What are your motives for being in a relationship? Are you constantly checking in to make sure you’re in the right one? It takes a lot of effort to be romantically involved with another person, and it’s also a responsibility to do what it takes to keep it alive. If you’re like me, you would find it very helpful to have a playbook titled “Everything You Must Do to Find the One and Live Happily Ever After.” No such thing exists, but here’s a start.
Earlier this year we talked about how to know you’re in a healthy relationship and how you can keep God in the center of it. This time, I’d like to share five common mistakes that send relationships to an early grave.
1. Comparing your relationship to everyone else’s. Just like in any area of our lives, comparison is the fastest way to become discontent with what we have. If it were our assignment to keep up with everyone else, that would defeat the purpose of the uniqueness we’ve been given by the Lord. Comparing your boyfriend to your exes, your friend’s man, or hot and heavy relationships you see on TV may blind you to the beauty of what you two have. If he feels he can never live up to your expectations, he will most likely move on. If you find yourself doing this, take control of your thoughts and meditate on the positive attributes you both have and what brought you together in the first place.
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
2. Constant dishonesty. Being unfaithful and purposely lying to our mate is something we all know is wrong, but did you know it’s also dishonest to act like the girl you think he wants instead of your true self? Think about it—if you suddenly start listening only to the music he likes, wearing the clothing he’s into (even if it’s not your taste), or pretending to be bubbly and outgoing in order to keep his attention, you’re going to get tired of the charade. One day the house of cards will fall and so will your relationship. If you find yourself doing this, be honest with your beau and start sharing your interests with him. He may end up loving your music playlist or how you like to have theological conversations over coffee.
One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. (Luke 16:10)
3. Idolizing your relationship. Giving all of your attention to your one and only is a fast track to being let down. No one will be able to complete you, and trust me, he is no Mr. Perfect even if he seems like it right now. Putting him before anything else will sidetrack you on your path to God’s purpose, and some guys get overwhelmed when they notice you have nothing else going on in your life but them. If you find yourself doing this, it might be time to take a break and realign yourself with God before continuing to date your guy. The opposite is also true: Success is nearly impossible if you’re neglecting him.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)
4. Rushing into a commitment. No one wants to be a third wheel. All of your friends might be coupled up and movie nights can start to get awkward when you have no one to double-date with. However, linking up out of desperation is already setting yourself up for failure. You should be ready and open to a relationship because you’re in the right season, not because you feel you have no other choice. If you find yourself doing this, reach out more to hang out with your single friends. It also helps to pray to God about your loneliness so that He can help you find healing from your discontentment.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalm 62:8)
5. Engaging in sexual activities. The world may tell you that the best way to keep your relationship strong is to take it to the next level. Not many people are willing to describe the vulnerability and guilt that comes with giving parts of yourself away before marriage. This is especially true for Christians who make a commitment of purity. Someone you trusted to keep you on a virtuous path can let you down if they’re willing to cross boundaries you set with the Lord. If you find yourself doing this, God will forgive you when you repent and turn away from those things. You and your boyfriend need to have a serious discussion and commit to ending those activities. This is between you and God, but you might also feel led to end the relationship.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
Are there any other relationship killers you’ve experienced in the past that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!