It has often been said that when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. There is a purpose for every relationship. A relationship without purpose is usually full of abuse and becomes at best, unproductive and mostly counterproductive.
Every relationship should have a purpose, this will guide the parties involved to know what to expect, and to know when the relationship is not going in the right direction. There are relationships for the purpose of business (business partners), there is a relationship between the service giver and the client, between two people who have found a friend in each other, between best friends, between exercise partners, between a dating couple, between a married couple, etc. Each relationship has its purpose and therefore has what each party is expected to bring to the table.
So, if I am a client, my relationship with a service provider is well defined. He/she brings the product or service, I bring the payment. When any of us begin to default, there is a problem and if that problem is not resolved, then it will be time for the embittered party to move on.
So, first of all, define that relationship.
What is the purpose of that relationship?
Understanding the Purpose of Christian Dating / Courtship
There is a clear difference between the Christian approach to dating / courtship and the way the world approaches same. The Christian way of life is full of hedges and boundaries. These hedges and boundaries look annoying and boring to unbelievers, but are in place for our protection.
Nowadays, no body in his/her right mind will go into a business relationship without a clear cut, well drawn out contract. These contracts are for the protection of the parties involved. And so, all through the process of the business, every party knows what accrues to him or her and how to seek redress from the law whenever they feel cheated.
The terms of contract for relationship have already been drafted by God in His Word: we can either keep to it and have a good life, or we can break the hedge and receive bites from the serpent.
The primary purpose of a dating relationship between a man and a woman should be for marriage:
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4 KJV
This Scripture says it all. Relationships in a Christian life must be approached with all sense of purity. Any form of defilement must be avoided. So in Christianity, you don’t go into a relationship just to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend who you has no intention of marrying. If you do, first, that will be deception, especially if the other party thinks otherwise. Secondly, that always results in fornication which, needless to say, is sin against God and against your body. Thirdly, that is a mindless waste, as precious time and resources are expended on an enterprise that has no future.
I always advice people who are not yet ready for marriage to abstain from dating /courtship. Indeed, there are those who were able to maintain purity in very long courtships, but the truth is that it is rare as it requires great discipline and spiritual maturity from all parties involved. The beloved herself said there’s no point awakening love before it’s time (Song of Solomon 8:4). We are also told in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 that there’s a time for everything, this includes love.
If then you are ready to take the big step of commitment called marriage, then be rest assured that God has you covered. Before you were born, a mate was already prepared for you (Isaiah 34: 16). But connecting with your soul mate is not always as smooth and direct as we would like. Hence, you need to know what red flags to watch out for that will alert you that you might have made a mistake. A few of them are listed below.
When to Quit a Relationship
Having understood the basics of relationships, the following are some red alerts of when to quit a relationship:
1. When You as a Born-Again Child of God is in a Relationship With An Unbeliever
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV
Okay, I don’t want to ask how you got there in the first place, but no matter how far you have gone on the wrong path, it is always wise to retrace your steps. The Bible says we should not be unequally yoked. While it is possible to have unbelievers as business partners, co-worker, etc, as these are inevitable since we still live with them on planet earth, you really do not have to bring them into your bossom in a marriage relationship. Marriage is not a tool of evangelism! It is a lifetime commitment and should only be made with people on the same path as you: the path of life. Remember, light has no business with darkness, you cannot marry light to darkness. One must give way to the other. So, if you are presently in courtship with an unbelieving partner, do yourself a favour and hit the road.
2. When a Relationship Negatively Affects your Relationship with God
But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 1 Kings 11:1-2 (you can read down to verse 9)
In verse 9, you will see that just as God said, the strange women turned Solomon’s heart away from God. That’s the real job of a strange man or woman, not to steal your husband or wife from you (that’s their temporary /secondary assignment), but to turn you away from your God. Everywhere these strange men and women go and are permitted to perform, things fall apart, hearts are drawn away, homes torn, relationships destroyed, God forgotten in all the pain. But sometimes, they come earlier. They come before your God ordained spouse arrives, and this makes their job easier. You marry them, and your love for God evaporates, along with your glorious destiny. Do not allow this to happen.
Nothing should be able to separate from your love for Christ, not even your love for someone else. Any relationship that places a strain on your relationship with God, your prayer life, your commitment to Kingdom Advancement, etc, is not of God and should be abandoned. Remember, we are to seek first His Kingdom before any other thing.
3. When a Relationship Lacks the Support of Family and Friends
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah. Genesis 26:34-35 KJV
Isaacs and Rebecca, Esau’s parents must have warned him against marrying those ladies. They ended up being, as summarised in Scripture, a grief: these words tell a lot of stories. Granted, there are enemies of progress. But everybody around you can’t be hating you at once. So, if majority of the people you love and cherish, parents, siblings, relatives, true friends, are not supportive of that relationship, there must be something they are seeing that ‘love’ is not allowing you to see. You better wash your eyes and look again. Better still, step away from the relationship. If it is of God, God will make a way. But if you have to lie to your loved ones to keep the relationship going, then be rest assured, you are heading down a slippery slope. Run while you still can.
4. When Abuse is Detected
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 1 Peter 3:5-8 KJV
Abuse is never a part of a true Christian relationship and should never be tolerated, and this applies to all forms of relationship: be it in business, in the office, or in a courtship. Abuse is unbiblical, illegal and evil. The slightest sign of it should be resisted and if possible, reported to the appropriate authorities. Abuse in a courtship is a clear prophecy of abuse in the resulting marriage. Many a wife beater was once a girlfriend slapper! The telltale signs of future abuse will always be present, but most times, we choose to be blinded by ‘love’. Well guess what, love is no longer blind. So many books and resources on courtship abound that you no longer have an excuse for that blindness. For your own sake, deliver yourself from the possibility of an abusive marriage by walking away from an abusive courtship. Note that abuse comes in various forms;
– Verbal abuse: when someone repeatedly uses words to demean, frighten, or control you,
– Emotional abuse: can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased,
– Physical abuse: often starts with a push or a slap, and then becomes progressively worse over time, etc.
5. When There is No Real Connection
And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. Genesis 24:67 KJV
Yes. Connection, chemistry, strong feelings, butterflies in the stomach, etc, are all necessary ingredients to the soup of courtship and marriage. If you are having these feelings for someone else other than the person you are engaged to, you better work on yourself or walk away, because you are creating a breeding ground for infidelity in your heart. Yes, occasionally, even as a marriage person, you will feel some attraction to someone else. This is why you must always maintain your strong attraction to your partner as a vaccination. So, if the attraction is not there in the first place, what will you be maintaining?
Your feelings are important, but contrary to what most people think, they are not beyond your control. You can choose who you love. So “choose your love and love your choice” for the rest of your life.
6. When You are Heading in Different Directions
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:3 KJV.
Some relationships are like Jonah’s entry into the wrong boat. You will readily agree with me that it’s always common sense to board the vehicle going your direction. Believe me, relationships are vehicles that can either take you towards or away from your destiny.
So, think about your vision! The reason God sent you here in the first place! Your ability to fulfil destiny will be severely hindered or enhanced by the people you have around you, but most especially by your spouse. A yoke of oxen cannot plough in different directions. They must walk side by side. So if you want to live in the mountains and raise sheep, and she wants to live in tall city buildings and work in the Corporate world, or you want to travel the world and explore and he wants to settle in a city and build, it won’t be long before disaster comes knocking. Know yourself, know what God has called you into and be sure that this person you are courting will help not hinder that vision.
When all is said and done, Jesus Christ has the final say. Trust Him for divine direction in your life and relationships. Trust Him to lead you into destiny building partnerships. Follow His leading and you will not fail.