Lady in Waiting

Sad guy holding a bouquet of flowers on a bench in a parkDear Christian Counselor,

I’ve actually just started getting serious about my faith. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years now, no sex involved, and I am not ready, but my boyfriend has been none too discreet with the fact that he’s ready for it. I know I won’t be ready until after we’re married. How do I explain this to my boyfriend, I mean he has been waiting for so long?

Confused


Dear Confused,

This question won’t even matter if you both are not on the same page spiritually. Your common ground, first and foremost, must be your faith in Jesus Christ. Is this man a Christian as you are? If the answer to that is no, then you have a battle with Truth in being unequally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14). If the answer is a resounding yes, then you have Scripture to guide your sexuality (see, for example, 1 Cor. 7:32-36). If this man is a respecter of Jesus and the Word of God then he will wait until marriage for the glory of God and the ultimate good of the relationship.  We follow the commands of Scripture because they are good for us; to disobey or ignore them would bring pain and hardship for you. It is healthy for your relationship to face this head on and see where he stands in regard to Truth. You need to know.

— Karen


Related Articles:

Why Wait for Sex?  Focus on the Family
Worth the Wait Video from a real groom
A Scientific Perspective WebMD

Jealousy: a Monster in Your Relationship

Iconic Emotions: Jealous

Photo credit: Samit Roy

Dear Christian Counselor:

I have been married for almost 6 yrs. My husband loves God, but he tends to get extremely jealous. He has asked me not to talk to men at my work, one in particular, but my position requires me to interact with ALL the staff equally. This man has never disrespected me or made any inappropriate comments. He knows I love my husband and am a faithful wife. This became such an issue that I lied to my husband and told him that I was no longer speaking to that coworker since it always ended up in an argument. He recently found out and is saying that he can no longer trust me. He wants me to change the way I dress (I dress modestly) and to not be so “giggly.” He drills me everyday to see if I have talked to that coworker, asks me if anyone has hit on me and checks my phone.  When I try to confront him about it, he tells me that wives should submit to their husbands. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Please help me. What should I do?

Confused and Controlled


Dear Confused and Controlled:

I have to be honest and say that I feel for both of you. Your husband is dealing with a case of fear which borders on phobia. It makes me wonder if there is anything in his past which initiated this anxiety. It’s not personal; it’s about things going on inside him. But it does impact you, and there’s little you can do to solve it by yourself. That’s frustrating.

I’d advise you to attack this problem on two fronts. First, learn what you can from your husband. The way men perceive women is very different from the way women perceive women. There may be a kernel of truth in your husband’s fears. Where could you honestly tone down your wardrobe and your personality with other men? Is there an older woman you respect whose objective advice you might request? Marriage is all about making compromises, and, frankly, it is more important to love your husband well than it is to make an attractive impression on others. However, I am not suggesting that you do this out of lifeless duty but out of life-giving love. If you see it as some sort of punishment, you will resent it. But if you CHOOSE to give, prayerfully, to Jesus and your mate, it will bring you real joy.

Second, I’d encourage you to make an appointment with an experienced Christian counselor. If your husband will go with you, all the better. If he will not, go anyway. You need to find your worth and beauty in Christ despite your husband’s jealousy, and he needs to work on this unreasonable anxiety. You both need to learn better communication skills so that you can stay on the same team even when you are struggling. It would be wonderful if he could learn to say, “Honey, I know this is hard for you to hear, but I am really struggling with jealousy right now.” And it would be equally wonderful if you could reply, “Thank you for telling me that. I’m so sorry. Let’s ask God what each of us can do to make this better.”


Related articles:

Eliminating Jealousy in Your Marriage (Crosswalk)
Jealousy in Relationships (FaithVillage)

It’s Not Easy

We’d really like life to be easy, wouldn’t we? I know I would. We’d like to be married to someone with telepathy who only lived to please us. We’d like to parent children who resembled cuddly robots, executing our every command and over-achieving our goals for them. We’d like to find fulfillment in excellent, creative work, accomplished in about two hours a day with a minimum of sweat and no actual frustration. We’d like to be wise without being old, to grow strong without working out and to acquire several languages in our sleep. We’d like to be loved in every relationship, fully supported and understood, without conflict or confusion or struggle. Because we live in a broken world, it just doesn’t work that way. But we know God better as a result.

Noah's ArkThe Bible story of Noah and the Ark can be found in Genesis 6-9. You will also find it illustrated in pastel colors on nursery walls everywhere. The dove has come to symbolize peace, in large part, because of this narrative. And the rainbow has been used to represent the beauty and variety of Creation in all its forms. We’d like the story to be that easy, but it just doesn’t work that way. The story of Noah is a horrific story of evil, terror and destruction. The word “peace” isn’t found in these chapters, and the rainbow is a weapon of war. The story of Noah isn’t God’s offer to live in peace with mankind. It’s God’s covenant to live at enmity with mankind.

Peace for God would mean flooding the world constantly, purging every bit of sin, suffering and rebellion from the planet. But in Genesis 8:21 He agrees not to act on His righteous impulse. God agrees that He will suffer the continued existence of evil and sin in order to save a few – hence the bow which is aimed at Heaven. The same principle is illustrated again in the Genesis 18 story of Sodom when God agrees not to destroy the city for the sake of only a few. This idea comes to full fruition in Jesus Christ. God is willing to suffer the sins of the many for the sake of the One. He is willing to live in discord with the entirety of Creation for the sake of His Son and those who find salvation in Him. What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory? (Rom. 9:22-23)

Every time we are subject to frustration and conflict, we know God a little better. Every time we forebear the difficulty of living in a broken world, we reflect His patience. Every time we cultivate the ground despite its thorns, fight for integrity in a world of deceit, love a difficult spouse, child, friend or enemy who doesn’t really appreciate us, we look a little more like God Himself. We look a little more like the Father who agreed to live in long-suffering enmity with the world in order to save some, like the Son whose work was to bear the sins of His brothers, constructing their lifeboat from His own body, and like the Holy Spirit, that peaceful dove who nests with violent, broken people that they might know His power for living. Now let’s go show that kind of love to this damaged world. It won’t be easy.