Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Rubber Band Effect

This weekend I spent some time with some friends of mine from college and we were laughing about funny (not all were funny at the time) dating adventures we'd had.  Jo's story is great and I have to share it with you.

Jay had watched his friend Steve date Jo for a year.  Jo is is petite with big beautiful, curly hair, matching big smile, and a spirit that makes whoever she is talking to feel like they are the most important person in the room.  Lucky for Jay, Steve was crazy enough to let Jo get away.  Of course, every guy came out of the woodwork trying to get her to go out with him.  Jay played it slow and continued to be a good friend with her and ended up winning her heart.

Jay and Jo started dating when Jay was in his spring semester of his senior year of college.  He was about to go off to seminary and that summer Jay and Jo would be working at neighboring camps.  One day Jay made a comment about this only being a summer thing.  Jo wanted no part of that.  She was immediately done with Jay.  Many of us girls would have cried with him or tried to talk him into committing long term or just continued dating him hoping he would change his mind, but not Jo.   Even though she was heartbroken, she would not take his calls or see him.  She even went out on dates with other guys.  She did her best to get on with her life even though she cared so deeply for him.

By the next Christmas, Jay had realized what a huge mistake he had made and had begged her back.  They continued dating long distance and it took a toll on their relationship.  Jay sometimes spoke confidently to Jo that she was the one for him and then the next day would backpedal because he would get scared.

Jo had told Jay she did not want him to tell her that he loved her unless he was willing to say that her for the rest of his life and he understood and respected this.  During this long distance phase of their relationship, Jo had gone to visit Jay and one night he told her that he loved her.  Of course, they both knew what that meant and it was a very special night.  UNTIL, the next day when he started backpedaling again.  That was it.  Jo was done.  She would not have anymore of it.  She told him to pull over the car.  She got out and started walking to her girlfriend's house she was staying at.  Jay asked her to get back in the car.  She said no and continued on.  He told her to get back in the car.  She repeated her response.  He yelled for her to get back in the car several times.  She said firmly in her girly voice, "Jay Ferrill, you will not speak to me that way," and kept walking.  She would not take his calls and booked a flight to fly out early the next day and went to stay with her brother.

Jo of course is heartbroken.  But she also knows she can't be treated like this.  She will have to move on with her life.  For the next week he tries and tries to call, but she will not take his calls.  Finally, he drives to her and begs her to let him talk to her.  In the week they've been apart he has realized what a mistake he has made and has even called his mom for advice.  He gave her a ring with a crown of thorns on it symbolizing Christ's sacrifice for us and he tells her that he wants live his life that way for her.  She did take him back and before long they were married.  Ten or so years later they have lived the adventure of following after Christ and have five sweet children.

I love this story.  I love the courage Jo had to do what right and stand up for herself and not let herself be mistreated.  She knew she could and probably would lose Jay both those times she walked away from him, but she also knew if he wasn't willing to chase after her, it was better to know then rather than find it out later.

James Dobson calls this the rubber band effect.  When someone we really care about starts to pull away, we often will try to hold on to them tighter.  All this does is cause the one being held onto to start pushing the other away.  Sometimes the best thing you can do instead of holding onto too tight to someone is to pull back a bit and see if they will rubber band back to you.  If they don't, you have your answer.  It is always better to find out early on that someone is not right for you, rather than later.  The less time you give to the wrong people the better!