Are You Forcing a Relationship That’s Not Meant to Be?
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | August 30, 2017
Are you struggling in a relationship that seems like more work than joy? Maybe every conversation ends in an argument or your attempts at communication keep falling flat. There’s a good chance you’re in a relationship that is simply not meant to be—but if you’re like most women, you’ll wait until the very last minute to decide that’s the case.
It’s not that you want to drag things out or hurt yourself or hurt your boyfriend. When we continue to pursue a relationship that is pulling its partners in two separate directions, we usually do so out of pity or guilt. We don’t want to be hurtful, and we certainly don’t want to be selfish. But there is another reason to end a relationship that’s struggling: wisdom. Following are four wisdom-based principles to end a relationship that, according to evidence, is not meant to be.
1. You’re unequally yoked spiritually.
In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the apostle Paul admonishes believers to refrain from being “unequally yoked.” Paul used an image familiar with his readers at the time: a yoke of oxen. When one ox was weaker than the other, it could not pull its share of the yoke, or load. The other ox was forced to pick up the slack. Over time this would wear out the stronger ox and slow down the work that was being accomplished.
When a couple is “unequally yoked,” one person is spiritually more mature than the other. In Paul’s example, he was admonishing believers not to form intimate relationships with unbelievers. This doesn’t mean you ditch all your unbelieving friends! It means you don’t date or marry your unbelieving friends, because—as Paul puts it: “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”
If you’re unequally yoked spiritually, the relationship is not meant to be. God has commanded His children to form intimate, covenant relationships only with those who share a love for and faith in Him. This is for our protection! For more on this topic, read this post.
2. You’re always initiating contact.
Your relationship may not be destined to continue if you’re the one constantly initiating contact. When your boyfriend refuses to put forth effort, he’s saying you don’t matter enough to be worthy of his time and attention. There should be some give-and-take in a dating relationship—some effort made on both sides.
Now, there is a caveat to this. If you’re both in college or working a lot, your dating relationship will probably struggle a little. There are seasons when this is case! But if your boyfriend refuses to make an effort even when there is very little on his plate, what makes you think he’ll make an effort down the road? It may be time to move on.
3. You’re constantly giving with no return.
Similar to the previous point, your might be forcing your relationship if you’re the one giving of time, gifts, money or attention—with absolutely no return. There is a place for selflessness in relationships, of course. But dating is the time to get to know if a person’s character is the kind you’d tie yourself to for life. If your boyfriend doesn’t make time to give back to your relationship during the dating period, there’s a good chance he’ll struggle to make that effort if you’re married. Marriage doesn’t “cure” bad character. It exposes it. Be honest with yourself about the relationship’s status.
4. You’re afraid to break up even though you know you should.
Perhaps the most common reason that girls continue in negative relationships is that they’re scared to break up. I’ve been there myself! We don’t want to be the ones to hurt a guy. We don’t want to drop the bomb that destroys his life for the next few weeks (or more). But which is more cruel: to continue a relationship you know is headed nowhere good, just for the sake of protecting his feelings, or to be honest and truthful even though it will sting?
It’s better to be honest. Prayerfully consider your relationship. Are you on the same page spiritually? Are your lives in a place where you can both make effort, and if so, are you both making that effort? Do you need to be honest and break up? It’s hard to end a relationship that’s going nowhere, but it’s better then forcing something that’s not God’s best for you. Seek His wisdom—then take the next step of obedience.