Month 3:05, Week 1:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year:Day 5936:064AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 25 May 2012
Are You Happy? V
Avoiding Rebounds and Doing Right
Continued from Part 4
It is truly amazing what we turn to in search of happiness particularly after a time of great unhappiness. The loss of a loved one, whether because of death or rejection, often leads those grieving into hasty and unwise 'rebound relationships'.
What those who enter rebound relationships don't usually realise is that the relationship is in reality just a distraction from having to deal with the pain of the loss of an earlier relationship. It is a misguided attempt to move on with our lives. Not infrequently those who have suffered loss jump back into the marriage-hunting scene because they are afraid to be alone.
The rebound relationship is not likely to last because it is little more than a 'quick fix' in which to drown out the pain of the failed earlier relationship. The emotional intensity of a new relationship acts initially as a balancing agent against the pain and then drives it out altogether. But in truth it does not. The pain is simply driven deep into the unconscience where it continues to affect behaviour and where it is in danger or erupting at any time in the future to sabotage and destroy the rebound relationship.
Not untypically, those in rebound relationships expect their new partners to make up for the shortcomings, mistakes, pain or for lost time in the previously failed relationship - they expect their new partners to be 'knights in shining armour' and of course they're not. All that happens is that you exchange one set of problems for another because you're in such a hurry to have everything made right.
In rebound relationships what usually happens is that one of the partners ends up being used and hurt because the relationship is in reality just a distraction from the pain of a broken heart. And when the person has served their purpose as that distraction, they are dumped and left to pick up the pieces.
Failed marriages need much time to heal to avoid rebound relationships taking their place. It's a little different when a partner dies but similar rebounds can happen there too. Part of the problem in dealing with loss is that we come to believe the lie that working through the emotional pain will kill us and so we avoid it at all costs and try to compensate with other things, including a new relationship. Needless to say when you do this you are sowing a storm and will reap the whirlwind.
The Bible makes it abundantly plain that intimate relationships belong exclusively to the marriage estate and that marriage is sacred and should not be rushed into. Great care should additionally be taken in drawing close to those who have been in failed marriages because of the risk of the rebound factor. And there are other issues which I don't have time to address today that pertain to gender differences - the taste of others' leftovers can be bitter too.
We're not told how long a gap there was between the death of Ruth's first husband and her finding Boaz. We can only guess at the length of the grieving process that Naomi, Ruth and Orpah went through. All three had lost their husbands in the Moabite famine. We know that Naomi was going through terrible pain for she said:
We can all relate to this bitterness if we have lost loved ones to death or infidelity. And yet, as we will know from the story that follows, this bitterness is changed into happiness and simcha (joy). Doubtless the means of this transformation was not at all what was expected or hoped for because Yahweh's ways are simply not ours. And yet Yahweh saw two of them right because they trusted in Him and in His Torah law of Levirate. Yahweh healed and turned their sorrow into simcha (joy).
"Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and Yahweh has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since Yahweh has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?" (Ruth 1:20-21, NKJV)
Beware of the very transientory and highly selfish 'rebound' form of happiness. It rarely works. There is a scriptural tavnith (pattern) that precludes such unnecessary heartache. Whatever your circumstances, Yahweh has a plan for you. Trust Him, don't try to put Him in a box by limiting Him with your own expectations and watch Him do for you what He did for Ruth!
Continued in Part 6