Question:

To begin, I am in my forties and have been divorced (due to adultery by my husband) for over five years. I was dating a man a few years older then myself with a similar background. We dated for nine months and he ended things with me because

  • he needed to be with an evangelic Christian
  • I wasn't Christian enough and
  • he loves God first and foremost.

I can't put into words the shock and disappointment. I have not been a Christian as long as this gentlemen has and I am the first to admit to being a lazy Christian in that I hadn't spent much time in the Bible (I was raise Catholic and practiced many years so I certainly know some Scripture but had read recently in fits and starts).What I find painful is that rather than asking me to pray with him, or read the Bible with him (things that hadn't occurred to me to share with him because I hadn't been in a relationship with a devote Christian and some old conservative Catholic habits remain in my introverted personality), he spent all these months judging me rather than guiding me or investing in me. Why tell me that he loves me when that is not a remote possibility, when it is tied to an unshared or unfullfilled requirement? I just have a hard time resolving how someone that claims to be Christian (and is guilty of sin as we all are) would choose to handle the situation like that. I don't have an issue with people having deal-breakers at all, but when someone has been a Christian for over 15 years it seems to me that the things they "require" would be flushed out in the first date, not nine months later.

I have forgiven him and told him as much but that does nothing to resolve the hurt and confusion. Based on everything else in the relationship, I had no reason to believe that we weren't headed toward marriage. Am I wrong to assume if there was a spiritual concern or divide that it is up to the person that sees it to reach out, counsel, and guide?


Answer:

One of the things I tell people in regards to dating is to look at at person for who they are and not who you think they might become. The problem is that during dating a person puts his or her "best foot forward." If this is a person's best, then likely this is how the person will be in the future, or possibly worse. People do change, but the change has to come from the person. It can't be externally caused and be expected to remain.

A difficulty when trying to help someone be a better Christian while you are dating him or her at the same time is that you don't know if the person is changing to impress you or if it is because he or she wants to change.

All I see is that this man appears to have given the relationship an honest attempt. I know you feel shocked to learn that he has a criteria for a wife that you did not know about. You're incorrect in implying that it was wrong for him to make a judgment because that is what dating is all about -- deciding (which is a judgment) whether the person you are seeing is the type of person you want to have by your side for the rest of your life. His decision was a honest look at who you are.

If you want to become a strong, devoted Christian, then by all means become one. I would encourage you to devote yourself to Christ, but do it because this is what you understand you need to do for yourself and for your God.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).