I’m Dating God instead of You!

by Jon Acuff

I’m not sure if this is in a book somewhere, but it’s widely known that the easiest way to get out of a Christian dating relationship is to throw the God Card. I think there are probably times when this is a legitimate reason to break up, when God says, “Don’t date Mark.” But sometimes we throw God under the bus when we do this. Instead of saying “I would like to date people not named you” we put the blame on God and say things like “I need to spend more time with God right now and not date.” 


Big deal, right? There are probably a million blogs from a million scorned people about the concept of dating God instead of me. But I don’t think a lot of people have analyzed how to counteract this move. How to prepare a defense against getting dumped after a retreat. How to buy yourself some time to work on the relationship when someone misinterprets a Samford University Convocation minister’s call to the altar as a chance to lay down your relationship for God. Hypothetically speaking.


At the close of the article, I will also give you a list of Bible verses that will tell you whether you are ready for a real relationship.


So I decided to break down a God-flavored breakup. I used a girl dumping a guy as an example, but it can go both ways. Here is what commonly happens when someone says they want to date God instead of you and how you can respond:


1. “We need to talk”

What this means:Nothing good is going to come of this. When someone says this, they are never preparing to tell you compliments or praise your Frisbee skills. They are preparing to dump you.

How to respond:
Tell her, “I agree. There’s a lot on my heart that I want to discuss with you.” If you say this, you’ll completely confuse her. I promise. Part of the reason she is dumping you is probably because you’re not good at sharing your heart. She’s expecting you to nervously say, “What do we need to talk about?” By admitting there are issues and essentially saying, “I have my own secret things I want to talk about,” you completely level the playing field.


2. “Let’s meet at Starbucks.”

What this means:She wants to dump you in public so that there will be roughly 97% less man tears involved. You might cry, you might get upset, but no one wants to do that in front of a Starbucks barrista.

How to respond:
Keep this simple. Just say, “I would love to meet at our Starbucks.” She wants to meet on neutral territory. Don’t let that happen. Personalize it.


3. “I think we’ve grown apart.”

What this means:She has grown. You have devolved into some sort of potato chip-eating, XBOX-playing, non stop texting orangutan.

How to respond:
Tell her, “Thank you for noticing that I have grown. I disagree that it means we’re further away from each other but I have worked hard to grow. I appreciate your words.” She feels like you have changed in a negative way but is disguising it under the term “grown apart.” Call her bluff and thank her for the compliment she didn’t give you.


4. “God told me to end this relationship.”

What this means:If God really told her that, there’s not much you can do unless you think you can battle the Savior of the planet for a dating relationship. But if she’s just using the Christian Dating Escape Clause, you can respond.

How to respond:
Say, “Isn’t that the beautiful mystery of God? He told me the opposite thing. But then I remember that in the Bible we are told to be like children in our faith but also to put aside childish things. Who can fathom the seemingly opposite wonders of His word?” Go biblical. She just threw the God card and the last thing she is expecting is for you to agree. Plus, using the Bible is going to make you look extra holy.


5. “We want different things.”

What this means:She wants to date other people. You want to date her. Those are different things.

How to respond:
You’re going to have to go a little Garth Brooks in this situation. Say something like, “Do we want different things? I want love. I want to laugh. I want to serve someone and hold someone and know that the greatest parts of me were meant to bring out the greatest parts of her.” But if you can’t say that without giggling, just ask her to define what she wants. Don’t let some vague blanket statement suffocate your relationship.


6. “I don’t feel the things I used to feel.”

What this means:Her emotional high has worn off. The initial spark has faded a little. In a good relationship this is where you get to see what it is really made of. In a bad relationship, it’s time to update your eharmony profile.

How to respond:
Say what a counselor would say, “Feelings lie. There are moments when I rise in the morning and don’t ‘feel’ like worshipping God. But in my heart, I make that decision. I feel different too. But love is not a feeling. It is a commitment.”


7. “I think I need to give this relationship up to God.”

What this means:As mentioned before, sometimes when a retreat speaker tells the crowd to lay down something at the foot of the cross, your relationship is the first thing she will think of. So she decides to sacrifice it.

How to respond:
Say, “I want to give it up too. I want to turn in the pain and the struggles and the hurt of our old relationship. I want to mourn the time we’ve lost and celebrate the time we’ll gain by allowing God to grow a new relationship. We will rise from the ashes like a phoenix or a worship eagle.” OK, you probably shouldn’t say that last sentence, but you get the point. Agreeing with someone is sometimes the best way to end an argument.

Someone wise once told me, “Relationships aren’t complicated. Every one ends in one of two ways. You get married or you break up.” That’s true and some dating relationships need to end. But for the ones that have just hit a snag, for the ones that might be great if you can just get through a bumpy patch, print out this list and try to memorize it. Then invite me to your wedding a few years later. I’ll read “love is patient.”

Here are some authentic questions from Perry Noble to ask when you are ready for a relationship:

#1 – Is it God’s time?  Proverbs 24:27 

#2 – Do you want to get married more than you want to walk with Jesus!  I John 5:21

#3 – Do you struggle with bitterness?  Ephesians 4:31

#4 – Are you walking in purity?  I Thessalonians 4:3 

#5 – Are you trying too hard?  Proverbs 18:22 

#6 – Are you finding your identity in who you date more than you are in a relationship with Jesus? Ephesians 2:10

#7 – Are you willing to compromise your values in order to go out with someone!  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ then compromise can never be a consideration!!! Matthew 5:48

#8 – Are your finances God-honoring? Proverbs 22:7

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