I could easily sit here and tell you all about Brody's father and our relationship and how crazy and intense it was. I could tell you all about why I was in love with him and the good times we hand and the bad times we had. But honestly, that doesn't matter. Our story doesn't matter. His name doesn't matter. None of those things matter. What does matter is what I LEARNED from knowing him.
So what have I learned?
1. Do not try to change a man.
Chances are that you can't. 99.9% of the time your life will not end up like the movies where you were special enough to break through the walls a stubborn troubled man has put up and completely melt his heart. That's unrealistic. It's not to say that you are not special, but it is to say that men don't always care to see it. They want what they want when they want it, and if you will let them take advantage of you, then they will.
If by some miracle you are able to impact their lives in a real way, it won't be enough. For instance, Brody's father is a different man today than he was when I met him, and I know I had a little bit to do with that. He knows I had something to do with that. His friends do as well. However, he still isn't saved. He married someone else. The goals I had when I put all of this effort into him never came to pass. They just didn't.
Also, if you are somehow able to make a difference in who he is, it will drain everyone of your resources and leave you completely empty and weak. The work it takes-emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially-it's too much to take on. Chances are you will end up neglecting everything and everyone else in your life and just look for opportunities to give yourself for him. Then, when he is gone, or when you realize your tired of fighting for something that will never happen, you are left with nothing. No strength, no life outside of him, no energy, no direction; pretty much just pure chaos. When you are that invested in something or someone, TOO invested, you don't know which way is up when it's no longer a part of your life.
The point is, regardless of what you think, hope, or how great you may be-don't try and change a man. IT'S NOT WORTH IT!!
2. Do not be unequally yoked, and put God first.
Brody's father is not a horrible person. I don't hate him. I wish him well. But we were bad for each other. The main reason we were bad for each other is because I was saved and he was not. He didn't want to be. There's problem one. At that moment I should have not continued in the relationship. But of course, I was stubborn, and I wanted him, so I ignored what I knew was right, and thought I could handle it. I couldn't. This man became so important, he became an idol. I loved him and wanted him more than I wanted God. I don't know if I realized that or not-but the thought of it now makes me sad. My Savior deserves better from me. Jesus is actually worthy of my devotion and worship, while no man is. Because this man was not saved sex before marriage was not an issue for him. He didn't feel guilty about it or see anything wrong with it. Because I loved him more than God, I ignored the conflict I had with it. Because I had made him an idol I lived in sin pursuing this man, instead of living in purity pursuing my Savior.
HELLO! This seems like common sense right? Yeah, well clearly I didn't have that for a long time. I wanted to see Brody's father saved so bad, and I wanted to help bring him to Christ. But yet, I had made him an idol, and I was living in sin with him. Explain that. I was a hypocrite at the time. But how often do we girls do that and justify it? How often do we think that if we can win their hearts, then we can convince them to be saved? First of all, a man shouldn't become a Christian for you. Then it's not based of the real thing. And chances are, if the relationship ends, then so will their "relationship" with Christ. From my experience, it is usually an act rather than something sincere when it is for a girl.
Not only is it dangerous to use romance to try and bring someone to Christ, not only is it disobedient to be unequally yoked, it's also just a bad idea. Chances are you are trying to disciple a person rather than just share the gospel with them if you are using a relationship to try and point them to Christ. WOMEN SHOULD NOT DISCIPLE MEN! This is unbiblical and dangerous. Just don't go down that road. It'll lead to disaster.
4. Do not date a man for his potential.
I say this with the understanding that nobody has fully arrived, and everyone needs to grow as their life progresses. That isn't what I mean. The point of dating is to find a husband. Wives are to submit to their husbands. I refuse to submit to someone who isn't submitting to God (on a regular basis; nobody is perfect). So, why date someone who isn't following Christ? If he has the potential to be a great Godly man, but hasn't reached it yet, he doesn't need you in his life and you don't need him. He needs Jesus. Only God can do that work in someone; we can't. So use the time to grow in Christ, and trust God to bring you the right man in the right timing.
It is worth the wait to wait on God's will. If it's not God's will can we really call it a good thing? It has taken me a long time to get this point. I have done all of the things listed above more than once. It's kind of ridiculous how stupid I was when it came to dating, and ironically, how smart I thought I was. As you get older you get wiser. Thankfully, I have finally learned.