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'Til God do us part

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

Relationships don't always work out, and that’s fine. Sometimes it’s you and sometimes it’s them. But believe it or not, some say it's out of their hands and that it's God's will.

Introducing Ethan Noble, a 20-year-old Christian man, who was arguably happy in his relationship until a spiritual awakening ended it in tears.

Photo: Ethan Noble

In March 2019 Ethan met a Christian girl and they hit it off, but soon the honeymoon period evaporated. On the surface, the relationship was working well, but he knew there was something missing.

They had been dating for about five months when he couldn't shake this feeling off anymore. Throughout this time he knew he had strayed away from his faith and it unsettled him. After a near break-up, the pair decided to travel up to Aberdeen to see Ethan's family.

By this point, he had been praying for guidance on his conundrum for some time; he was happy in his relationship but his spirituality was lacking. Suddenly, the idea to become celibate came into his head while praying, which he found even more alarming. He still did not know what to make of it all but knew that he would have to be alone to figure it out.

“It was like a knife to the heart kind of like conviction that I was just hearing God say, ‘I need you to be single.’”

Wanting to talk it out with his girlfriend, he asked her to go on a walk. They went to a place Ethan often goes to for mindfulness, and as soon as they were there he broke the news to her.

“We sat down on a bench, which is just classic for break-ups. I started crying, I was heartbroken because I did love this girl and she was heartbroken as well and we were just crying there... and then we broke up."

The next day she went on the train home and he never saw her again.

Photo: Ethan Noble

“It was a defining moment for my faith because it wasn’t just me choosing to leave a relationship, it was me choosing to leave the way that I was living behind me. It was a way of me saying I’m no longer going to live for myself and rather live for God.”

Once the shock subsided then came the questions and confusion from friends and family. Some of them thought he was being disingenuous, and it wasn't just his atheist friends who were sceptic, agnostic and Christian friends also voiced their concerns.

His ex's family even thought he was homosexual. They couldn't understand why their God would do such a thing; Ethan liking men was the only logical explanation for them. Ethan just hopes that they now know this was the right decision at the time.

For the next few months after the break-up, Ethan was more confused than ever. Having time to reflect on the situation, he appreciates that his relationship was not outwardly toxic, but it was not healthy either.

“You can’t fully understand a relationship if you’re not in it. Part of me hopes that she’s living a better life now, I’m living a better life now. Had we gone down the road we were going down it probably wouldn’t have turned out the same.”

Sometimes he misses being in a relationship but thinks his life is richer now.

“I think there is part of me that does desire being with someone, that whole idea of ending it in marriage, but before I reach that point I would say I am essentially married to my relationship with Jesus.”

If he does get into another relationship, Ethan is looking for a godly one, what that entails is up for debate, but he knows what it means to him.

“Realistically I may never end up in another relationship again and I think I’m okay with that. I can be in pursuit of so many other things.”

It is not just his views on his own relationship that have changed, this experience has altered his views on the purpose of relationships in general.

“You’ve got to be really strong in your purity and you’ve got to be in pursuit of God. I think relationships are about becoming more deeper and intimate with one another and I definitely feel I have that with God in a way that I’ve never had before."

He is also interested in the idea of dating now because as a Christian, the Bible talks a lot about being single and being married, but not much about the in-between. He knows couples that have gotten married after three weeks of knowing each other and are still together which he finds incredible.

“People say ‘when you know, you know’, and I’ve never known.”

Now that he only has three months left of his 'season of singleness', some of his friends have joked that he can finally get back in the game, but Ethan’s not in a rush. He values love as an expression of action rather than a happy feeling and does not take the responsibility lightly.

Photo: Ethan Noble

“Part of love is making the difficult choices and part of love is conflict and having those unearthing arguments. Part of love is loving someone through everything they’ve been through and everything that they are. It’s demonstrating a genuine appreciation for them as a human being above all things.”

He admits the whole situation sounds hypocritical if people think he is lying but he doesn't try to convince them, he knows his own truth.

“I did genuinely love her, I honestly gave just about everything I had for this girl and still broke it off. I would never have made an excuse had it not been God.”

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