Using God As an Excuse
Q. My boyfriend is a wonderful Christian, but in the seven months we've been dating, I feel like maybe my faith has been on the back burner. How do I figure out what's going on? Do you think God wants me to break up with my boyfriend?
A. I'm going to answer the last part of your question first. I think the real question you need to ask is not "Does God want me to break up with my boyfriend?" but "Do I want to break up with my boyfriend?"
Here's why: It's easy to use God as an excuse for ending—or starting—a relationship when in truth, we are just doing what we want to do. So if you want to break up with your boyfriend, then break up. Just don't blame God for it. If you break up with him, own your feelings and take responsibility for your decision.
Now for the first part of your question: I think what's going on is that you are having fun dating and that you've been focused on that. That's not necessarily a bad thing—healthy, strong relationships are a gift from God. In fact, if you work at it a bit, your relationship can actually strengthen your faith. Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (NIV). This verse isn't talking about dating, but about the way Christian friendships help us connect with God.
Since you and your boyfriend are both Christians, you can find all kinds of ways for your relationship to be something that draws each of you closer to God. You might want to read a book together, like Don't Date Naked (Tyndale), that's meant to help Christian teenagers develop godly dating relationships. Read a chapter during the week, then talk about it on your date that weekend. Or get involved in your youth group together, or go to church together, or pray together. Make faith the center of your relationship and you won't have to choose between your boyfriend and your spiritual life.
One more thing: If you are concerned that your faith is on the back burner because you and your boyfriend are letting the physical part of your relationship get out of control, talk to a woman you trust—maybe a youth leader or mentor—who can help you set good physical boundaries and keep you accountable.
Written by Carla Barnhill