Friday, 17 March 2017

Lamenting breakups - episode 1

The casual handling of relationships has led to a lot of breakups that would be avoided. The pain felt after any breakup is usually unbearable. Both partners will experience it, but often it is the person left that hurts the most.

Take a man for example. There’s this girl you’ve loved with everything you have. You’ve taken her home to meet your parents. Her folk have also met you. Both your friends and hers think you are a perfect match. That couple everyone wishes to be like. A few of your guys have even already promised help with the wedding. Anto has offered to sponsor you with sodas. Felix says he’ll do your photos for free. You’ve never even talked about a wedding, not even suggested a date, but they like your girl so much for you they’ve generously gone ahead with planning.

There’s nowhere you’ve gone with her and you didn’t enjoy the experience. You’ve been to Malindi together. It still feels like yesterday when you watched the premier for I am Not Ashamed together. She’s just your world. She’s in your heart, on your bedroom wall and your phone is filled with her images if you lost it and some kind person picked it they would take it to her thinking it’s hers.

Imagine beginning to notice some gradual loss of interest on her part. She used to spend every weekend with you, but now she seems to always have something else to do. Last weekend it was a baby-sitting favor for the sister. This one she’ll be hanging out with a friend. There was this other one she just didn’t want company; said she felt like taking some time away. Though you try to play down the signs, every successive quarrel ominously speaks. You still try to end your every conversation with “I love you”, but her “I love you too” has long been replaced by “bye.”

Eventually, she confirms your fears. She’s leaving. Her reasons don’t make much sense to you, but she’s not changing her mind. You have no choice but to let her go. You don’t know how you’ll tell Anto to still keep his offer but not expect you will be marrying Nimo. Nimo is just a memory now. She looks happy from what you see on Facebook. You’ve quietly changed your relationship status there. No more pictures of you and her. You are thankful you don’t see her often, but sad not a minute passes by that you haven’t thought of her. It’s wretchedness you can’t run from.

Anyone, man or woman that has never been through anything like that? I thought so. Like Nimo’s boyfriend who will spend sleepless nights trying to figure where things went wrong, so many young Christians ask themselves the same question today. I’d like to suggest their ships do not sink because of something that goes wrong during sail. Most often they do because of something that goes wrong at the harbor. How any couple begins their relationship will greatly determine if it will last or not.

Ladies first

Let’s begin with the ladies. The situation described above is an apt description of some of you. There may be countless legitimate reasons that would be understandable if you left a guy for, but I’ll be honest; some of your reasons for heartbreaking men are plain selfish. Kindly allow me to explain first before you can raise your defenses. There are these two common reasons ladies will cite whenever they call curtains down on a relationship; the first is “I just don’t feel happy in this anymore”, and the second “I feel we are moving in different directions.”

Let’s first take on the excuse of difference in directions. Now, you’ve been seeing this guy one, two or even three years. Then comes this point you feel his direction in life is different from yours. The person you want to be doesn’t quite match with who he says he wants to be. You fear your passions are different. You don’t see a way you two can work. One vision will have to bid adios, and it can’t be yours.

In all humility I will say this; it is a great irresponsibility to agree to a covenant only to break it later because you find things therein that you don’t agree with. The vision and direction of a man’s life is not something you should wait to find out later in the relationship. That is stuff you should ask and be confident you are okay with before you even say yes to him.
Relationships are supposed to be treated as what they are; a covenant, and whoever we are to model our allegiance to a covenant after is not unfaithful Israel, but God. He has never failed to keep a covenant He made. Imagine being offered a job contract that doesn’t give details of how much you’ll be paid, where you’ll work, how many hours, etcetera. Would you sign it? You would be crazy to right?

I also think it’s crazy that you will agree to a relationship without first seeking to find out every necessary detail about it. It’s the exact same thing. How do you walk into a covenant without seeking to know the terms upfront? It is ungodly and unfair to wait to find them out later and then ask out. The unfortunate thing is that most of you will go into relationships because of its offers. Wisdom is to also seeking find out the relationship’s demands on you. If you have known and made peace with them, then go ahead and say yes.
Another thing I would wish you ladies know when it comes to the issue of calling/vision/life direction is that boyfriend or husband, it is the man who is called to lead. That is not to suggest you should throw away everything you have worked hard to build. I’m simply cautioning against you throwing down the drain the one thing you have built with this guy because of things that in reality aren’t more important.

