I have come across your site reading your articles on courtship and relationship matters while searching for articles on how to prepare myself for a godly relationship in future. And I thank God for your sound advice and guidelines in how we should live our lives as God's people.
For a background on myself:
I'm currently 25. I have broken up with my ex-girlfriend last September. We have been together for three years. She is a non-believer, while I was a Christian since I was young and have personally accepted Christ at the age of 16. My ex-girlfriend was the one who initiated the relationship after knowing me in our workplace back when I was 21. Initially I declined but gave in and started a romantic relationship with her, although we didn't really know much about each other at the time. We did not know each other prior to this, and our only common friends were those of the workplace. This was my first relationship, and the third for her.
I believed one of the reason of that I gave into the thought of starting a relationship with her was because I was yearning for a partner, and although I know I shouldn't have been yoked with an unbeliever, but still I went into it. I was also being naive, thinking that I could be the "role model" in the relationship, and also to be someone that will bring her to Christ by being in a relationship with her. I even made it clear at the beginning of the relationship that if she is not a Christian, we would not get married. Yet, I hoped she would come to know the Lord personally as well.
Things started well. There was strong attraction, and we had a lot of sweet moments together. But after a while, our relationship was on rocky ground as we had countless quarrels and arguments and differences in ideas and the way we communicated. We could have disagreements or misunderstandings on little issues, like not replying to a message immediately or telling her I am busy at the moment and will call back later. But still, as I believe we can sort things out with proper communication and trying again, we would somehow resolve and overcome it; although in the end, it still didn't work out as we really don't have common ground in a lot of areas.
Furthermore, our contrasting characters caused conflict. I am an extrovert who believes in telling the other what I think and feel about something. I have quite a few close friends. She is an introvert, keeping her feelings to herself and having a few friends. This didn't help much as we found it hard to have common friends to help us along the way.
Then came the worst part - pre-marital sex. We got involved sexually about the second year of our relationship. After some time in this, I found myself treating her in an increasingly degrading way. Lust had taken control of my life, and I know that I had to stop it. We were both virgins before this. During the midst of quarreling, we still had some good times, and was having sexual intimacy from time to time as well. But each time when we had a break up, I found myself contemplating ending the relationship because of our inability to have a solid relationship. But I was still hoping that we could somehow work things out between us. I also noticed that as time went by, my lust would drive me to do things more boldly. The sexual†behaviors†were getting of hand, and I know I would hurt her in different aspects if I continued on with this relationship.
The final straw came then. I realized that I had to take a stand on this, to go back to God and to leave this sinfully indulging life, and also to do something right for once for my ex-girlfriend. I decided to end the relationship when we were in our last disagreement. I contemplated a long while on this, as I know I had a big†responsibility as I was the one who initiated the sexual intimacy with her. I also know that I will break her heart very deeply as she still has deep feelings for me, and there's a possibility that she will try to end her life.† When I told her I wished to break up with her, I only told her the reason for breaking up is that we have tried too many times in our communication with each other, and it's better that she moved on from here, and to find a partner who will complement and understand her better than me.
Upon making this decision to break up, I felt God's peace in my life at that very moment. Though I still have the burden wondering if she will be OK after this.†
After a few months, she texted me saying she still has hopes for us to go back to each other, but I didn't reply her as I didn't intend to give her any hope for this†any more. Last summer she texted me again. Initially I wanted to say something mean to break her off on her hopes, but I contemplated and believe that, if possible, I should end this in a peaceful manner. After praying, I called her up and caught up with her life and how was she doing after our separation. I also reaffirm to her that I hope she has moved on and does not hold on to me any longer, as I have also have moved on. In the conversation she said she will try to move on, and she knows that I am no longer treating her as we were. From this conversation I was relieved.
But just two weeks back, she texted one of my friends saying that she still can't help it and is still holding on to me..
My dilemma now is: I am not sure what to do for now, to let her know to really move on and tell her my decision of ending the relationship last time was due to the fact that I wanted to go back to God? Should I explain to her about the effects of pre-marital sex?
I have, since then, read up quite a bit from articles on godly courtship and marriage to better equip myself, from web sites like Boundless, Focus on the Family, and yours as well, which I really wished I could have read much earlier.
