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Dating non-Christians? That is a tricky question to answer.
At first, I used to think that Christians should not date non-Christians. Why? Most Christians would direct you to this Bible Verse:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Well, that all changed when I met Lily (not her real name), my ex. I came to the conclusion that the answer to that question isn’t always as clear as it seems.
So, this is my story about relationship and religion – on how overcomplicating the both of them can end a relationship before it fully blossoms.
It was by pure accident. I was an A Levels Student at a local University. As I left the Discussion Room, I remembered leaving my phone charger behind.
Making way into the room, Mr. Gan — the economic prodigy — was tutoring a couple of juniors on the proper methods to answer some Past Year Questions. Lily was sitting in one of his sessions.
Being strangers at first, I noticed her presence stood out amongst the rest of the students Gan was tutoring.
I casually said “hi” to him and to my surprise, he proceeded to praise me in front of them.
‘Well, if it isn’t Liang. The Law Prodigy. This man will nail all the answers to your questions.’
I chuckled and laughed nervously. Clearly, Gan was joking. I could barely remember the legal principles that I’ve learned, let alone case names or Acts of Parliament.
‘No man, you’re joking. You’re the man, Gan.’ I replied humbly as I proceed to grab my charger.
Lily laughed. I left after saying my goodbyes to him and his students.
At that point in time, I wasn’t desperate to get into a relationship as I had other priorities to focus on, mainly studies.
The First Attempt
Just in case you were wondering if Gan was joking about that statement, he wasn’t. Not long after that first meeting, she sent me a Facebook friend request.
Without thinking too much, I accepted it.
After several discussions through Facebook about her studies, I started to bump into her more frequently on Campus.
Through time, I discovered we several common interests: how we both shared the same sense of humour, our interest in Japanese animation and music, listening to stories of visiting Japan and many more.
Being an introvert, she understood my predicament perfectly, as she was also an introvert. Naturally, I grew comfortable in talking with her.
I remembered asking her if she saw our relationship as something more than just friends.
She replied, ‘I only see you as a great Senior. Nothing more, nothing less.’
A part of me was disappointed.
However, looking back now I was not in a state where I was mature enough to be in a relationship.
We were both so young. I was 18 and she was 16. It was never going to happen.
After I completed my A-Levels, I went on to pursue my Law Degree in the same local University while she continued studying for her A-Levels.
From Friends To Something More
Time is a special thing. Time heals all wounds and has a special place in placing two individuals in the right circumstances.
About a year later, I bumped into Lily on campus.
She still had the same long hair. She did get slightly taller, and I have to say that I am pretty tall myself.
‘Hey, Liang! How’s it been? It’s been a while.’
‘I’ve been good. Have you?’
We caught up over coffee. And we caught up again, and again – until the same feelings resurfaced. Only this time — it was with more thought and anxiety.
I wanted to take this friendship to the next level; and I wanted to take it long and far. So I asked her if she felt the same way too.
To my surprise, she felt the same way and we were both discovering where this path would take us.
Hence, on my 19th birthday, I’ve asked her to be my girlfriend and we said yes.
Looking back now, I would say the quote below summed up what short time we spent together as a couple.
“ First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.”
Little did I know that my inability to take a stand or be firm in my own belief would compromise my relationship with Lily.
The Break Up
I believe many would describe Lily and I to be the ‘perfect couple’. We had chemistry, and we were each other’s best friends.
When news broke out about our relationship, one of my close Christian friend (who was quite religious) mentioned that I should not compromise my faith over my relationship with Lily.
I am a Christian and Lily is a strong Buddhist. That never really got in the way in our relationship – well at least for the duration when we were together.
After getting advice from my Christian brothers and sisters as well as my Mother, I decided to end the relationship before it even further developed — thinking that I was doing Lily a favour from causing her any hurt.
A simple case of overthinking lead to the end of our relationship after a month of dating.
I called Lily and told her that I wanted to talk to her about something. She immediately knew something was up as I sounded serious.
There’s no easy way to tell this part of the story, but I broke up with her over through Skype.
If only I waited and explained to her properly, it would have caused both of us less pain.
‘Hey Lily, remember about the religion thing we were talking about?’
‘Yeah. Why? I thought I said I was okay with you going to Church and all.’
‘Yeah, you did. Look, I’ve been talking to my mum and my Christian friends — I think I can’t continue anymore. You’re great, but I felt that there is a greater Promise that I need to fulfill.’
‘Ok … so that means we’re done?’
And there was a moment of silence as I saw tears started to flow down her face through the screen.
Moving On and Closure
Lily and I remained on the same campus as we finished our twinning programme.
We will transfer over to the Universities in the United Kingdom who had a partnership with the local University we were studying in.
We didn’t talk about a year or so — and she would avoid me completely whenever we bumped into each other.
It wasn’t until we were about to get our results till I decided approached her and explained to her in person the reasons for my actions.
From that encounter, it appeared that we were in a calmer state to talk about what happened.
After exchanging a small conversation, we decided to say goodbye as we both parted ways to different Universities — she went to Reading while I went to Belfast.
Time in the UK, The End of Our Story
As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, time does heal wounds.
Throughout my time in the UK, Lily and I remained in contact with each other and we both vented on the issues we struggled with — such as homesickness and the different teaching style adopted by UK Institutions.
We continued to talk even after we graduate and through the summer break when we came back to Malaysia.
I am now still single, but guess what?
She’s still my classmate as we are both pursuing our professional qualifications in the same local University. We do talk occasionally to catch up amidst our hectic studies.
Sometimes, I wish that we could have ended up together, to see what could we have become.
But one thing is certain — I will never forget the effect Lily had and still has on me.