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I have recently been dealing with a difficult breakup from my long-distance boyfriend. Officially, we were together for just a few months, but he was a part of my life for over a year. Our relationship was different. I thought it was the most pure, godly relationship I could have had and I really thought marriage would come of it one day in the future. You can read more about it in my previous blog post, 5 Things My Online, Long Distance Relationship Taught Me.
As I dealt with my third failed relationship in a two-year time period I began to wonder, “What is wrong with me?” “Why do I suck at relationships?”
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Some of my friends began suggesting books to help me to deal with the breakup and simply get over it since after 2 months of being dumped I still wasn’t feeling any better. I liked their suggestions but one book kept coming back to my memory…a book a friend suggested after breakup #1…Joshua Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
When I mentioned wanting to read this book I was surprised to find that one of my friends had it and was more than willing to lend it to me. As soon as I borrowed it and began reading it I fell in love with it. I was slightly skeptical of it at first. Kissing dating goodbye? But I like going out with dates…I like relationships when things go well…but that doesn’t seem to happen much…
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As I read Harris’s book I realized that what I was doing is what he describes as “defective dating”. Society tells us we should date around, not take things too seriously, and not worry about commitment. Purity in today’s society is practical unheard of. But this is not godly. This is not the plan God has for his children. As a Christian, this is not what I should strive for.
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Simply put, I shouldn’t even be worrying about dating at all. Relationships are for marriage. Am I ready for marriage now? Definitely not. One day I will be. God will lea me to the right person at the right time, but that time is not now. Now is a time to be single, but singleness isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes singleness is good.
I like how Harris explains that God gives us the gift of singleness. It is a gift. I still have the rest of my life for marriage. Now is not a time for dating. Now is a time to focus on a relationship…but not that kind of relationship. I need to focus on my relationship with God. Dating will only distract me from that. That is part of why dating is defective…it can take us away from the most important relationship in our life…the relationship with God.
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Harris explains that we should only worry about courting the opposite sex when we are ready for marriage. Being ready for marriage means being ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. Being able to take care of a partner, truly understanding each other, having the finances, and the blessings from family. Until that time we should view the opposite sex as brothers or sisters in Christ. We should support them in their relationships with Christ and make sure that we do nothing to distract them from their missions.
Harris also talks a lot about purity. It is nearly impossible to be completely pure, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for a life of purity until marriage. Purity in Harris sense means so much more than just abstaining from sex. It means abstaining for mere lust as well. Lust can be an insult to God. We need to learn to be patient and trust in him to provide us with marriage when the time is right. That seems to be the hard part…trusting God’s perfect timing. Harris offers many suggestions on how we can strive for purity and not feed into lust. He emphasizes the importance of spending time with the opposite sex in group settings instead of one-on-one in an effort to demolish the feel of intimacy and temptation. Have you ever been alone with someone you were attracted to? Perhaps you even had a house to yourself. Maybe you’ve went too far or had to seriously fight off the temptation. This can be hard to do. Harris explains that the best way to fight temptation is to simply work to avoid settings where temptation can arise to begin with. God wants us to strive to remain pure until marriage. Marriage is supposed to help us to give the best parts of ourselves to the best possible mate. If we give it all away through defective dating for someone who is not “the one” then what will we have left to give in the future in marriage?
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Joshua Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye really helped me to open my eyes and see my past relationships in new lights. I should have worked harder to fight off temptations and negative, defective environments. My most recent relationship wasn’t as perfect as I was convinced it was. Harris wrote, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing”. My past relationship wasn’t the right timing and therefore it was wrong. I put all of my time and effort into pleasing my mate and no effort into my relationship with God. This was clearly an act of defective dating. By breaking up with me my now ex was treating me as I should have been treated all along — as a sister in Christ. He realized that my relationship with him was distracting me or keeping me from my relationship with God which was more important. Now I am able to see my singleness as a gift from God. I can use this gift as a way to better serve God and to share the word of the gospel with others while trusting in his perfect timing. I know that God will provide me with “the one” when the time is right…(e.g.- when I am ready for marriage). As for now, I’m more than ready to kiss dating goodbye.