What Tim Tebow’s breakup can teach us

Tim Tebow got dumped. Again. This time, the girl is 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.


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).

[For more on chastity in the NFL, check out this video of Philip Rivers discussing the virtue, and this one about why he saved his virginity for marriage.]


arArleen Spenceley is author of the book Chastity is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin (Ave Maria Press, Nov. 2014). She works as a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times, and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in counseling, both from the University of South Florida. She blogs at arleenspenceley.com. Connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


  1. Love this post!

    By Karen Foster | 5 years ago Reply
    • Love this post! Inspiring and encouraging!!! Only by God’s grace and love waiting is possible. Hallelujah!

      By Kara | 5 years ago Reply
  2. well said; my thoughts exactly…why is he even dating women who don’t believe as he does

    By Lou | 5 years ago Reply
  3. Fantastic post. Great and difficult reminder that we are in a world that is totally focused on instant gratification. I commend Tim on keeping his values at the forefront. And I’m with the comment above. He needs to seriously consider changing his dating pool. There ARE young women seeking gentlemen with true values. Wait, Tim. God has your “Ruth”. Wait for her.

    By Aida | 5 years ago Reply
  4. Great article and I hope Tim Tebow stays strong to his beliefs. I think there are woman (and men) who say they believe the same thing but in reality think they can change that person’s mind once in a relationship.

    By Linda | 5 years ago Reply
  5. What about the people who trust in God and wait and wait for a spouse but they never arrive?

    By Rose | 5 years ago Reply
    • “Some people must accept that, in the Providence of God, they have been called to a single life. Worse things could happen!” — a quote from Benedict Groeschel’s brilliant book “The Courage to Be Chaste.”

      By Arleen Spenceley | 5 years ago Reply
      • How can someone recognise they have a single vocation if they have such a great desire for marriage and not the single life?

        By Rose | 5 years ago Reply
        • Find a spiritual director who’ll help to discern your vocation!

          By Arleen | 5 years ago Reply
    • If that person isn’t dead then “never” HASN’T happened!? Patience is a virtue or maybe they’re missing the vocation the Lord has for them!?

      By Cyndi | 5 years ago Reply
  6. Maybe when he decided to date this girl, he didn’t know her position on his abstinence. Or maybe she agreed at first, just so she could date him but changed her mind. Maybe she decided she wanted out and this was a perfect excuse to get out of it. And maybe this is why the relationship only lasted a couple of months.I admire his commitment, don’t slam him too hard.

    By Heidi | 5 years ago Reply
  7. Arleen Spenceley,
    There is seriously a tug-of-war going on in my mind right now. I’m dating this guy who has been really cool so far. He and I are into a lot of the same things, both work hard in school, like to treat people well, etc. He’s respected my boundaries and always asks to make sure he hasn’t crossed any or upset me. I appreciate that he respects my wish to move slowly in this relationship. He is also “Catholic”. However, it bothers me that he doesn’t seem to be that into his faith and that the only reason he might actually be respecting my boundaries is because he doesn’t want to lose me (instead of doing it because he loves me AND because of the faith teachings). The reason the later is such an issue is because I wonder if he would still save sex if I wasn’t the one with boundaries. He also watches Big Bang Theory and plays Cards Against Humanity. While these are both popular things (and I’ll admit: funny sometimes), they really are crude and disrespectful regarding sex. It makes me feel uncomfortable to know that the is such a fan of these things that so obviously degrade the marital act. I’m considering breaking up with him, but I’m not sure if maybe I’m just being too picky.

    By Livy | 5 years ago Reply
    • Hi Livy,

      I was in almost the exact same situation when I was in high school. He was “Catholic” and he respected my boundaries but over time I realized that we were on two completely different planets when it came to faith and as I grew in my faith, he grew angry and impatient. He didn’t understand where I was coming from. I considered staying with him but I knew deep down that God had something better planned for me so I broke up with him and moved on. It was extremely hard because he was a nice guy – he bought me flowers, took me on fancy dates, and wrote me thoughtful notes – but I knew in the long-run, “nice guy” just wouldn’t cut it. I wanted a God-loving man who would lead me closer to Christ – not someone who was simply waiting for my defenses to fall so that he could steal my purity. I’m glad I made that hard choice when I was 17 because two years later, I met the most amazing Christ-like man who was just as passionate about pursuing God (and purity!) as I was and two years after we starting dating, we married! My advice to you is pray, pray, pray! Remember that the end goal of dating is marriage and the end goal of marriage is to get your spouse to Heaven. If you have doubts about whether or not you’ll marry each other or, more importantly, whether he can lead you to Heaven, I would strongly recommend moving on as soon as possible. The longer you stay in a relationship that you think is going nowhere, the harder it is to move on.

