Hi friends! Please allow me to preface to you before you jump to conclusions about this post, please read until the end. The very end. If you don’t, you might misunderstand my intentions. The reason I am writing this post is to give some insight into the world of dating, heartbreak, and a way to prevent this (I sound like a parent right now, bear with me).
First off, relationships are fun! There’s a rush of emotion in the beginning. “Do they really like me?” “They texted me first…” “I can’t stop smiling!” And we get caught up in a swell of butterflies.
But what if our affections end up with the “bad” boys? Or “those” girls? The ones we know we aren’t “supposed” to date. The ones our parents, mentors, and caring friends may not be excited for.
But then we reason. “They said they would change for me.” “I can bring them to church.” “I can change him…” “She’s so broken, I can save her…” (okay, Superman).
First off, I’m not saying you can’t! It’s quite remarkable what a good influence will be for someone. One friend can change someone’s life! But with the depth of helping someone change their personal beliefs, especially if you find them attractive, be mindful of the potential heartbreak you will encounter.
I am warning you of an easy place to be if you don’t stop and evaluate your life. You may end up on your own episode of Fixer Upper: dating edition (see what I did there?).
Except this time, there is a deeper significance to change and it doesn’t happen by nails or hammer.
One way to know if your relationship is potentially unhealthy is if large part of your dating life is trying to “change them” or “help” them in their Christian walk, life choices, and so on. Now, we can all learn from each other! This is the beauty of human interaction and healthy conversation. But if the person you are with wasn’t planning on changing until they wanted to date you, there is definitely a red flag.
Sure, there are exceptions to the rule! I am by no means saying this as a universal statement. 9 times out of 10, however, if you’re dating a “fixer upper” with the intentions of making them into someone they don’t actually want to be, you’ll likely be disappointed and you’re going to get hurt. They have to WANT to change, regardless of your being in the picture or not. I personally believe it’s probably better for them to make these changes absent from a dating relationship, especially as a teenager or young adult. When emotions are high and a guy or girl is willing to show you how they’ve “changed” in order to make YOU happy you’re not doing them any favors.
The best way to help someone is to be their friend, unless you’ve already crossed the dating line, then…perhaps refer them to someone who can really walk with them through this time.
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…” Ephesians 4:15
You’ll begin to know there’s a difference in someone by who they are when they’re not trying to impress you (as flattering as it may be) or anyone else. Your distance protects you from the disappointment of their choices (if they happen to be making not-so-wise life choices). We feel for them, but as a friend/girlfriend/boyfriend it’s easier to help someone who wants to be helped than it is to manipulate (eek) each other into thinking you’re happy. That may sound harsh, but your influence can greatly affect someone by being their friend, their TRUE friend, without ulterior motives.
What does this look like? Pray for them. Ask them if you can talk to them and do (about living with purpose and without compromise). Ultimately, point them to Jesus. Show them LOVE, even if they disappoint you by referring to their old ways. At the end of the day, their choices are theirs and they’re probably not trying to hurt anyone. They’re experiencing inner turmoil. No matter what is going on inside someone, there is always hope in Jesus. He’s never going to give up on them and He won’t give up on you either (can I get an Amen). Being a friend to someone during a time of transition can be tough, to be honest. Let God guide you in words to say to them if the opportunity is there. Be available to help and leave judgment at home.
Helping someone may look more like friendship than courtship. Dating a fixer upper can be dangerous emotionally and spiritually. Your influence is strong, yet at the end of the day, people make their own choices. God has the best person for you.