If you have your heart set on dating a particular godly guy* or if you are dating/courting/engaged and he decides to break up or leave – how can you show respect in such a situation?
The answer is very simple even though it is the most difficult thing to do:
You let him go.
If a man doesn’t want to be with me, and he says he doesn’t want to stay or he leaves and won’t respond to me – I can’t force him to stay. I can’t explain enough reasons why he should stay. Well – I could try to do that. But once a man decides he wants to leave – verbal arguments about why he should stay are usually not going to be very effective. I can’t control him. He controls his decisions. I control mine. If there is any chance of reconciliation – it will come only if I respect that he wants to leave and let him leave. It is really disrespectful and controlling for me to not let someone leave who wants to go.
This means I act with dignity, self-respect, respect for him, poise, acceptance of God’s ultimate sovereignty, and God-given peace.
I don’t need to keep trying to contact him and trying to make him come back. I don’t have to panic. I can share that I don’t want to break up, that I want to try to make this work. I can apologize for anything I have done to hurt him and seek to change in ways that honor God. If he still decides to leave, it’s fine for me to be sad, of course. Yes, I will grieve the relationship. But if I freak out, yell, scream, argue, insult him, hit him, throw things, pitch a fit, etc… I am only going to confirm that he is very right to leave and that I am not someone he wants to be around. I don’t want any of us to live with those kinds of regrets.
A relationship that is built on a man being with me because I threatened him, bribed him, tried to coerce him to stay, or threatened to do something harmful to myself is not a healthy relationship. If I can remain relatively calm and am willing to let him go in a dignified manner, and give him time and space – he may begin to miss me and question his decision and come back eventually. But even if he doesn’t come back, I can handle myself in a respectful way that honors God, myself, and this fellow brother in Christ.
There is no biblical concept of a “soul mate” that I am aware of – meaning a “perfect man” who is the only one in the world who could ever “complete me” and “make me happy.” The only One we can’t live without is Jesus. No human can ever meet our deepest needs. Jesus is the only one who truly makes me spiritually and emotionally whole. I am responsible for my own contentment – and when I have Jesus, I can be completely content in Him with or without a man. We cling to Jesus, but we do not have to cling to people. We can love and bless people – but we don’t have to be needy for them. Let me know if this doesn’t make sense. 🙂 Even for women who are married, 1 Corinthians 7 prescribes that “if an unbelieving husband wants to leave, let him go, for you are called to live in peace.” Let’s enjoy relationships with those who want to be with us. And if someone wants to leave, let’s not be desperate for other people – but only for Christ!
Focus on staying in God’s Word, feeding on His truth, and prayer. For prayer, don’t obsess about this guy. Be sure to do a lot of praising God, thanking Him for the good things in your life, asking God to transform your soul to be more like Jesus, pray for the needs of others around you. And pray for the man you love – but maybe only for a few minutes per day rather than praying only about him every waking moment. Be willing to hold this man and your plans loosely. Seek God’s will and lay your dreams before Him to allow Him to determine the outcome.
I can take my pain to God and say something like,
I love this man. I really want to be with him but he doesn’t want to stay. I trust You. I trust Your sovereignty. Help me not to freak out. Help me to let him go and to treat his decision with respect. Help me to find healing and comfort in You. I want what You know is best for this man I love. I pray for Your will to be done for both of us – whatever that may be. I pray for Your greatest glory in His life. I release him to You. I won’t cling to him. He is not my source of absolute love, peace, security, hope, joy, and purpose. You are. You will never leave me and never forsake me. No man can meet the deepest needs of my soul – but You can. Use this time of pain to draw me nearer to You and to help me grow in faith. Show me if there is sin for which I need to repent against this man. If not, help me to let him go and not pursue him. Help me to pursue You wholeheartedly and to be open to all that You have in store for me. Thank you for this man being in my life. He has been a gift to me. I accept that he has chosen to leave and though it is painful, I choose to rest in You. I trust You to use this time of great pain and trial in my life to draw me closer to Your heart. I open my soul to the spiritual treasures You want to share with me along the way on this path.
I give you all of myself, all of my dreams, all that I have, all of my future – everything. I lay myself on the altar of Your will. I want Your whole will and nothing but Your will. I sacrifice myself for Your greatest glory – whatever will bring You the most praise and honor in my life – I sign up for that with joy. Whatever the cost to me – it will be worth it. You are most worthy! I hold nothing back. I make no demands. I trust You. Take my life and make something beautiful for Your Name that will make the most impact for Your Kingdom.”
* Ladies, I am assuming that you are only dating godly men who are seriously seeking to follow Christ and that you are seriously seeking to follow Christ first.