      By Cirra | 5 years ago Reply
    • Thanks so much for sharing this, Livy! Here’s another post I wrote that perhaps you will find helpful:


      I’ll say a prayer for ya now — please pray for me, too. 🙂

      By Arleen Spenceley | 5 years ago Reply
      • Thanks so much!

        By Livy | 5 years ago Reply
  8. Loved this! Thanks so much for writing this article. It is so important for us to be reminded how we are worth waiting for.. and how it is worth waiting for someone who believes as we do!

    By Caroline | 5 years ago Reply
  9. This is awesome! Hopefully we all can learn from this

    By Diana | 5 years ago Reply
  10. Go Tim! May he stay strong and committed to Christ!

    By Teresa Yohman | 5 years ago Reply
  11. Maybe he was dating a project rather than a person. It happens but never ends well. You can’t change him/her so stop trying, chase God with all your might, and when you are doing that, see who’s running next to you.

    By RJ Chavez | 5 years ago Reply
  12. Two months and she couldn’t take it?! Maybe Tim thought he could change her, but at some point you realize you can’t change people and you have to be who you are.

    By Diane | 5 years ago Reply
  13. This spoke right to my heart.

    By Elizabeth | 5 years ago Reply
  14. This always bothered me. Guys would get so mad when girls would date the “bad boys” but would turn around and date women that were not wanting to practice a life of virtue.

    By Danielle | 5 years ago Reply
  15. Its is his mountain, his Faith in God was tested and tempted…but he stood strong in Faith and has won victory ,To God be the Glory.

    By B.Tuca | 5 years ago Reply
  16. I’m so impressed! Good for you Tim! Obviously Nick Jonas’ broken resolution to God did not work because she isn’t with him any longer…..

    By Joy | 5 years ago Reply
  17. He may have been straight forward with her, and she was not, or did not believe him.

    By jim | 5 years ago Reply
  18. This is what Love is all about. And it is not only for women but for men. We need to realize that waiting for that perfect moment is God’s perfect time.

    By Bern | 5 years ago Reply
  19. Why did he date her? C’mob, folks! She’s beautiful that’s why. And there’s always a chance that the person will understand your view and switch to your side.

    It didn’t happen this time. Sad for Tim, but he’s a big boy.

    By John M. | 5 years ago Reply
  20. Thank you Arlene your word spoke to me as well. My take away points from this is definitely to work on my path pulling onto God puts that person you’re meant to be with in my path. Thank you Arlene your word spoke to me as well. My take away from this is definitely to work on my path to holiness and when God deems us both ready then we’ll meet. God Bless you.

    By Paola | 5 years ago Reply
  21. I think sometimes the other person you are dating seems committed to chastity. Then after a few months they realize, “Oh you’re serious,” and admit they don’t know if they can handle it. It’s frustrating but as long as you know you left the relationship with your dignity intact, you move on. Great post!

    By Chris | 5 years ago Reply
  22. I believe in this article

    By Rose | 5 years ago Reply
  23. This Bloke is a real inspiration to the guys who are in the same boat, trying to bring whoever they meet closer to Christ. I love his zeal. Keep up the good work

    By Jabour joseph | 5 years ago Reply
  24. He is awesome! Preserving the best part … first night sacred & holy…

    By tessG | 5 years ago Reply
  25. How can I email this link to friends and family? Please email or messenger me the answer. Thx.

    By Patricia | 5 years ago Reply
  26. This man has been ridiculed, laughed at and no doubt hurt financially for his faith by people who hate God and Christians. And so I think its appalling for this author to write a negative article about this man when she could have spent her time praising him for his commitment to God. Why on earth would any Christian writer jump on the bandwagon and bash this man? The article could have been written without “using” this mans name and fame. But then nobody would have wanted to read it… Right? (very sad).

    By Trent | 5 years ago Reply
    • I think you and I define “bash” and “negative” differently, Trent.

      By Arleen Spenceley | 5 years ago Reply
  27. You turned a good article into nothing more than gossip by using this mans fame to grab readers. You don’t know what Tim’s conversations were with this woman. For all you know he could have done everything right and was deceived and lied to.

    By Trent | 5 years ago Reply
  28. Sometimes you just hope that the person may have evolved sufficiently so that you might be on the same page concerning sex before marriage. We hope they will change if they’re not there as of yet…the way some people hope the partner will change. Perhaps he really liked her and hoped she would be amenable. Good job Tim! Good luck!

