Divorced . . . at 18?

I got divorced when I was eighteen.

Well, sort of.

I guess I better start from the beginning…

When J asked me to go out with him, it was like all my dreams had come true. He loved God, treated me like a princess, and we had so much fun together. I was just fifteen, but I was sure he was “the one.” I knew that I knew that I knew our love would last. Sophomore, junior, and senior years came and went. The longer we spent together, the closer we became—emotionally and spiritually.

When you date like you’re married, a break-up is second cousins with a divorce.

But God’s forces of nature were against us. See, God designed many levels of intimacy. That includes emotional and spiritual. But another kind of intimacy God reserved for marriage is sexual intimacy. The closer we got as a couple, the more our cravings for physical intimacy seemed to ramp up. Even though we both loved God and wanted to stay pure until we would (hopefully) get married, we just kept finding ourselves compromising. Ugh.

By the summer after my senior year, I couldn’t ignore God’s conviction any longer. The cycle of physical sin we were caught in was no bueno. I knew I had to end it.

You’d think that since I was the one who did the breaking up everything would be fine. Chill. Hunkey-dorey. Movin’ on with a smile on my face and a flower in my hair. But even though I did the breaking up, I was devastated. My heart was shattered. I wasn’t sure who I was without this guy who had become my other half.

I learned a hard truth through that relationship, and I know for a fact that many of you girls reading this have learned it too:

When you date like you’re married, the end of that relationship feels like divorce.

The Date-Divorce Cycle

Wait . . . Divorced? Before you were married? Trust me, I don’t use that word lightly. I’m sure some would label me extreme or over-reactive, but the truth is, when you act like you’re married—when you give someone all your time, attention and access to the most intimate parts of your body and soul—it feels like the only difference between a divorce and a break-up is that you don’t need a lawyer to break up with your boyfriend! You don’t have to divvy up your electronics or share visitation rights with your pets. But a breakup hurts badly, and it can have emotional and physical consequences that are crazy similar to a divorce.

Whether you’ve been in my shoes or not, you’d probably agree that most guys and girls today date like they’re married. It’s just . . . normal to be exclusive, make big promises and use words like “love” and “forever.” Like after three weeks. Am I right? Couples give all their hearts, all their time, and all their bodies to each other. And it’s also normal to feel like it’s a mini end-of-the-world when a relationship ends. Because when you date like you’re married, a break-up is second cousins with a divorce.

Smart Girls Ask Q’s

My point isn’t to scare you from ever getting within ten feet of a cute guy again. I’m all for love and romance and enjoying the good gifts that God has given us. Goodness, yes! So what is my point? I guess Solomon said it best:

“A sensible person sees danger and takes cover, but the inexperienced keep going and are punished” (Prov. 22:3, HCSB).

A smart girl takes a look around her at all the broken-hearted girls full of regret and thinks to herself, Hey self—maybe there’s a better way to do this love thing? Then she asks questions, studies the Bible, and looks for other people to imitate who are “doing love” better than the general population. Smart girls do things the wise way and save themselves a whole lot of heartache along the way.

Smart girls do things the wise way and save themselves a whole lot of heartache along the way.

Of all the girls on the planet, God’s girls should be the ones who find love without getting their hearts obliterated in the process, don’t you think? I challenge you to be the kind of girl who questions the norm, especially in the world of love and romance. If you do things the wise way, you won’t have to go through a break-up that feels like a divorce before you’re technically married.

If you’re ready to start questioning the norm, check out the great posts in the archives about love and dating. Or, cozy up with a book like: When God Writes Your Love Story, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, or Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break You.

I want to know: Do you agree that most couples date like they’re already married? Have you ever been through a breakup that felt like a divorce? Do you think there’s a better way to find love than the standard dating-go-round?

PS: We’ll be giving away a free copy of my book, Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break You this Friday for our Freebie Friday giveaway. Don’t miss it.

About Author

Jessie Minassian

Jessie Minassian is a speaker, blogger, and the author of ten books and Bible studies, including Crushed, Unashamed, and Backwards Beauty. She is the "resident big sis" at LifeLoveandGod.com, a Q&A website for teen girls. Her work for teens and their parents has been featured internationally through outlets such as Focus on the Family, Parenting Today’s Teens, She Reads Truth, Axis, Revive Our Hearts and YouthWorker Journal. She and her husband live and serve at Hume Lake Christian Camps in California, and have two daughters.

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