We normally assume that submitting to the authority and leadership of a man is meant to begin when you say ‘I do’. Attention please: IT BEGINS THE MOMENT YOU SAY ‘I WILL’. I’m not saying he now has a right to have you cook for him and do his laundry; he doesn’t. But he deserves your respect when you are relating just as much as he will when you get married. If love doesn’t have to wait to be expressed until after people have gotten married, so does submission.

The most crucial aspect of submission is following a man’s leadership. That is why it is important for a lady to be careful whom she says yes to. You want to be sure he is a man led of God’s Spirit. God’s leading will sometimes mean a direction that goes against your plans; but if in all sincerity you sense it is His will, take it. Your ‘loss’ because of the things you may have to compromise on shall be your gain believe me.

Onto “I’m not happy”. Ladies, with earnestness I plead with you; never walk into a relationship expecting you will always be happy. It sounds foolish to you that anyone would even have such an expectation, but the reality is that as many as those who walk out of relationships citing lack of happiness have likely had such a crazy expectation. An expectation is not just what is spoken, but much more what is expressed. You never know that you had it until when it hasn’t been met.

Like it or not, a man will disappoint you; and not just once. However, that should never be a reason to part ways, not unless it’s something as weighty as cheating or violence. Disappointments in a relationship should be treated as they are in a marriage; an opportunity to display the Gospel and for both the man and the woman to grow in godly character. The one who disappoints repents and turns from his/her sin, and the one disappointed rebukes in love and forgives.

Relationships are a very clear mirror one can use to predict what someone’s marriage will be like. If as a lady you only stay in a relationship when you are happy and the moment you are not you ask out, be very careful. That is a serious warning if someday you happen not to be happy in your marriage you will feel tempted to walk out, not caring that it’s a lifetime commitment. Even if you don’t physically, you will likely be done making any meaningful emotional and spiritual deposits in that marriage.

You may think it won’t be as serious as I’m making it sound. “But I’ll have taken the vows so I couldn’t possibly do that,” you say. I also agree that the environment and circumstance then will be different. There will be vows then, as opposed to now. But, perhaps I should remind you that the protagonist will not be different. It will still be you. Repeating a vow does not necessarily keep one from breaking a commitment. It is an attitude of faithfulness to a commitment that will keep one from ever going against their vows.
And such an attitude doesn’t come because someone said a vow. A vow actually is taken because someone bears this admirable attitude. Furthermore, ladies (and men too) have often felt unhappy with relationships because they seek that happiness the wrong way. If happiness to you will mean being given the things you want, then hands down I can predict you’ll be left very miserable. Pleasure in relationships should never be sought from what we stand to gain, but much more what we give.

So many times unhappiness has been treated as that alarm that says it’s time to fold things up. Not so fast dear. More often than not it is simply a wakeup call to the reality of your selfishness and an urgent need to consider the interests of the other person first – see Philippians 2:3-4. Else, you will leave your man and go on to experience the same disappointment or worse with the next one you say yes to.

In conclusion, I think so many of you ladies unnecessarily walk out of relationships because of how you got in them. Your reasons to want out are inappropriate because the reasons you had for saying yes were insufficient. Your failure to consider everything you should have considered before accepting a man into your life was irresponsible. You may not turn the clock back, but you have an opportunity to handle things better in future. Or even with whomever you are seeing currently.

It doesn’t glorify your Father in heaven to leave a heart broken. But it brings Him glory I believe, when you turn down a proposal for the good of both yourself and the man who asks. Love your brothers enough to care for their hearts, and when you say yes let it remain yes – see Matthew 5:37. As much as it depends on you, only commit to what you are willing to see through to the end.

To keep from boring you with much reading, it felt wise to split this article and address men in the next post. Kindly make sure to read that too as it will complement today’s. Till then, much blessings.