    By Patrick Duffey | 5 years ago Reply
  29. The guy could have ED

    By Kandi | 5 years ago Reply
  30. Good Tim!!! love means respect each other since the beginning.

    By Tonya | 5 years ago Reply
  31. Years ago, our quarterback, Terry Bradshaw married and divorced multiple times. A friend remarked, “He wants to marry a beauty queen and keep her down on the farm!” Maybe Tim should look closer at the inner beauty and less at the package. How does the song go, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” I’m sure there are young women out there who have both – inner and outer beauty.

    By Lauretta Stanley | 5 years ago Reply
  32. I think it’s best to meet someone at Church or through a young adults group. Maybe sign up for online Catholic classes and meet someone through the forums. Or try a Catholic dating site (but people can lie about themselves so be careful). Meeting a random person on the street usually won’t end well. Most “Catholics” don’t go to Mass, don’t know their faith, and live the same way as secular people. A lot of “Christians” don’t practice chastity. Someone you see at Mass every week is most likely serious about their faith or they’d just sleep in on Sundays. Paid online classes are also good because they wouldn’t be paying money to study the faith if they weren’t serious about it. Catholic colleges are good for people in their late teens or early 20’s but be careful about which school you go to (some schools have professors trying to subvert the faith) and of course in college a lot of kids’ parents are paying for it so they might not be there by choice and could be intending to leave the faith as soon as they graduate. Lots of prayer and discernment are needed.

    By Stephanie | 5 years ago Reply
  33. I may get flack for this, but Olivia is right to dump him. The idea that people should abstain from sex until marriage is naive and misguided. Most people engage in premarital sex because they want to see if they are sexually compatible with each other. Not having sex before marriage is very risky. You try marrying someone you are not sexually compatible with — good luck with that — your marriage won’t last.

    Remember, sexual compatibility will always trumps religious belief.

    By Raymond | 5 years ago Reply
  34. He chooses shallow women who don’t have boundaries. If you wait on gods timing everything is perfect. Getting to know someone and abstaining is a beautiful thing and once you are married then you can enjoy the spoils of intimacy which the lord intended for two people to enjoy wholly in the sanctity of marriage.

    By Lindsey | 5 years ago Reply
    • It’s not always perfect for everyone. I waited on God’s timing and look where it got me. I’m 63 years old and still single (and bitter as well).

      By Winston | 5 years ago Reply
  35. I agree no sex before marriage! Great job to all that do that you will be Blessed.And the ones trying and are having a hard time or maybe failing you can do it spend time with God in prayers and set boundrys where your week. If need to dont see each other as much. You know if your relationship involves french kissing you will more than likely end up having sex, its like pouring gas on a fire, the more gas the more fire. Eventually your gonna get burned. God bless you.

    By chester | 5 years ago Reply
  36. This article touches base with me on a lot of points. I believe that love doesn’t have to be physical. It can be spiritual, mental and emotional love as well. True love is when your partner can connect with you on all of those levels. If both of you can, then you know that you have found “the one”. And if the girl’s “attractive”, then it’s only a bonus

    By Chris Pham | 5 years ago Reply
  37. Interesting. .. too bad Tebow and his family believe Catholics go straight to hell…

    By Kelly | 5 years ago Reply
  38. It all comes down to one thing: You must be equally yoked! Look it up…

    By Laurel Adams | 5 years ago Reply
  39. To the author: there is a major error of perception in this article, which you have copied from the perception of the press reports. Tim Tebow did not ‘get dumped.’ Tebow and the Miss Universe girl (whose history strongly suggests she takes pride in taking Christian mens’ virginity – look it up), broke up because he stuck to his agenda, rather than shift to hers. Therefore, the relationship ended on his terms, not hers; therefore she got dumped by him. The highly sexualised, feminised press machine cannot allow Miss Universe to lose face in order to promote Tebow’s behaviour, so they misrepresented it as Tebow getting dumped – as did you. Otherwise, nice article.

    By Alexander Shaw | 5 years ago Reply
  40. As far as I’m concerned we are talking about two classes of humans here. I will not bother to label them. I would be hard pressed to believe she has not had several sex partners.

    By Paul hutchison | 5 years ago Reply
  41. I loved reading this article! Especially enjoyed point #2, “For the sake of the entire world’s welfare, please suck it up.” haha! Also loved how you quoted Saint Josemaria Escriva.

    By Giana | 5 years ago Reply
  42. Kudos to he rare breed of people who save sex before marriage (and monogamy)! If only everyone would follow suit, we wouldn’t worry about STD at all. God bless y’all!

    By Beth | 5 years ago Reply

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