What Tim Tebow’s breakup can teach us.

Tim Tebow got dumped. Again. This time, the girl is Olivia Culpo, a former Miss USA who allegedly called it quits after a couple of months because she “can’t handle” Tebow’s sexual abstinence.

So last week, a New York Daily News gossip blog mocked the famous football player for his inability to “find the endzone,” and wrote that it isn’t the first time that his decision to save sex has caused him to fumble in his love life.

Which is ludicrous.

It’s not ludicrous because Tebow didn’t fumble. He absolutely fumbled. We all do. But he didn’t fumble because he decided to save sex. He fumbled because he decided to date a girl who thinks saving sex is a bad idea.

And I wonder why — why a person who intends to live life like God designed it decided to date a person who isn’t into that. Maybe for the same reason I did?

I was attracted to the dude I dated who doesn’t believe what I do. I also probably doubted that others existed who believe what I do. But neither is a prudent reason for a person who wants to save sex to pursue a relationship with a person who doesn’t.

Why?

1. Because we are not designed to bind ourselves to people who only “can put up with” our decisions to practice virtue.

If your vocation is marriage, you are not meant to bind yourself to a person who decides to “deal with” your decision to practice virtue but wants no part of it. No — you are meant in a marriage to practice virtue together, to be committed to each other’s sainthood, to help each other get to heaven.

A “burning interest in the eternal welfare of the beloved is the supreme intention of our love,” according to Dietrich von Hildebrand. If a person who only puts up with your efforts to live a virtuous life has a burning interest in something, it’s probably not your eternal welfare.

2. Because while we hate to have to wait to meet a person we ought to date, waiting is worthwhile.

The temptation is real for single Christians to date people who don’t believe what we do because the people who believe what we do are few and far between, or far away.

For the sake of the entire world’s welfare, please suck it up.

Despite how long it takes, or the hardships we have to endure, it is worthwhile not to date unless or until you’ve met a person who will commit to his or her future spouse’s sainthood, somebody who desires what is best for you: sanctification. That’s because when we date, marriage is a potential result. And marriage, according to St. Josemaria Escriva, is “a permanent contract that sanctifies (a couple) in cooperation with Jesus Christ.”

Do you know what Jesus does with marriage when the people in it involve him? Escriva will tell you: “He transforms their whole married life into an occasion for God’s presence on earth.”

The world needs more marriages like that. Desperately.

3. Because we have a good, good Father who knows what we need and will give it to us.

Trust him.

He sees your struggle — your struggle not to date the attractive person who only “can put up with” your virtue (or who will dump you because of it), your struggle to believe that anybody will date you if you expect a significant other to practice virtue with you. But if these are your struggles, he also sees what you can’t see: the reason it hasn’t happened for you yet.

The person you don’t know you’re going to meet. The circumstance you don’t know is going to change. The opportunity that is going to arise.

You are still in the dark about it, because we are bound by time. But we are loved by a God who is ever active, who is providing even when you think he isn’t, who “causes all things to work together for good to those who love” him (Rom. 8:28).

New to my work? Click here to learn more about my book, Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • kbg

    As usual, you are right on the mark! Keep encouraging us! And I hope Tim Tebow reads this…

  • Bryan

    The only part of this I think is unfair, is that we don’t know what their relationship was really like. It’s possible that Olivia actually found Tebow’s abstinence attractive at first, and decided she wanted to try that relationship, but then it took it’s toll because she wasn’t prepared to make that sacrifice and had no understanding of its purpose.

    It’s also possible the issue of her views on sexual morality never came up. Much has been made of Tebow’s commitment to abstinence. Maybe he assumed that someone interested in him already knew about and shared his values. It’s not an unreasonable assumption.

    For the rest of us, while I would say don’t be afraid to date someone who doesn’t share your values, I also encourage you to leave the relationship once you become aware of the other person’s true values. The only reason I tell people not to be afraid is because I know the fear of dating someone with different values can lead us to miss the person who shares our values. We can become paralyzed by the fear, to the point of not putting ourselves out there at all.

    • Arleen Spenceley

      Whether I can agree with you depends on how you define dating, Bryan. If dating implies commitment, I can’t encourage readers to date the people who don’t share their values. I also can’t encourage readers to date people whose values they don’t already know.
      We certainly can’t know all the things about the people we date before we agree to date them but is unnecessarily perilous to make assumptions about the most important things (i.e. whether they believe what you do about God, dating, love, marriage, sex.), or to agree to date a man or woman and hope it turns out that he or she shares your values.
      I’d instead encourage readers to ask important questions before you commit to a dating relationship (which I believe is intended to help a couple discern marriage with each other). It’s far harder in lots of ways to end an existent dating relationship that shouldn’t have started than it is to decide with prudence not to enter one.
      And while I also would not want a person’s fears to prevent him or her from entering a relationship with a person who shares his or her values, dating the people who don’t share their values isn’t the anecdote for that.
      Perhaps there is fear associated with a person’s hesitation to ask the aforementioned important questions before deciding to date. And maybe forcing ourselves to ask those questions (and to decide not to date those people when the answers we get aren’t good) will make putting ourselves out there in order to find the right person a little bit less scary over time.

