To Be or Not to Be… Kind

Dear Christian Counselor,

My boyfriend just told me that I was getting on his nerves by saying, “Justin Bieber is cute, oh Usher is amazing,“ a couple of times to make him smile and laugh. And it’s normal for girls to say that kind of stuff. But instead he said I hurt his feelings again. I don’t know what to do.

Emily


Dear Emily,

I think your boyfriend has been pretty clear about what he would like you to do. The real question is why you don’t want to do it. When someone you care about asks you to stop hurting them, the kind response is to stop. What do you care about MORE than your boyfriend which makes you tease him this way? Is it being cool, knowing he is jealous about you, keeping some distance in your relationship or something else? Once you figure out why you don’t want to be kind to him, then you need to make a decision about whether that reason is really more important than he is. And if it is, then you probably shouldn’t be his girlfriend.

Postponing Love

A couple of 14-carat gold wedding rings. Pictu...

Dear Christian Counselor,

 

I’m looking for the most thorough, rigorous Christian premarital counseling book that you’re aware of. I need recommendations for a Christian couple that’s recklessly rushing towards marriage after spending very little time together. They’re determined to hold their wedding asap, but they’re also very open to premarital counseling and any books we recommend to them. I’m looking for a book that challenges naivete and the fairy tale they’ve spun for themselves about the necessity to get married now, without experiencing each other over time.  Many thanks!

 

Dana

 


 

Dear Dana,

 

This couple is blessed to have such a caring friend, and they may need your friendship more in the months to come if they are rushing into marriage. Before I address your question, I’d like to address your underlying fear. While there is some evidence to indicate that a longer dating relationship gives marriage a better chance of success, it is far from the only factor. The Bible does not presume that a bride and groom even KNOW one another before they marry. It gives them the same advice as it gives couples in longer dating relationships: to love and respect one another (Col. 3:18-19), not to divorce (Matt. 19:1-6) and to work as a team to build God’s Kingdom (Ps. 45). If both spouses love Jesus and are even more committed to Him than they are to each other, that will give them the strength, wisdom and grace they need to create a loving partnership. Other factors, such as their cultural value systems, family support, income and communication styles are also very important, and those are things that should come out in premarital counseling. But be warned: I have tried to talk people into postponing marriage with very little success. Those in love are thinking not primarily with their heads, but with their hearts filtered through Cupid’s chemicals. Give them all your best advice, but in the end, YOU must trust God for His work in their lives – through a happy marriage or an unhappy one.

 

While I know of no resource which deliberately bursts young love’s balloon, there are some books below that I would recommend, in no particular order. I would also recommend that the couple talk with a pastor or counselor who is trained in premarital work, someone who can speak into their lives with compassion and wisdom. May God guide them – and you, too, as you walk alongside them.

 

Thing I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman

(Contains exercises and discussion questions.)

 

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller

(Covers the basics of Christian marriage thoroughly.)

 

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (A different, deeper perspective on marriage.)

 

Preparing for Marriage by Boehi, et al.

(Contains worksheets on decision-making and relationship evaluation for engaged couples.)

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