(Lord, have mercy.)
A writer colleague of mine has an “ask me anything” feature on her blog and I totally stole her idea this past weekend.
And this was one of the questions that came my way via my Facebook writer page:
What I have been hearing on your blog sounds like you are making a conscious decision to uncouple from this guy….but why? He sounds amazing so I don’t get it. It’s so not my business. I guess what I am trying to learn is, how do you know when a man isn’t the one when you fall for him?
Gulp. I did tell y’all to ask me anything, didn’t I?
So, let me answer this in two parts here. Or at least, attempt to.
Why are the good man and I consciously uncoupling like Chris & Gwyneth?
First, we weren’t a couple. So there’s that.
Secondly, honestly, I don’t fully understand, which adds a bit to my angst and sadness and processing, but it’s okay. It maybe can’t be fully explained and I really maybe don’t need to fully understand in order to move on.
Thirdly, because he feels we do not have a future together. And I sorta have to honor that. I can’t, you know, show up on his doorstep and tell him he’s wrong and we’re getting hitched. I have a no-more-convincing-men-to-love-me-and-or-marry-me clause in my by-laws these days. So, yeah. (Reiteration: He is a very good man. It was all expressed with kindness. We want what is best for each other. There are no hard feelings. In other words, no need for you to be mad at him in a sweet protective way on my behalf.)
And lastly – and this is the part that I will have to hold on to and that I absolutely must trust will carry me through these early days and then into the weeks (and possibly months and years depending on how my life plays out) — God is sovereign. I don’t always get it but I completely believe it. Yes, we have free will. But yes, God is in control. Many, many things have rolled into my life that have surprised me – and not in a good way – and all I have had to get me through them is my faith in a God who I do not and cannot fully understand. Which is actually really okay with me because if I could completely understand God, he wouldn’t be all that worship-able, you know?
So that’s all I’ve got on that. Any more detail and I’d be crossing over lines and pulling back the veil a bit too much, even for me. So the second part of that question:
How do you know when a man isn’t the one when you fall for him?
Sweet girl, I don’t fully know this yet. I suppose him saying he doesn’t see a future is one super obvious leading from the Spirit! But here are some other thoughts:
Before you begin dating, I would come up with a list of traits you are looking for in a partner. Non-negotiables. Then you keep that bar raised high and do not let it fall to the ground out of loneliness, insecurity or fear. (Trust me on this one.)
Pray. Ask God to bring you the right person in the right time and to help you become whole and holy and ready.
Wise counsel. Get your girlfriends involved. Have them help you determine if and when you’re ready and if what you’re looking for sounds right. And, let them weigh in on your relationships. They love you. They want what’s best for you.
Be patient. (Yuck, I hate this one.) But this goes right back to the sovereignty of God. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.
Trust yourself. Really. I know that some people believe that we cannot trust our hearts but I believe that as followers of Christ, our hearts are new and indwelled by the Spirit. I believe that, as my pastor says, you know yourself better than anyone else does…you are on your own expert on you. I believe that God has given us the mind of Christ. And I believe that he has given us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind and not of fear or timidity. So, if you sense any red flags, be brave and look them full in the face.
As a woman who has been single and as a woman who has been in a difficult marriage and as a woman who has been divorced and as a woman who can now say she’s been in love with a man who treated her well and as a woman who can now also say that is behind her, I know this: the waiting is worth it, and it’s better – far better – to be single and lonely than married and lonely. Baby girl, do not square-peg/round-hole yourself into a marriage based out of neediness. You will regret it.
And I also know this (because God is ever so gently teaching me this)…even when it doesn’t feel like it and even when we’re lonely or sad and even when everything is murky…no matter what, somehow, it’s all going to be okay.
If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.
So much good counsel here. Thank-you for that. I for one know how loneliness can take over and make you ignore those red flags. That happened to me with my second marriage. You have to completely lay it ALL at Gods feet. I also thank-you for your openness here. I do encourage every single Christian girl to see those ‘red flags’ as the Holy Spirit talking to you. And for you Elizabeth just keep laying it at Gods feet because for some reason He knew this guy was not for you.
Thank you for the encouragement, Amy…I am laying it down and laying it down over and over. -Elisabeth
I love this post…thank you for being vulnerable and telling your truth. It’s makes me feel better knowing there are other people who used to be the type that no matter if it was good or bad they were going to make that man love them.
Love this line: “I have a no-more-convincing-men-to-love-me-and-or-marry-me clause in my by-laws these days.
I am determined to see the red flags this time knowing that this is not only in my best interest but also for my kids. It’s going to take a lot to make this kind of change and I am ready to do the work to learn how to love and accept myself and accept how much God loves me first. To be okay with me and who I am.
Julie, I love this: “…I am ready to do the work…” Beautiful. Keep walking, girlie. -Elisabeth
Such good advice….so many reasons why God allows us to go through things and many times it is for reasons we can’t see right then and then we have an “ah ha” moment and say “that was why…..”
Yes…..make a list!!!!! And don’t stray from it!!! And YES…..let you girl friends you trust have influence on you!!!
God knows you, as well or better than you know yourself. There is light at the end of the tunnel girls, I am living proof….God knows your hearts and he created you for relationship ( but only healthy ones!)…..dig deep into a relationship with Him first and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Thank you for the encouragement and affirmation, Lori! -Elisabeth