      • Bryan

        For me, dating is about discerning if this is the person you’re called to marry. And I include asking questions as part of that discernment process. Everything from the first moment you meet until the end of the relationship is included in that process. I agree with you that if someone’s values are in absolute conflict with ours, then we should not continue in that relationship. But I also think it’s weird (at best) to go around asking people, “I’d really like to go out with you, do you want to save sex until marriage?”

        If we know someone’s values are opposed to ours, then we should leave that relationship. But if we don’t know, we shouldn’t let our fear keep us from going on a few dates and finding out.

        • Arleen Spenceley

          Idk, Bryan — when you call it weird to ask before you start to date, I wonder whether it’s because deep down you already know you’re picking a person who is likely to think it’s weird (perhaps because of where or how you’ve met them). Ordinarily, a person who wants to save sex for marriage is pumped to discover that a person in whom he or she has interest wants to save sex, too. So if you ask and learn that she also practices chastity, you’re golden. If you ask and she doesn’t practice chastity and therefore thinks you’re weird for having asked, what’s the big deal if you really want to wind up with a person who is also saving sex? It’s uncomfortable but survivable.

          • Bryan

            I said “weird (at best).” There are those who may think it to be beyond weird. Being thought of as “weird” I can certainly handle. I’m Catholic. People have been calling us weird for 2,000 years. It’s the possibility of being the named defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit that I can’t deal with.

            As for picking a person likely to think the question of chastity is weird, have you seen the world? Read the NY Times lately? Read any of the articles on Tebow? Seen any stories about online dating? The idea of chastity is already weird to the majority of Americans. And where am I meeting people? America. So I don’t think it’s out of line to delay the chastity and faith questions for a few days, as important as they are.

            Personally, if I’m going to ask someone out, I’ll save the chastity talk for the first or second date. It’s early enough that no real state of commitment exists yet, but it’s not the first thing that comes up.

          • Arleen Spenceley

            It IS America, Bryan, but you can be selective in America. Zoom in, and you’ll find that there are places in this country where chaste people are likely to congregate, and places where they aren’t.

          • Bryan

            I’ve tried that, and I continue to encourage others to try it. However, there are also other places where people of all types congregate (schools, for example). And while I am selective, I also recognize that because of the prevailing trend in America towards “sexual liberation” the default for most people is not chastity. So rather than create an uncomfortable situation for us both and risk offending a stranger, I choose to delay that conversation for a short while. It doesn’t mean you don’t have it.

            I also recognize that in places where chaste people congregate, like young adult groups, excitement of being around people who share the same values can overpower commitment to true chastity (though abstinence remains strong), limiting the ability to view others as our brothers and sisters in Christ and develop lasting friendships. This is something we have to be just as cautious with. We can’t be so blinded by our quest for someone with the same values that we end up ignoring some parts of that system.

          • Arleen Spenceley

            I feel you! Putting my virginity in the newspaper nipped my fear of discomfort in the bud, LOL. But now that I know you know you can (and should) be selective, my work here is done. 😉

          • Bryan

            Yeah, maybe I could’ve made that more clear from the beginning…lol

            But as you know from other conversations we’ve had, I agree with your points about making certain you date someone who shares similar values. Where we disagree in this case is simply how you approach finding out those values.

            And my other original questions still remain. Why is Tebow the one being mocked? If we’re really about equality, why aren’t we shaming Miss USA for being shallow and a “pig” and leaving just because a guy wouldn’t sleep with her unless they were married? Why are we shaming Tebow for holding his views, and not asking why she was with him in the first place? How did she not know Tebow was committed to abstinence?

          • Tyler

            I would have to say that’s because people look at chaste people as the enemy to their “fun”, so when Tebow comes around as a virgin, they want to make fun of him so that it proves that abstinence is a loser’s bet. I’m a virgin guy and I get made fun of all the time. It’s real, and it’s rough. Girls and guys today of all ages look at virginity & chastity as being unable to get laid, and they don’t like when someone chooses not to have sex. It’s against their “sexual liberation”. They want to mock it, and having Tebow on display like this straight proves it.

            Ms. Culpo is the world’s hero. She is “exploring her sexuality”. Tebow is seen as “repressed, frigid and backwards” for being faithful to the Lord. Tebow is basically judging them by living for God, and people look to tear him down to show everyone how living righteously is wrong. Isaiah 5:19-22. Woe to those who call good bitter and bitter good. Tebow is an alien to the world, so people think he’s strange. They think he’s some judgemental fundy, which I’ve never seen before, and they can’t stand that. So, they look to tear him down. It’s sad to me.

