Question:

She ended our relationship. The root of most of our problems was the observations I'd make about her behavior. I'd suggest more Christ-like ways to dress and react to situations fairly often. She didn't like it. As we got closer I felt more able to really level with her on Christian things and as I did we drifted further apart. In the last two weeks I worked very hard to soften the way I said things, say less, and show her love more. It didn't work, obviously.

It's far outside of my nature to let emotions and occurrences rattle me out of functionality, but I'm very distraught. I cried out loud for the first time since I was much much younger.

I have some more questions for you if you don't mind.

How should a Christian recover from something like this?

How should a Christian start dating again?

I'm not a social butterfly by any means. How would I start looking for another companion, and when is the right time to start?

If you can give any other advice I'd certainly appreciate it. Please keep me in your prayers whenever you might remember, I'm am very much shattered at the moment.


Answer:

I'm sorry to hear that it didn't work out. It is always rough, even when you know it is coming.

Since I don't know either of you, I can't begin to judge whether the criticism you were offering was justified or overboard, but if you would allow, I would like to offer some observations that might help you in the future.

First, people have a strong tendency to date people with the idea that they can make the other person into a better person. People do grow and change through life, but when you are dating, you are looking for someone who is currently the type of person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. When you start looking at a person for who they could become, you missing seeing who they actually are.

Second, do you remember Jesus' advice? "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). Few people can survive a steady diet of hearing they aren't good enough. Sure, we all know we have room for improvement, but we all need encouragement to continue doing what is right.

Now, odd as it might seem, I would like you to study the first three chapters of the Song of Solomon. In particular, I want you to pay attention to how Solomon treats the young woman and deals with the common womanly problem of seeing herself as not being good enough. Use "The Greatest Love Song Written" as a guide.

Over the coming weeks and months you'll be kicking yourself for not realizing the mistakes you were making in handling this relationship. Don't be too hard on yourself, but pay attention to the lessons you get from the school of hard knocks.

For the moment, take it easy. Give yourself a chance to recover. It you can, go on a short camping trip, or something of the like, to get away from the usual routine and the reminders. Allow yourself a chance to grieve.

There is no one right time to start dating again. But I would suggest not actively pursuing another relationship for a few months. If one happens to develop unexpectedly, then don't reject it. When you are ready, start going places where you have interests. Since you strongly want a Christian wife, go where dedicated Christians can be found. Attend gospel meetings in your area. Go to various gatherings. While you are not a social butterfly, you can still make efforts to be places. Oh, and don't be shy about mentioning that you are looking for a wife. You'll find a lot of older sisters in the Lord know who is available at the moment and would be happy to introduce you.