The Dating Dilemma: Good Enough or Best?

The following is by written by a real woman who has been corresponding with me since reading my book, "The Perfect Fit" in November. While dating a good man for 4 1/2 years, she still lacked peace about moving into marriage. Read the following to find out how her inspirational journey is taking her from "good enough" to "best." I hope you find this encouraging in your singles journey!

November 12, 2006

I am praying that God will give me clarity and let me hear His voice. I am struggling with whether I should marry my fiancé whom I have dated for 4-1/2 years. I broke off the engagement twice (I am ashamed to say), and just 2 weeks ago I begged him to take me back, telling him I would not change my mind and that I wanted him forever.

My turmoil, doubt, and questions in the past have been overwhelming about this relationship. I question whether it is my own past issues (really bad first marriage) that prevent me from feeling that the marriage is right, but my gut tells me it is partially fear, as well as missing him, that is sending me back to him. He is a very good Christian man who loves sacrificially, but I just don't seem to have the "feelings" or the certainty about being happy if I were married to him. (I question whether these are my own "hang ups" or if they are feelings from God about the relationship).

December 2, 2006

Well I finished your book the weekend I got it, and I loved it! Thank you so much for getting it to me before you left. I am grateful that you wrote this book and that I found it…no doubt I was led to you by God. So many things you said in your book spoke to me. I have many underlines and exclamation marks in the book. The 2 things that hit me most were the commitment to purity and the hope for romance.

If you remember my story, I had been with my boyfriend for 4-1/2 years, and had broken off our engagement twice. After 3 months of being apart, I decided a month ago, based on a fear reaction, that I wanted to get back with him and that I would commit to marrying him. Of course he was tentative but said if I could show him my sincerity and commitment, and if we could get married within a couple months, he would agree to be together.

After reading your book, I talked with him about being convicted by it and having such a deep desire to be pleasing to God and to be obedient to His will. I told him about the purity before marriage and how I wanted to do this as a way to love God and have him bless our relationship. Even though after getting back together this time we had agreed not to go "all the way," we did everything but! I have such a deep desire right now to be close to God and to seek Him out and to please him (getting to this place has been a real journey!!), and I wanted us to be on the same page with that.

Well, he saw my discussion of the physical aspect of our relationship as another way for me to "pull back" from the relationship. My discussion of your book was met with negativity and suspicion. My heart felt broken that he didn't want to be on the same page as me, and I saw myself letting go of my own convictions so I could appease him.

Now in all fairness to him, I know he was tired of my indecision about the relationship so he was to the point where all he cared about (in my opinion) was getting married. Well things kind of went downhill from that evening on, and I had a nagging inside me that we really were not right for each other. Even though he is a God-loving, faithful man of God, I think maybe too much bad history with us had made him pretty closed minded to things our relationship "needed." I kept telling him that I wanted US to be really good before we married, and he kept saying once we got married then he could focus on working on us. That is backward to me, and while I understand his reasons for saying that (me backing out twice before), I couldn't be at peace with it.

We said good-bye to each other last Tuesday night, and now I must put my love and focus on God, which is actually what I really desire to do anyway. I pray that I stay clear in my desire and don't start second-guessing myself about the decision on the relationship AGAIN.

December 17, 2006

[Now I see that] while maybe Chad was a "good choice," he really wasn't the "best" choice for me. And that by giving him up to follow Christ, He will bless me. That was so reassuring to hear, Julie, and I will remember those words if doubts try to creep in. Amazingly, I am doing so unbelievably well since the breakup. I have felt totally at peace with the decision (unlike before), and I am eternally grateful to God for giving me that peace! My prayer is that I stay in this peace and don't slip back into the second-guessing mode. I am finding so much joy in Christ lately, and I know the Holy Spirit is giving me a real desire to grow in, learn about, and love God. I couldn't be happier about that!

