by Katie Neal
“Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love now and again. It is something to think of and gives her a sort of distinction among her friends.”
– Mr. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Thank you, my dear Mr. Bennet. We’ll deal with you later.
First some backstory. As a Christian girl, I have read so many articles and books about singleness and dating. And I assure you, plenty on marriage.
But now, I think it’s time someone wrote an article on the “almost” relationship.
And since no one else volunteered, I thought I’d go first. So here we are!
You know what I am talking about when I say “almost” relationship, don’t you? Perhaps you’ve even experienced one (if you haven’t yet, you may one day!).
The “almost” relationship is one where your friendship/relationship with that guy seems literally to have everything going for it…until it doesn’t.
At first, you agree on so much! You have so much in common! You share eye-to-eye Biblical convictions and a mutual love for sushi and Frank Sinatra. Not to mention you think he’s cute, and he tells you you’re gorgeous. One week you are thanking God for finally bringing along the right man. Cue “At Last” by Etta James.
But the next week you are crying your eyes out because Mr. Wonderful changed his mind about you, is now courting some other girl, or unexpected circumstances sweep in making you realize it just isn’t going to work. In an instant, your heart goes from fluttering butterflies to raw ache, and you start to wish God had never invented emotions.
Honey, I have been there. More than once.
An “almost” is a hard disappointment, and it causes you to ask questions of yourself and God in a way that is different from any other experience.
Accept that. Admit you’re hurt, give yourself some grace, and let yourself cry. Then…
1. Preach truth to yourself.
The best way to preach truth to myself is by saying it aloud to someone else. I have sobbed on the phone with the ones who love me the most (thank you, Mom and Daddy!), yet spoken truth over myself aloud and thereby ended the conversation excited about the future. Remind yourself of God’s love, great grace, and sovereign plan. Perhaps most reassuringly, remember that God really does have something better coming down the road; that’s not pie-in-the-sky optimistic thinking. That’s believing and banking on the promised good of Romans 8:28.
Better almost certainly won’t make an appearance the week after a break-up; if it did, you wouldn’t appreciate it. So give yourself some time and get excited about what that better turns out to be. It may be a man; it may be a new mission. But it’s going to be good. Most importantly, remember that what you know and believe is different from what you feel. You may not feel these truths right now, but you can know it is all still true. I promise.
2. Pray Scripture.
You don’t necessarily need to pray that you’ll get over him or that the relationship will work out after all. God may do one or the other; and that’s for Him to decide. Lamentations 3:25 says, “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him” (NASB).
My personal pleas in the wake of an “almost” relationship gravitate toward verse 32 in that same passage, “For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.” I also love Ephesians 3:20, which promises that God is “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (NASB).
3. Find your “reason” for singleness.
Natasha Metzler has inspired me with this one in her delightful book Emma and the Reasons. No matter how the “almost” relationship ended, don’t be a victim. Defy Mr. Bennet’s description of the jilted female and don’t let disappointment define you among your friends. Moping after a breakup has been a lady’s natural default for centuries because it’s just too easy. Don’t do easy.
Instead, see your new freedom as an opportunity to grow yourself and invest more in others. Go on that mission trip. Take that new job. Lead that ladies’ Bible study. Be the valiant, attractive girl who keeps her chin up, rising above rejection and hurt to seek out God’s will and direction in her life. Find your reason. It’s time to sparkle.
4. Remember, as a wise, kind pastor once told me, “Time is your friend.”
That quote has rung true over and over again in my life.
- Time heals.
- Time brings maturity.
- Time brings clarity to you and to Mr. Almost.
Given enough time beyond the initial headiness, you sometimes see the true make of a man (and vice versa!). See if the initial shine fades. You might be surprised at what God shows you in time.
Friend, we serve a trustworthy God. “Almost” relationships may tempt you to believe differently; but if you are truly seeking to honor Him, you must cling to the truth that He is indeed faithful.
I won’t sugarcoat the pain an “almost” can bring, because I know from experience it is not fun. But I also believe that nothing, not even a broken heart, can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39).
So, Friend, leave your “almost” in the hands of the One Who makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Eternally saved by grace and blessed beyond measure, you will find me seeking to “smile at the future.” I call the South “home,” love Jane Austen, and blog occasionally at French Vanilla Creamer
Photography: JenniMarie Photography