God could have stopped you from falling in love with that friend who didn’t love you back. So why didn’t he? Here are possible reasons to consider.
1. To Teach You that Love Is Always a Good Choice Even When Someone Doesn’t Love You Back
To feel anything, you must be willing to feel everything. You don’t get to choose which part of life you want to experience, like creating a playlist of your favorite songs. No, if you want to hear the songs of life you love, you also have to be willing to expose yourself to the songs in life you don’t like. If you want to find true love one day, you have to be willing to first experience false forms of love that don’t end the way you had hoped.
I’m not saying your love for this friend was false. I’m just saying that if you had romantic love for this person but they did not have romantic love for you, this was not the true love relationship your heart is searching for. But the fact that you were willing to risk getting hurt to find this true love is a good sign you probably will find it one day. The ones who give up and say “The pain is not worth the prize” are the ones who will never find true love. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
To stop your heart from loving others would require you to kill your heart. Never kill your heart (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Even when it doesn’t go the way you had hoped, choosing to try to find the love of your life was still the right choice.
It’s a hard thing to find the love of your life (Proverbs 31:10). But when you go through all the painful relationship experiences and then you finally meet the person God has for you, you will realize all the pain was worth it (Proverbs 31:29).
2. To Teach You Emotional Boundaries with the Opposite Sex
Now we need to balance out what we just talked about in point 1. While love will always require risk and while the process of finding your future spouse is often a painful one, we should still do what we can to avoid needlessly harming ourselves (Proverbs 4:23). There are painful things we will have to go through to find the one God has for us. But there are other painful things we can avoid by being wise and still find the one God has for us.
One source of pain that can be avoided is the pain that occurs when two single people connect too deeply emotionally even though one of them fully knows they will never be anything more than friends with this other person. I’m not against male to female friendships for Christian singles. However, I do believe in most cases romantic feelings usually start to form. If the feelings are mutual, this is great because friendship can be a wonderful foundation for romance. But if the feelings are not mutual, this can be a very painful and confusing experience to go through.
Therefore, Christian singles need wisdom in creating healthy boundaries with friends from the opposite sex (1 Timothy 5:2). Boundaries are not meant to be immovable walls. Boundaries should be adjustable depending on the evidence present. Don’t treat everyone the same. If you like a mature Christian and they seem to like you, open up more and more to them as you see more and more good fruit in their life and in your connection with them. But if this person is just interested in emotionally taking from you without committing, then keep your boundaries strong and avoid connecting deeply unless they are willing to commit more than friendship.
3. To Help You Not Waste Your Time with Someone He Knew Wasn’t for You
Too many Christian singles settle for friendship with someone because they want to date this person but they fear the feelings are not mutual; thus, they cling to the friendship because they would rather have that than nothing at all. I think this is a mistake.
Why? Because deep down you are not looking for a great friend from the opposite sex. You are looking for a spouse (if God has given you this desire for marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:7). And while it might be sad to lose a friend, it would be sadder for you to cling to a friendship that will never be anything more and then in the process you miss actually getting married because you settled for someone’s breadcrumbs.
If you know you like a friend as more than a friend, it’s better to just be honest and go for it eventually. Even if you get rejected and the friendship changes because you revealed your feelings, this is much better than wasting your time hoping for something that is never going to happen. At least now you can focus on moving forward, healing, and finding the person God does have for you.
4. To Cause You Pain that Will Be Used to Mature You Faster and Thus Increase the Speed in Which You Are Ready to Marry the One He Does Have for You
God doesn’t treat our pain with a casual, carefree attitude. When our hearts our grieved, Jesus grieves with us (John 11:35). However, this doesn’t mean God is willing to spare us of pain if he knows that pain will actually increase our maturity and pleasure in the future. As Hebrews 12:7 and 11 (NIV) explains:
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? . . . No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Allow yourself to be trained by the pain God has allowed to occur in your life. Who knows? This pain may be an important step forward on the path towards the marriage God does have for you one day.