December 31, 2006

There are times when doubt creeps in, especially when I see how much he loves me and wants me (he sent me a couple emails voicing this since the breakup). It is so tempting to succumb to that pursuit or the possibility of us being together. But what I have to hold on to is the fact that when we were together, I had so much unease and turmoil, and I did not feel like I REALLY loved him. I do KNOW he is not the one for me, and I continue to pray that God will keep me focused on His plan for my life. When I start to wonder if it is ME that just has a problem with intimacy or commitment and I am throwing away something wonderful (that is what Chad tells me), I have to believe that those thoughts are Satan trying to confuse me.

I had such a revelation today as I left work. I got this momentary feeling of dread in my chest that I was going to be spending New Year's Eve without a "Love" and I knew from a friend that Chad was on Match.com pursuing love interests and was probably spending New Year's with someone. The temporary feeling I had was horrible, but then the words that came into my head (absolutely from God!) were that it was OK to go home and do the many things I had to do to get caught up at home and with the things I have been putting off, because at this time in my life I was "PREPARING." Like I should go ahead and do the things that I had wanted to do but never had the time to do so I could be "ready" for what God would be bringing me. Now I don't know if that plan that God has is another man or if it is something else he wants me to do, but it was an absolutely exhilarating feeling. I felt so much joy and excitement, it was so cool! So I have to believe that I would not be getting those messages and feelings if I was making a mistake.

I absolutely LOVE your advice about leaning on God and falling in love with Him as my husband. This will definitely be a time of growing more in love with Him! I found the reading schedule of the One Year Bible online, and I really do need to do this. I have attempted one year reading plans before with no success. I will get there though!!!

January 15, 2007

I have been doing so good lately, Julie, and I am just basking in the joy that God is blessing me with. Not to say that I don't have my moments, but for the most part He is taking such good care of me, and I am focusing on seeking God and putting Him first in my life right now. I am just hungry for Him, and want to spend time reading and growing close to Him. I bought the One Year Bible, and I am focusing on making this a part of my every day. I ha
ve not read the entire New Testament let alone the entire bible. I really want to do this and I am asking God to help me in my commitment and to speak to me in my readings.

The more time I am away from Chad, the easier it becomes, and the more I see how much the relationship was lacking. It is so hard to see this clearly when you are IN it!! I always wanted more in our relationship, but I thought my expectations were just too high or that I was just too picky. But now that some time has passed and emotions are settling down, I am experiencing freedom, joy and peace that had previously been suppressed inside me due to my confusion about the relationship and the lack of certainty that Chad was the one God had chosen for me.

I know without a doubt that if Chad had been the one for me, I would certainly not be feeling this joy and peace and excitement for the future that I am feeling now! I'm excited about the friendships I am making (that I wouldn't have had time for when we were together), the growing in relationship with God and other Christians, and the hope for a brighter future. I seriously did not have that excitement and hope for the future when I thought about us being married. YIKES…..that seems pretty stupid of me, doesn't it? But, again, I just kept thinking it was "me" and that I just had fears about commitment, yadda yadda.

January 31, 2007

It's been 2-1/2 months since our breakup, and the main thing that I have been experiencing is peace. The more time that passes, the clearer things become to me. I do see that our relationship was not bringing me joy and was not fulfilling the hopes and dreams I had for a relationship. I see more than ever the drain that the confusion about the relationship was having on me. I couldn't move forward in life! I was simply treading water and wasting both of our time!

Why is it so hard to see these things while we're IN the relationship? Although, in reality, I think we DO see it but we CHOOSE to ignore it. In other words, we CHOOSE to ignore the better offer God has for us in exchange for something familiar because we are afraid to trust God for something better.

Like I said before…what made it SO HARD to leave the relationship was that Chad was such a GOOD man and he loved me unconditionally. I knew he would treat me well, be faithful to me, etc. He had all these good qualities, but unfortunately I couldn't make him be the right one for ME!

I won't say that I don't ever have times when I miss having a man there for me and someone to love me, but God is blessing me with a passion to grow close to Him and He is filling me with hope and excitement for the future, which is something I didn't have before. I see other singles struggling with breaking free from relationships that they KNOW are not right or good for them, and I just wish I could fast forward time for them so they could see that they really will be all right and they really will be happier by NOT SETTLING just so they can be with someone.

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