            I sometimes wonder if Tebow weren’t such an attractive, good-looking guy, would any of this even matter? I’m not sure. I believe another part of Tebow most cannot stand is how good-looking he is. He would be basically hot like Joseph in Genesis, and women want hot guys last time I checked. The fact he’s basically off-limits for Jesus probably makes other people envy him, with women vitriolic they can’t have him in the bedrooms. Ms. Culpo is probably in that boat.

            It’s obviously his fault, according to them, for not giving her what she so rightfully deserves. How dare that good looking Godly guy not give her what she needs and serve her every whim. What about good, Christian values, Tebow. You’re denying your girlfriend, Wrong, wrong, wrong!

            The world feels like sex is a must for everybody, and anybody who chooses differently is wacko, male or female. Double standard, maybe. I just believe, though, that men are encouraged to lose their virginity. That’s why we don’t say virgins are real men either. They’re dorks.

            I’m afraid this will continue to happen as long as we continue to believe the only thing to offer someone is a body to lay next to. That and believing that real men & women have sex and can’t be virgins. We have to counter with how blessed virginity and chastity is again, but I doubt that will happen again. What do I know, though? I’m a virgin dork, remember?

          • Rivka

            BTW, what I heard was that it turns out they weren’t actually dating-there was some mutual attraction, but the reason it never turned into a relationship was that Ms Culpo wasn’t ready for a new relationship at the time. The online media made a (false) speculation that of course they had “broken up” because of Tebow’s chastity, because-in the online Media’s view-of course that had to be the reason!!!
            But it wasn’t the real reason.

          • Tyler

            I would have to say that’s because people look at chaste people as the enemy to their “fun”, so when Tebow comes around as a virgin, they want to make fun of him so that it proves that abstinence is a loser’s bet. I’m a virgin guy and I get made fun of all the time. It’s real, and it’s rough. Girls and guys today of all ages look at virginity & chastity as being unable to get laid, and they don’t like when someone chooses not to have sex. It’s against their “sexual liberation”. They want to mock it, and having Tebow on display like this straight proves it.

            Ms. Culpo is the world’s hero. She is “exploring her sexuality”. Tebow is seen as “repressed, frigid and backwards” for being faithful to the Lord. Tebow is basically judging them by living for God, and people look to tear him down to show everyone how living righteously is wrong. Isaiah 5:19-22. Woe to those who call good bitter and bitter good. Tebow is an alien to the world, so people think he’s strange. They think he’s some judgemental fundy, which I’ve never seen before, and they can’t stand that. So, they look to tear him down. It’s sad to me.

            I sometimes wonder if Tebow weren’t such an attractive, good-looking guy, would any of this even matter? I’m not sure. I believe another part of Tebow most cannot stand is how good-looking he is. He would be basically hot like Joseph in Genesis, and women want hot guys last time I checked. The fact he’s basically off-limits for Jesus probably makes other people envy him, with women vitriolic they can’t have him in the bedrooms. Ms. Culpo is probably in that boat.

            It’s obviously his fault, according to them, for not giving her what she so rightfully deserves. How dare that good looking Godly guy not give her what she needs and serve her every whim. What about good, Christian values, Tebow. You’re denying your girlfriend, Wrong, wrong, wrong!

            The world feels like sex is a must for everybody, and anybody who chooses differently is wacko, male or female. Double standard, maybe. I just believe, though, that men are encouraged to lose their virginity. That’s why we don’t say virgins are real men either. They’re dorks.

            I’m afraid this will continue to happen as long as we continue to believe the only thing to offer someone is a body to lay next to. That and believing that real men & women have sex and can’t be virgins. We have to counter with how blessed virginity and chastity is again, but I doubt that will happen again. What do I know, though? I’m a virgin dork, remember?

          • Rivka

            I admire your boldness, but a lot of us (both people committed to chastity, and people not committed it) feel very very uncomfortable discussing sex (and abstinence, because any discussion of abstinence is a type of discussion about sex) with people we don’t yet know very well.

          • Arleen Spenceley

            The questions I’d encourage you to consider, Rivka, are as follows: Is discomfort a solid reason not to discuss sex with potential dates before you agree to commit to a dating relationship with them? Are some people comfy with it and others aren’t and that can’t change, or could there be merit in powering through discomfort until what once was uncomfortable isn’t so uncomfortable anymore (I wasn’t always this bold, believe it or not!)?

  • Rivka

    People who have premarital sex go through break ups all the time. Including the people who are mocking Tebow-I’m sure they’ve had plenty of romantic failures themselves.

  • Rivka

    Some sources are saying that there was no breakup….because Tim Tebow and Olivia Culpo were never actually dating. It seems that the “relationship” might have been just an internet rumor.

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