibly work without these things. It is nonsensical.

He absolutely wants that person to receive salvation through you because He wants everyone to be reconciled back to himself. And He sends each of us, as believers and light beaters of the Truth, into the dark and broken world to preach the Good News and bind up the broken hearted so that all men would come to a knowledge of the Truth and be joined to HIM. He sends us on a redemptive mission for salvation, NEVER on a romantic mission for salvation.

When Graham and I first met, he wasn’t saved, so we were only ever just friends. He liked me and I liked him, but I knew we could never be more than just friends before he was saved. I didn’t even have to pray about it. I already knew, through God’s word, exactly how He felt about me dating Graham. Eventually, through our friendship and the beautiful mercy of God, Graham got saved. And then we both started praying...What does God think about this friendship? Do we have peace in our hearts to step into the process of evaluating the potential of “till death do us part?”

If you’ve been hurt multiple times before, how do you not carry that pain into a new relationship? 

Helen Bredenkamp Answers:

Each one of us has the potential to bring emotional ‘baggage’ in to our relationships; baggage that can weigh heavily on the relationship and cause damage. There are a couple of simple but important steps to take, before entering a new relationship, in order to prevent this from happening.

1. Fully process your previous pain. Whether you are about to enter into a relationship right now or not - this is such a vital step to healing and recovery from pain. If you need to forgive; do it, if you need to see a counsellor; do it. Whilst you may never forget that you were pained in the past, it is important that you have reached a stage where that pain is no longer so raw and real before you enter into a new relationship. 

2. Look at yourself and your patterns of behaviour with eyes wide open. If you have been hurt previous times before it is helpful to establish if there was a pattern and if so - how do you prevent stepping right into that pattern again. Each of us is responsible for our own emotions and behaviours so we must make sure that we know what our ‘triggers’ are so we can guard against projecting them on to a future partner. 

3. Look at your potential partner with eyes wide open. Do you like their character - the deep down part of who they are? Do you trust them? Do your family and friends trust them? If so, (and it is really important that this is the case, hopefully you wouldn’t be considering a relationship with them if you didn’t!) then you need to choose to believe the best about them even when they do something that hurts you and reminds you of your previous pain. If you know they are good and want good for you - give them the benefit of the doubt before responding to something they say that triggers your past pain. Choose to remember that they are not your previous partner and do not allow yourself to treat them as if they were. Take time to process what you are feeling and then talk it through with them calmly and openly when your initial ‘fight or flight’ reaction has passed. 

It is so important that we understand that we get to choose what we do with our past hurts: “The best things about the past is that it shows you what not to bring into the future."

What if you are total opposites; is it still okay to date?

Helen Bredenkamp Answers:

Yes - it is! Being opposites can be challenging - or amazing - it really depends on your attitude towards the differences.

The reality is that when you take two individuals, with two different experiences of the world; upbringing, education, culture, values etc and put them together in a relationship - things can get messy! The fact that you are opposites would simply be another ‘difference’ that you would inevitably have to navigate as you learn to bring your two separate worlds together in a loving and harmonious way.  

Being opposites is not the deal breaker as to whether a relationship works or not; an ability to be patient with one another's differences, a desire to understand the other person’s perspective better and a willingness to set aside your own understanding of ’the right way' is ultimately what will enable your relationship to thrive.

The Bible says that when we marry we become one flesh - what that means then is that I can appreciate the stability and structure that comes from my husband’s way of seeing things with a strategic planning mindset, whilst he benefits from my way of being able to see the finish and bring the different pieces together so it gets done. Don’t see your opposites as a potential threat; instead see them as an opportunity to partner together, to teach each other and to learn from one another so that you have a partnership that is stronger because between you there is a broader skill set. 

Janice MacMillan