I once read a book where a young lady expressed her fear that the cherished friendship she had with a young man could be destroyed the moment the guy began to consider the idea of graduating the friendship to a relationship because she was not sure she wanted something more than friendship.
She literally pleaded with the guy, “Please don’t propose, I cherish our friendship, I don’t want anything to go wrong with it.” And yet, often, a relationship that grows out of a sincere, deep and down to earth friendship can be so beautiful, as though a match made in heaven.
But really, why should friendship end because of a failed attempt to graduate things to a relationship? My thought had always been, “but we were first friends and our friendship was most beautiful. If we can’t progress to the next level, we shouldn’t lose the level we’ve already reached. If we are unable to move forward, at least let’s not move backward.
But I guess there are a lot of factors that make the idea of friendship after a failed attempt for a relationship such a difficult idea for a lot of people. The first issue is the weight of rejection. Oh, no one loves to be rejected. Rejection usually tempts a low self esteem.
“Is it now that I’m not good enough? Is it that I’m not attractive? But people do say I’m attractive. Could it be that they are all deceiving me?”
Then next if care is not taken is some level of resentment.
“What does he even think he is? He is not even that fine himself.” “The girl is too proud self. And she will later regret that she rejected a man that is going to be very great. Later on when I become a very rich man and the head of a large company, she will come and ask for a job, and then she will be surprised to find me on the seat. That guy that she wants to follow cannot take her anywhere.”
You see, the thought processes I described above are the normal thought processes for a natural man; but we must reject them. They contradict the nature of Christ that we have received. How can you be wishing someone evil just to prove what point? Wish them well and pray that they’ll get to the top. When they are at the top, it will still be your friend (or your ex as the case may be) that is at the top. That history can never change.
And then by implication of their being at the top, you are close to the top yourself if you’ve maintained a warm relationship after the initial disappointment. That doesn’t mean you should also not plan to be at the top. You actually should. What it means is that you shouldn’t plan to be at the top out of a competitive spirit but because that itself is the vision that God has shown you about your future. In essence, you’ll be competing with your own vision and not anyone’s life.
Competition is the modern word for strife. See what the bible says about it. “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient…”
2 Timothy 2:24 KJV
But again, who told you that everyone is moved by the idea of being a celebrity’s wife or husband? The fact that you’ll be a celebrity is the very reason why some people rejected you. Some people don’t want to marry a celebrity that they’ll have to share with everyone. Some want a partner that is available and can be personified. He doesn’t need to have so much money. Let him just be OK and they are OK!
You need to also cultivate this next thought process. That someone rejected the idea of a relationship with you is not always because you aren’t a fantastic person. It could be because their eyes were never opened to see how fantastic you are. So the problem wasn’t you. But it may never be connected to even that at all. The issues that affect choice of a marriage partner are very complex and can be inexhaustible. It could be a wrong timing. They are just coming out of a toxic relationship and they want a break.
You may fall within a group the parents already disbarred (based on their own personal sentiments) and some people aren’t courageous enough to face their parents headlong. It could be that they already fell in love with someone else at a time they never knew you had any interest. Look, it could be several things that have nothing to do with the quality of your person. Just situate the reason for your rejection within any of the above possibilities in your mind and then you can escape the temptation of a low self esteem and the resentment that may possibly follow.
The truth is that there is actually no one like you in the whole wide world. And we must grow to that point where we have a self assurance of our worth regardless of what anyone thinks about it. We mustn’t give anyone that much power over us. I like to think that I am God’s own special person uniquely recreated in Christ Jesus for a specific assignment that no one else can share with me!!! Ephesians 2:10. I am so important to God and His eternal purpose. What about you?
If you can cultivate all the above thought processes, then friendship after a failed relationship is achievable (of course after you’ve healed) except for one other obstacle I can think of……….Premarital sexual involvement while the friendship or relationship lasted. But before I address that, let me address something else…
In a case where you were the one who did the rejection, to keep friendship, you have to be the one to do more of the reaching out to show your appreciation of their gift to humanity and the fact you appreciate the gift of their friendship. It’s more difficult for the other person to initiate this process. It’s easier for you.
Everyone has a gift or grace or special enablement. Extol those graces and enablement with your words at every opportunity. This way, you’ll also help them to heal from the rejection and to gain back their pride that may have been lost in the process.
