If TV sitcoms have taught us anything, it’s this: You should always dump a girl who has “man hands.” Or who wants to adopt two cats. Or who laughs like Janice Litman Goralnik (née Hosenstein).
On the other hand, if you’re a guy who prefers to pattern your dating life after Scripture instead of “Friends,” then you may be interested in this bit of trivia: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
Yeah guys, Philippians 2:3 can actually be the reason you break up with a girl. When it seems like a chore for you to fulfill this Scripture toward your girlfriend, it often means your subconscious is saying to you, “Dump her now!”
Consider these 5 behaviors…
1. You Catch Yourself Speaking Negatively About Her to Your Friends
I knew a guy—let’s call him Kevin—from my college small group. We could count on Kevin for two things: 1) he was always in a relationship, and 2) he was always complaining about his girlfriend.
What started off as innocent comments like, “Katie always has mounds of dirty laundry all over her dorm, and her socks could knock out Goliath!” quickly turned to more personal issues like, “Katie’s so needy. Does she even have any other friends?”
Kevin never intended to be mean; he wanted feel justified and to maybe let off a little steam. But the snippets he’d share with us weren’t glorifying God or respecting his girlfriend.
If you find yourself gossiping about the not-so-flattering habits of your girl, you’re not living out Philippians 2:3 toward her. Reconsider your heart and your relationship. It may be time to “dump her now.”
2. You’re Trying to Convert Her
Yes, your girlfriend’s kindness and generosity may be on the same level as Mother Teresa’s. Sure, her beauty might make Song of Solomon seem like a banana slug. But under no circumstance should you be trying to use dating as a missionary strategy.
First of all, “boyfriend” and “evangelist” have never been synonyms. These job titles have two different sets of priorities! You can’t be her Jim Halpert and her Billy Graham—those men would have very different expectations of their relationships! The best thing you can do is put Jesus first in your life, find a woman who puts Jesus first in her life, and then let your relationship fall into place.
Still thinking about being your girlfriend’s missionary? Consider this: you’re putting yourself in a position of power over her. If she comes to accept Christ, she may have a difficult time separating you from God. If you think you can fill God’s role in her life, then you have greater things to work through, buddy.
If your motivation for dating a girl is to “save her soul,” or you want to save her soul so you can date her, then your relationship is little more than selfish ambition. Take the hint from Philippians 2:3, and “dump her now.”
3. You Don’t Really Miss Her When She’s Not Around
Guys, this one hits me straight in the heart. I’ve been in this relationship! I was that lonely girlfriend. Here’s what I’m talking about:
I once left town for an entire week and received only three texts from my boyfriend. THREE TEXTS! In an entire week! To make it worse, the texts were just short replies to the texts I sent hours earlier.
Sure, it might seem harmless to go MIA between your dates. At least you’re making the time to take her out, right? Wrong! You’re giving your girlfriend love and attention one day and ignoring her the next. That kind of relationship hide-and-seek devalues your girlfriend… and kind of make you a jerk in the process.
Philippians 2:3 advises, “In humility value others”—it doesn’t say, “In her absence you can be a part-time boyfriend.” So if valuing her seems a chore when she’s gone, well, it’s probably time to dump her now. Trust me, you’ll both be happier.
4. You’re Avoiding the Calendar… or You’re Calendar-Obsessed
The signs are there: One of you is counting the days until you get engaged; the other is counting the hours until Netflix releases season two of “Stranger Things.” You and your S.O. are on different relationship timelines!
It’s like the expression says, “Falling for the right person at the wrong time is the same as falling for the wrong person.” That may be hard to hear, but relationship timing is important! There’s nothing wrong with the schedule you’re on. It’s unhealthy to rush into marriage when you’re not ready… but you need to consider your girlfriend’s timeline, too.
Do you want to get married and she’s dragging her feet? Does she have a “thing for the ring,” and you’re just not ready for that kind of lifetime commitment? Both those situations present problems. In the first, you’re hoping she’ll fulfill one of your selfish ambitions (Beautiful wife! Sex! Happily ever after!) In the second, you’re living out vain conceit (She likes me more than I like her—I must be something special!)
Behaviors and attitudes regarding your dating timeline reveal a lot about your relationship. If you’re avoiding the calendar, or calendar-obsessed—and she’s not—you may be falling short of the Philippians 2:3 standard. Your calendar may be telling you it’s time to “dump her now.”
5. You’re Changing Yourself to be More of What She Wants and Less of Who You Are
We’ve all witnessed it firsthand: Your friend starts dating a new girl. Day by day, he becomes just a little more like her. And then one Saturday he’s traded his Ohio State jersey for some sturdy boat shoes. He ditches the big game for brunch and shopping… two weeks in a row! That girl has turned your friend into a creepy male version of herself.
“But wait! Isn’t this selflessness exactly what Philippians 2:3 talks about? ‘Rather in humility value others above yourselves.’ See it’s right there!”
Ah, you poor man. You misunderstand both your girlfriend and your Bible. Philippians 2:3 says to “value others,” not “change your personality so she’ll like you more and then maybe she won’t dump you and you won’t be a lonely, discarded shell of a man for the rest of your life.”
You see what I’m getting at, don’t you?
If your dating relationship requires a personality change, that’s a sign that one or both of you is not valuing the other. Instead, you’re letting your own selfish ambition or vain conceit dictate your dating life For instance, “If I change, maybe she’ll like me more” or, “I’ll change myself into a guy who’s good enough to get this kind of girl.”
This kind of behavior is just unhealthy. It’s unfair to you—and to her! She deserves to love the real you, not the person you’re pretending to be. Do yourself, and your girlfriend, a favor and “dump her now.”
Remember: Philippians 2:3 calls you to be a better man.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves.”
A Prayer for the Single Man
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for calling me to a higher standard as a man. Help me to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of (my) mind” (Romans 12:2). I know that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17) and I am committed to waiting for your perfect gift. As I wait, I pray for the ability to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). I’m so relieved that you’re a God that knows the plans you have for me, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give (me) a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Amen!
Lindsey VanSparrentak is a video marketing pro in Colorado. Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at PopFam.com.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 6, 2017