Dear Dr. Haney
Dear Dr. Haney
I do not understand why God brought this guy into my life and then took him away when I thought he was the one. He already jumped into a relationship three days after we broke up. That really hurts. I am so mad at the girl who he is now seeing, because she was my friend and I introduced them. I am angry at God for taking him away even though I know it was for the better. Why is he allowing me to hurt so much when it was for the better?
Feeling Sad in Denison
Dear Feeling Sad,
Both of my parents were engaged to other people before they met. Things don’t always work out the way we planned. Here are some principles to help you move past this painful breakup and get on with your life:
1) For now, be picky. Don’t apologize for making sure the person you date seriously is a person you want to serve selflessly for the rest of your life. If not, pull the plug.
2) Engagements can be broken. There is nothing morally wrong with coming to a difficult conclusion and breaking of a relationship, even an engagement. It may be painful, but it’s certainly not unethical. Divorce, on the other hand, God hates. It is a different situation. Consider dating relationships as breakable, and marriage as unbreakable.
3) Set up standards and stick to them. My mother had three non-negotiable standards: A Christian, preferably from the same church background; a college graduate; and, because she is tall, she wanted a husband who was taller. A man she was engaged to was tall and handsome, but he was not a Christian. Mom knew she wanted a family faith and not a private faith, so, painfully, she broke it off. In retrospect, of course, she was glad she did. But at the time, it really hurt, because they had big plans, maybe like you did, and plans fall hard when you break up. Don’t despair. God’s got something better for you.
4) Be patient and go slow. When you’ve found the right one, slow down some more. There’s nothing better in the whole world than marriage, but take your time and don’t rush into it. I asked my parents years ago how they knew they had found the "right one" in each other. They said from praying, everything looked good and felt good, and, while God took his time, he was answering their prayers. Dad was 27 and Mom was 23 when they met. They dated for eight weeks. There’s a maturity factor that comes with experience. Part of knowing what you want is learning what you don’t want. My father was shocked to learn toward the end of his time at Baylor that a girl seriously wanted to elope. He looked at her and said, "What? You must be out of your mind! No way." Another time on his way to pick up a date across town in Houston, he realized she wanted a swift marriage, and he said at a red light, "What am I doing?" He turned the car around, went home and called her and never went back. A month later she was married to another guy! Thank God, Dad didn’t run that red light. God knows what he’s doing!
5) Romance doesn’t last without lots of nurturing. One country preacher said, "Marriage is like fiddling. When the music is over, there are still strings attached." Do you want to be attached to this person for the rest of your life? Next time you start dating someone, ask yourself that question a hundred times a day. If the answer is no, get out!
The most important thing to consider is God’s glory, not our desires. Marriage is a picture of Christ and his church. Be careful who you date and make sure it’s a person who loves the Lord. God bless you as you do.
Note to readers: This will be the final column of Dr. Haney’s "I’m Glad You Asked." He is moving to a church in Greenville, Texas. Thanks to all who have sent in questions over the years.