I see it all the time. A woman comes off a relationship with a jerk or insensitive man who broke her heart, left her weeping in a mess on the floor, and then she comes across a somewhat boring but nice, stable Christian man and decides to marry him on the spot.
A guy suffers through a relationship with a woman who causes him nothing but grief, constantly alternating between hot and cold in her affections for him, then finally dumps him, so he finds a woman who seems supremely grateful for his attention, who is the very picture of loyalty, and he asks her to marry him, even though he’s already rather bored with her. At least she’s not humiliating him.
A tell-tale sign for when people are marrying on the rebound is that they usually apologize for it: “He’s not the kind of guy I’m normally attracted to, but…” “She’s not the type of girl I typically dated, but now I think…”
Friends, if you have to explain or apologize for your attraction and commitment, that’s a problem.
Here’s why I’ll usually ask these couples to wait before they get married: rebound relationships get boring. For the first two years, you’re so thankful that you’re not being treated like you used to be treated. You’re grateful, because you can still vividly remember the past hurt and pain, and you’re so thankful that you’re married to someone who is so different from the man or woman who hurt you.
But at about 2 years, your memories of the past hurt will start to fade; the pain won’t feel quite so intense, the tears you cried may even start to feel like an “overreaction” and silly. Now you live with the present reality of a man or woman that you probably never would have been attracted to had you not been crushed before meeting them. You forget the dysfunction of the previous relationship, but you’re constantly reminded of what your current relationship lacks.
This guy or woman may not treat you like the former one did, but they also don’t measure up to that former partner in other ways. That’s when the frustration builds. You get farther and farther away from the past hurt, and are reminded day after day of the present frustration.
How do singles avoid this?
Don’t choose someone because they’re unlike the last person who broke your heart; choose someone because they’re like Christ. Make your marital decision based on what someone is, not what someone is not. And if you feel like you have to apologize to a pastor or counselor the first time you meet them, trying to explain why you’re in this relationship, that’s not just a red flag. That’s a street barricade.
In the premarital phase, you should be proud of the one you’ve chosen to spend your life with. If you’re not, you may be in a rebound relationship that will satisfy you for about two years, and then frustrate you for the rest of your life.
[photo: Creative Commons, julien haler]