Rejecting Love Gracefully

Rejecting Love Gracefully

by Elsje Zornes | August 1, 2014

Alright ladies, this is something we’ve all faced – to varying degrees – at some point in our lives, and many of us have banged our heads against the wall trying to figure out just how this should be done. Rejecting love is never easy, nor romantic. In fact, unwanted attention from some fellow is often a very delicate and difficult road to navigate; it is riddled with more potholes than a Kansas country road. Many young girls have wondered about just how to tell someone “no, thank you” while still preserving the dignity of the chap expressing interest. While there definitely is not a “ three easy steps” guide, and each situation needs to be  prayerfully evaluated, I do think there are some general guidelines that would help to make this sticky situation a little smoother. It ought to be a great comfort to us that our God has promised to give us wisdom and all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). And if life includes rejecting love, you can be confident that you will have all you need to walk through it in a way that protects purity and brings glory to Christ! 

Don’t Try To Comfort & Console

Girls have a God-given, built-in desire to care for and comfort someone in pain or need; we are nurturers by nature and thus, many girls feel a sense of responsibility for the heart that they’ve just broken. In very sincere and noble efforts to “make it better” they end up only opening the door for further heartache. This desire to bring some measure of comfort to the guy can be especially strong when he was a friend or someone that you were well acquainted with. When you take it upon yourself to console the young man, it often only leads to him thinking that there’s still hope for a relationship. Allow God to be the One who comforts and strengthens the gentleman through this experience. It’s not your job to make sure the guy is “okay” by sending him a host of friendly texts or leaving a batch of freshly baked cookies on his doorstep. Your well-meaning efforts to comfort, could very easily be read as subtle signs of interest. It is your job to give the guy the space to walk through this with an undistracted focus on Christ. The most valuable comfort you can offer, is to surrender the friendship to the Lord, and trust that He will mend, restore, and sanctify all that we place in His care.

Don’t Do It Alone

Proverbs 11:14 tells us that in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. A group of prayerfully selected teammates adds safety and wisdom to the process of turning someone down. By “teammates” I mean actual people that have a significant role and position in your life (i.e parents, mentors, older siblings, and so forth). Facebook and Twitter don’t count. It might be tempting to share the whole experience with the masses via social media, but in honor of discretion and the dignity of the young man, only share where and when it is profitable for everybody involved!

If a young man is worth his salt, he will seek to honor your dad’s position in your life, and not undermine it. It is always a good idea for a young man to seek the counsel of a young lady’s father first, before even expressing his desires to her. This keeps the girl’s heart protected and doesn’t place her in a vulnerable position should she wish to decline the young man. I feel like our culture has pushed parents to the side, deeming them too “old-school” and narrow-mined to be involved in our lives, let alone matters of the heart. Yet, as I’ve experienced in my own life, with age comes wisdom. Though your parents might not be as trendy as your peers, they have years of wisdom that your friends might lack.

Don’t Put It Off

The attention you get from a guy who has his eye on you, might tempt you to see just how long you can enjoy it, before things get really serious. In our world of self-focused femininity, it might be very affirming to our self-esteem to know that there’s someone out there that admires us, and will “like” every picture we post on Facebook, and thus we would delay rejecting someone out of fear of losing this admirer. Yet, a set-apart woman finds fulfillment and satisfaction in Christ alone, and not in the admiration and attention from young men. Don’t take the bait and delay making your intentions clear; it won’t get easier with time, and while the flattery may seem really nice, honesty is nicer. We are called to place others needs above our own, and to think of others as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-5). Putting off telling a guy that you don’t have reciprocal sentiments, for the simple and shallow pleasure of enjoying his attention, is placing your desires at the very top of the priority list. Remember that there is another person involved. A person with a heart, feelings, and emotions. Guys must never become mere avenues to a quick and easy self-esteem boost. We are called to protect and guard their hearts, just as much as they are called to stand in defense of ours.

Rejecting Love Gracefully  share facebook Rejecting Love Gracefully  share twitter Rejecting Love Gracefully  share pinterest

Don’t Send Mixed Signals

One of the attributes of a godly woman is her constancy of soul and demeanor. There’s never any guessing game with her, there’s no up-and-down and back-and-forth in her words and actions, and her emotions are guarded by steadiness and strength. If you are going to tell a guy that you are not interested in a romantic relationship, everything in your life needs to communicate that. Guys are easily confused when girls say one thing and do another. Now, giving someone the cold shoulder just to make sure he gets the message, is forgetting that a Christian’s love is not rude. However, participating in playful and flirtatious interactions with a young man you’ve rejected, sends the message that there might still be a chance at love, and will challenge his persistence. 

Do Trust in God’s Best

For many of us, it might feel like the romantic dimension of your life can be summed up by one disappointment after the other. It’s easy to throw in the towel on waiting on God for a future spouse, when all your waiting seems to be a series of one awkward situation after another in which you have to reject men you are not interested in. Remember that just as we ought to be a picture of Christ in our relationships, engagements and marriages, so we also ought to be pointing others to Christ in the way we deal with rejecting love.

God might ask you to say no to a man along the way. And it might be hurtful and your heart might ache. But He is doing it because He loves you and wants to give you His very best, and this one “no”, will only lead to a bigger and better “yes”.

Don’t allow discouragement and doubt any place in your heart. Keep trusting in the goodness of God, knowing that He makes all things beautiful in His time, in His way.

Do Be Kind:

Many of us would associate 1 Corinthians 13 as a chapter on the romantic kind of love. While it does provide those who are in romantic relationships and marriages some wonderful guidelines, singles are not excluded from its commands. When it says “love is kind”, it includes the love between fellow-non-romantically-involved-Christians. Being rude, insensitive, and unkind might seem like a great idea for getting the message through to a guy, but this attitude overlooks the fact that we are still called to showcase Christ-like kindness--even to the guy we are rejecting. As scripture says, “Let the law of kindness always be on your tongue,” and seek words that will build this man up, even in the midst of the awkwardness and heartache of rejection. Though this might not be the man you will marry, he will most likely become someone else’s husband eventually. Treat him the way you would want other women treating your future husband. 

Do Take it to the Lord in Prayer:

The old hymn says: “Oh, what joy we often forfeit, because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”. I know personally, I’ve forfeited joy many times when I’ve treated prayer as a sweet afterthought, instead of the priority in my life. We are told in Scripture, to not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer make our requests known to God. Soak the situation in prayer! When prayer is made the foundation God will give you the wisdom you need, the grace the young man needs, and bring beauty and joy to an otherwise difficult situation. 

Do Preserve the Guy’s Dignity

Girls, it takes a tremendous amount of courage for a young man to express interest in a woman. It’s not an easy step for a guy to take. I know I’m really glad the burden of initiating the relationship fell on my husband! Remember what a brave step it was for him, and honor that by preserving his dignity in and through the process of turning him down. A virtuous man will express his desires in a virtuous way, and if we are to be virtuous women, we need to do the same! Maintain dignity and honor in your choice of words and your actions around him and by choosing carefully what you share with other. Place the man’s dignity above your desire to share every little detail about the situation with your girlfriends over a non-fat-dairy-free vanilla soy latté. Protecting the dignity of men, or a specific man, is a skill that is as equally valuable for a single girl as it is for a married woman.

A list of dos and don’ts should never be your focus and, obviously, there will be fluke situations that might fall outside of all the categories, templates, and your ever-handy “How-To Guide To Relationships”. The “do” above all other “dos” is Christ first, always. Keep near to God and all earthly matters will grow strangely clear.