How Do You Move on from a Broken Engagement?
- Kris Swiatocho, Cliff Young
- 2016 18 Feb
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
I was recently engaged and things fell apart pretty harshly several months ago. We went our separate ways after all the dust settled. There were a lot of things wrong, but also a lot of things right, but we were both pretty selfish in the original go-around, hence it fell apart. In the aftermath, I started attending a new church and dove head-in to everything there. Singles ministry, community, service, etc... I'm blown away when I look back at the road I've been traveling. I almost don't recognize myself.
She fell out of relation with her church, and her relationship with God is now strained. In the last week, we started talking again and I took a huge risk by opening up about all of my faults and exposing my heart and convictions of my selfish acts during our relationship. Naturally she's hesitant to start anything and stated that she only wants to be friends. I'm not sure being "just friends" is a good idea for me emotionally considering everything we had in the past and with how much I've opened up with her over the course of the entire relationship. Do I proceed slowly and let her know that I will gladly be her friend if it's working towards a relationship in which the foundation is built on faith in God and his plan and working towards marriage, or should I walk away?
I have often encouraged others (in an effort to remind myself) to take a moment and step back from every circumstance – good, bad and ugly, in order to gain a different perspective on the situation. Oftentimes you will find it necessary to humble yourself and be grateful in the good, acknowledge things could have been worse in the bad, and recognize the role or hand you played in the ugly.
I applaud you for the steps you have taken since your breakup. When we begin to step out of our box, we truly start to discover and understand who God created us to be and are able to see a “new creation” in the process. Our life’s journey does not end when we find the perfect job, residence, calling or even significant other, but rather they help to further it.
You’ve been able to heal, confess and forgive, and you may even be ready to rekindle the “right” parts of your relationship, and that’s all great, however try not to pressure your former fiancé to be at the same place.
We all go through our personal journey (of healing and growing) at different speeds. Your former fiancé probably needs more time to process the hurt and loss of your relationship, along with the restoration of hers with the Lord. In addition, she may just want to see if this new you is for real.
You’ve said your peace. Continue to do what you’ve been doing which brought you to this place and invite her to join you in some of your new activities. Allow her some time to work through whatever she needs to (apart from you as you have done), and give her some space to view and experience “you” for the man you have are becoming.
Let God work in her (and you) in His time, not yours.
Well, let me first congratulate you on stopping things in your relationship. Most couples once they are engaged often feel pressured to be married. Once dresses and rings are bought and venues secured, people will often go forward even when they sense God telling them to wait. There are some great resources on my website, www.TheSinglesNetwork.org, for couples who are dating but not engaged. These resources can help with some hard decisions before the engagement.
I am also glad to know you are able to talk with each other, even sharing some of your feelings and mistakes. However, your ex-fiancé has chosen not follow God right now. For whatever reason, her foundation was not strong enough to weather the storm of your broken relationship or other life issues. While we can all go through tough times, testing our faith, having doubts, etc. the fact she has fallen away should indicate to you that she is not ready to be your girlfriend much less a wife.
You shared your heart and your mistakes, based on your awareness of Christ in your life now. But for someone who wants very little to do with God, you represent what she is not looking for. So I don’t think she would be interested in pursuing any friendship with those strings attached—that is working towards marriage.
I think your best bet is to be her friend without any strings attached. Allow her to see how Christ has changed you. Allow her to see that Christ can do the same for her. Be her friend while she grows in the Lord. Then, as time goes on, allow the Lord to draw you both back together if it’s His will.
Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of four books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
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