Of course you won’t be calling or reaching out everyday but whenever occasion presents itself, seize it. On their birthdays, send your good wishes. When they are celebrating, celebrate with them. When they are mourning, mourn with them. Of course this relates primarily to someone you were friends with and you wanted to graduate things to a relationship without success or an ex that you had a sexually pure relationship with.
The context of an ex especially whom you had sexual relationship with in the past is totally different. In such a situation, maintaining friendship may not be healthy or advisable. Your partner may never be able to tolerate it. This is another reason why I will advise you to keep your premarital relationships pure. Don’t even as little as kiss. Not to talk of touch. Abomination!!!
Or else you may never be able to keep those friendships especially when your partner arrives. Your partner may never agree to be incorporated into or tolerate a friendship with a former friend that you’ve been sexually involved with in the past no matter how little you claim the sexual involvement was.
This is one of the reasons why I am thankful to God for helping me to keep the rule of “not even kissing” in all my previous relationships. I didn’t keep it in one which preceded the resolution actually and that was 10 years ago. Every other relationship after then, I kept it.
Today, I and some of those people remain close friends and our partners have no reservations at all. This person is my ex but we didn’t even as little as share a kiss throughout the relationship. We didn’t end up marrying but we are still friends.
I can call her and ask to speak to the husband. The husband knows me well and even teases his wife with me from time to time. The husband can say something like, “your boyfriend has finally abandoned you. He hasn’t called in months.” Can you imagine that? She will report that to me and we’ll laugh about it.
And there is no time we are speaking that we are not talking about our individual partners and how we feel so lucky to have them.
If I try reaching out without success – the phones were not being picked, I will call the husband to ask after my friend.
Once during the Covid-19 lockdown when we were all just spending without earning, I needed money urgently and asked if she could give me a loan and she spoke to her husband to send the money. It was the husband who sent the money from his personal account. How many of you can relate in that way with an ex’s spouse?
If I had misbehaved with that sister, I would have lost such a precious friendship. There would have been no way the husband could have ever permitted her to be friends with me.
Thank God some useless five minutes of pleasure didn’t rob me of a precious gift that I could share an entire life time benefiting from in several ways. Of course, it’s never a one way benefit. We’ve been very useful to each other.
So therefore, retaining friendship with even an ex is possible even after you’re married if you had kept the relationship pure.
I hope this is speaking to someone. Don’t lose a precious lifetime gift because of a nonsense kiss. Is that what you were born for? You sure can do without it.
But why are we so concerned about friendship? Is it a must for people to be friends after a failed attempt to graduate their friendship to a relationship or after a break-up? No, it is not a must. But I wish that you can grow to begin to see everyone that God lined your life’s path with as assets and not disposables. Life can be lonely if done all alone. The more the loyal friends your life is surrounded with, the sweeter life becomes. And you know, we will only pass this way of life once. Maybe it makes sense to enjoy it to the fullest.
I just want you to develop a fresh attitude to relationships of every sort. I never like to lose any relationship because I know that success thrives through the power of networks. Any man is only as rich and influential as the network he has. Small network, small influence; large network, large influence.
The friend you threw away today may be the Governor of tomorrow. By that time, he won’t trust you enough to re-admit you into his circle of friends. There are times when an old friend’s recommendation is what will open the door you’ve been knocking for years. It is the day some people need urgent help and there’s no one to rise to their aid that they appreciate the destitution in lacking the attribute of keeping loyal long term friends. Human beings are assets, I repeat. Never treat them as disposables. That’s the first thought.
The second thought is this. You can never be at the stage of choosing a life partner again. Just once! For me now, I have left that stage for good forever. It then means that those you had dealings with at that stage are God’s donated dramatic persona to that aspect of your one-life history forever. Think about it. You will never have any other history apart from the one they are a part of!
And I wish it didn’t become an abusive relationship at some point in which case we will advise you cut them out of even your memory if possible. But if it was the kind of godly relationship I always practice and preach (you should also begin to practice the same), then it will be possible to look back on the times you shared together without regret and thank God for their gift to that part of your one life history.
After today’s talk, some of us need to pick up the phone and reach out to old friends (same sex inclusive) and ask how they are doing. Don’t forget to laugh over the funny experiences of the past.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
– Etienne de Grellet
Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye.
©Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| firstname.lastname@example.org