If you want to help your kids build healthier relationships, take a look at author Dani Miser's list of "The Top 10 Excuses You Make to Stay in a Bad Relationship," which are accompanied by biblical insights.
The excuses are adapted from Miser's new book, Single Woman Seeks Perfect Man: Facing the Consequences of Unhealthy Relationships(Deep River Books, 2010).
The Top 10 Excuses You Make to Stay in a Bad Relationship and the Reason Why You Should Stop Making Them
Excuse #1: I'd rather settle for him than be alone.
What's wrong with being single? You're not alone (Hebrews 13:5). For real! Christians, you are totally complete in Christ, lacking nothing (Colossians 4:12)! If you are settling for an unhealthy relationship just to have a warm body near, you are missing the amazing indescribable intimacy God offers you; He will continue to politely step aside as you choose to accept less (Psalms 25:16). Seek to be complete in Him (Proverbs 8:17) first, and ditch this excuse before you miss the one He has purposed for you to marry (Psalms 139:16)! Give God a chance, for He is your provider (2 Corinthians 9:8) and is able to do abundantly above all that you could possibly ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!
"…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
Excuse #2: I'm Comfortable
Is change something that makes you cringe? Are you stringing a relationship along primarily because it has benefits? Money? Companionship? Image? Physical Intimacy? Fun? Nice, familiar routine? Let's face it: We all temporarily have turned to everything from shopping to food for fulfillment. Things…even relationships with benefits never can truly satisfy (Colossians 3:2). They are shallow tools the enemy offers, convincing you to wear a mask of contentment (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:8). By faith, step out of the known to grasp the true and amazing unexplainable peace and joy (Isaiah 55:12) God offers to those who choose to trust in Him alone to meet all their needs (Proverbs 3:5)!
"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water" (Jeremiah 2:13).
Excuse #3: I love him.
"But I looooove him!" If I had a nickel for every time I heard those words! Geez! I love my dog! I love my brother! I love my pet hamster! There is a difference in loving, being in love, and fully committed to the person you know you were meant to marry…for better or worse! You have to get out of the love boat to walk on the water. What I mean is, you have to move away from the one you love and walk out into the unknown toward God patiently until He brings you your one true love. Don't miss your reward! It takes faith (Hebrews 11:6)!
"'Lord, if it's you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to You on the water.' 'Come,' He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' He said, 'why did you doubt?'" (Matthew 14:28-31).
Excuse #4: We've had sex.
I confessed to a distant cousin that I was having doubts about my recent engagement. My biggest fear was that I had to stay with him simply because I had had sex with him. Is this how you feel? Well, God reminded me that sex outside marriage is a sin. Because you already have begun is really not an excuse to continue. Sex outside marriage brings horrible consequences to every area of life, leading ultimately to death (James 1:15). Is it a ride you want to continue? Ask God to cast this excuse down with your sin to the depths of the ocean (Isaiah 43:25) and exchange it for His perfect forgiveness. I did, and God helped me move from the pit of sexual sin to the one He created specifically for me!
"Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually sins against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Excuse #5: We have a child together.
OK, so you're single and pregnant; or maybe you're single with children already. You have a great reason to abandon, not your kids, but the bad relationship that entangles you (Hebrews 12:1). Admit it: As children, most of us aspired to have better lives than those who raised us. Here's the kicker: Our starting point regarding relationships was the exact representation of what Mom and Dad modeled for each of us. My point…it is better to stay single and model contentment (1 Timothy 6:6) and trust in the Lord than to marry, model a bad relationship, and end up having to raise your grandchildren who, according to statistics, will do the same. The choices you make affect future generations (Exodus 20:5-6)! Ponder that!
"But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments" (Genesis 20:6).
Excuse #6: I'm waiting until Mr. Right comes along.
Let's get serious! If Mr. Right crosses your path, he'll consider your low standards unattractive and immature. Your present relationship portrays evidence of the needy, insecure person you are choosing to be! The bad relationship you're in is a huge red flag to the Christ-like, confident mate you truly desire to be with. No—it's more like a stop sign! Don't allow a mountain of insecurity to cause Mr. Right to take a U-turn! Hanging onto mediocre relationships is like dumpster diving for trash when God is offering true treasure just around the bend!
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Excuse #7: We're engaged, already committed.
Have you agreed to marry him, but now you're having doubts? If there is doubt, don't! Use the valuable opportunity you have now for a time-out to reevaluate, or choose to live the rest of your life with regret! "But," you say, "I've already started planning a wedding, and I'm looking forward to a honeymoon." Get your eyes off worldly things and ask God to open your spiritual eyes (Isaiah 44:18). Doubt is a warning from the Holy Spirit! It's the opposite of peace. Patience is key (Galatians 5:22). Wait on God (Hebrews 6:15). You're at a fork in the road; choose your will or God's. Steps of blind faith will lead you to awesome treasure (Hebrews 11:1).
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5).
Excuse #8: I don't want to hurt his feelings.
Has your heart left the picture, but you're still hanging around because you'd like him to stay happy? Maybe you feel bad leaving him because he has spent so much time and money on you. You're not stock; this isn't an investment game! Have you tried to walk away but his craftiness persuaded you to stay? You're not a puppet; pull your heart's strings from his grip! Your people-pleasing nature coupled with his controlling tendencies are brewing up your worst nightmare. It's time to be concerned more with honoring God than your boyfriend (John 5:30). You're sacrificing your life to appease him; rest assured, God has good plans for him, too (Jeremiah 29:11)! Call this excuse what it is—guilt and manipulation—and learn how to say no! Better yet, say goodbye to Mr. Wrong.
"…We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
Excuse #9: He's good enough for me.
Maybe you're thinking, "I don't deserve any better"; or perhaps you assume you'd never land among the stars, so you've resolved never to shoot for the moon. Drop your self-construed measuring stick and pick up God's Word where good enough amounts to filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) for all of us! Our Father seeks to bless us, not because we deserve it, but because of His great love! Give Creator God (Genesis 1:14) the opportunity to bring the moon (your man) to you!
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:6-8).
Excuse #10: He'll change for the better!
Down here in Texas, most of us girls like a little outlaw in our man! We are raised to be fixers. We've seen Mama fix everything from a boo-boo with a kiss to hamburger made to taste like steak! Naturally, we think we can turn a frog or even a snake into a prince with a kiss; but sometimes a snake is just a snake, and we wind up getting bit! Come on! Who are you kidding!? You can't change him, and he's comfortable the way he is. You be who God called you to be and let God do the changing (Philippians 2:13)! Truth be told, you need to run the other direction! Bad relationships are poisonous!
"I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).
"Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalms 37:4).
© 2011 Dani Miser, Author of Single Woman Seeks Perfect Man (Deep River Books, 2010. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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