Thanks for your time and hope to hear from you soon.
I'm glad that you came to your senses and returned to the Lord. Though it would have been better to have know why pre-marital sex was wrong before you started engaging in it, I did take note that you knew it was wrong, even if you did understand all the reasons. You understood that you had left the path of righteousness. It was just that at the time having a girlfriend and having sex was more important to you.
The reason the relationship did not work out was because it was built on passion. Like any flame, passion fades over time. You tried fanning the flames by increasing your lust for sex and learned that this too doesn't last.
That couples have disagreements is normal because everyone comes from different backgrounds. What is notable isn't the disagreements, but your inability to peacefully resolve the issues. In this too you lost your focus on Christ.
I wonder if your hope of converting her was as sincere as you thought it to be. Perhaps you meant it at first, but certainly as you began plotting to have sex with her, it became something you told yourself but didn't really mean. You yourself had left the Lord and if she became a Christian she would realize that you had lead her further into sin. I think that the reason she has never been interested in Christianity is because, in truth, she wasn't shown what Christianity was.
One of requirements of being a true Christian is a willingness to say what you believe. "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). Even now you are hiding this. You might talk about Jesus but you did not accept him as Lord of your life. You wanted pleasure to run your life. For your sake, you need to tell her the truth. That you used her to sin and that you cannot be a Christian and a sinner at the same time (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Admit that you do not think that you can be friends with her and refrain from sex as you know you must.
One thing you should not do is make it sound that you would have stayed with her if she was a Christian. That would make it appear acceptable for Christians to engage in fornication. It must be clear that you knew you were sinning and you knew you had to stop.
Hi Mr Jeffrey,
Thanks for your comments and advice. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.
Yes, I really wish I got to know the very surreal consequences of having pre-marital sex before I got involved in any relationships back then. Not just because that it's commonly said to abstain, and being told it's wrong, or that it'll bring unwanted pregnancies, but it should only be done within the marriage boundary after being really committed to one another and that we'll only have one partner for life.
In my mind, I used to think that having sex is just for pleasure, and it will bring greater intimacy and understanding to both partners. We had sex because I thought we were in a serious relationship back then and that marriage was the goal. Boy, how wrong was I! The commitment I had back then before coming to an end was only being†committed†in sinning, again and again. But I really thank God for His grace and everlasting love that He brought me back to him and being shown back the right path to walk on. I am also thankful that both of us didn't got into any further complications like unwanted pregnancy, abortions, forced marriage, or the like. I come to realize sex is created by God mainly for procreation and also the special gift that can only be enjoyed in the safe boundaries of marriage where we give ourselves to our partner.
After the recent readings I have come to understand the importance of having a equally yoked partner. It is not just choosing only one lady as a partner but to choose a Christian lady and one who is after God's heart as well and shares the same level of passion in serving Him. I thank God that in the current church I'm serving (as I moved to another state), I got to meet one lady who is after God's heart as well. We have not started any relationship with one another, but, at the moment, we are focusing on our personal walk with God for an indefinite period and also in view that she is still studying at the moment. But I have shared with her this past of mine as I believed that I should be very frank and open to her on this matter, even with the thought of being rejected, before we get any deeper in our relationship in future. But God has shown again His love and mercy to me that His perfect love has no fears (I John 4:18). She has no ill feelings on this matter.†
I have also confessed this past of mine after my break up to both my parents and have asked forgiveness from them for breaking their trust and heart, and, by God's grace, they have also forgiven me.
I'll find a time to call my ex-girlfriend up then to tell her I'm sorry about using her to sin, and that I broke up because I don't think I can be friends with her while stopping myself from indulging in sin. I will also say that I can't be a hypocrite, saying I'm a Christian, but, at the same time, I am going deeper into sin. And, yes, that even if she was a Christian, I couldn't be together with her because my personal walk with God is in shambles, and I needed to stop and to go back to God, my first love.
Thanks again Mr. Jeffrey for your time. I pray that your ministry to His people will grow from strength to strength by His love, wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit, for His glory and the extension of His kingdom. "to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves"†(Ephesians 1:6).