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I have been in a great relationship with my boyfriend for three years. I can’t picture myself with anyone but him. Recently, many of my friends have either gotten engaged, gotten married, or had babies. I feel like I am the odd woman out. I am eager to get married and continue the next stage of my life.
When I discuss marriage with my boyfriend, he usually says, “Patience is a virtue,” and leaves it at that. I want to speed things up, but I don’t want to pressure him in any way. Is it realistic for me to yearn to be married to the love of my life or am I simply just falling into peer pressure and wanting to fit in with everyone?
Dear Miss E-$,
Is it realistic to yearn to be married to the love of your life? Of course! The only way it could be “peer pressure” is if you were lying about your love for him and the health of your relationship so everyone would support your marriage.
If you speak the truth, then your desire is normal.
My guess at your boyfriend’s brain:
1) He says “patience is a virtue” because he has the ring and the plans to propose, but is trying to throw you off so it’s more of a surprise.
2) He doesn’t feel ready to get married but doesn’t know how to communicate that because he fears you will think it means he doesn’t care about you. When you are in a “shoulder to shoulder” setting, you could calmly say something like, “I was thinking about the times I have brought up the topic of marriage recently and you simply say, ‘Patience is a virtue.’ I want to make sure you aren’t feeling pressured by me in any way. Do you feel that way?”
Shhhhh….Miss Eazy-E, give him time to respond. See what he says.
It’s valid to want to know whether the person you’re dating foresees the relationship headed down the path that you see it headed down. This can and should be a calm, light-hearted adult conversation.
You just need to be prepared for the answer.
My guess is that he isn’t indifferent, but for whatever reason feels like he needs to get some ducks in a row first. Listen to his reasons and try to understand them. Many men want to make sure they can provide and take care of their future family. If this is his feeling, but you think, “Oh, that doesn’t matter! We will take care of each other! This is 2011 for crying out loud,” the way you can say that more effectively could be this:
“I am so honored that you want to make sure you can take care of us before we get married. It makes me feel valued. I want you to know that because of your concern in this area, I have no doubt that our family will always be a priority to you. Thank you. But please know, I am really ready to start this lifelong partnership with you whenever you are! Talking about future finances, career, and family are things I value talking about because I really want to know your thoughts and insight, not because I want to pressure you.”
See how that goes, Miss Eager!
From my heart,
P.S. This is technically an “Ask Joy, Ask’s YOU” but I got carried away. What would YOU tell Little Miss Eager to do?
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Ok, SO I am going to ask an honest question, are you two sleeping together already? Unfortunately now a days there are plenty of “Christian” couples that are shacking up and sleeping together. Aside from the #1 important reason why we wait till marriage, Because God tells us too, another reason could be that Your boyfriend is getting everything he needs so why truly commit, why marry. unfortunatly when my husband and I got together we were not serving the Lord, he was getting his cake and eating it to, he was in no hurry to marry, in the process of our dating we both came to the Lord and at that point great conviction came on him about marriage and playing house, God told him to “Be a man” and marry her. 9 weeks later we were married after three years of dating, but it took God to convict and convince. I know you love him, but Honestly, have you saught the Lord, is your boyfriend God’s perfect will for YOU. Earnestly seek God about this, pray for your boyfriend, god will work it out.
Good advice, Joy! I married one of those “patience is virtue” guys, and I was pretty cranky about it for the couple years I had to wait. I had crushed on him for about 5 years before he got on board, and I was ready to say “I do” the very night he decided he “liked” me. But because I had been friends with him for so long, I knew that if I started to hint, that would turn into pressure which would turn into manipulation, and there’s NO way that would have turned out well for either of us.
I think waiting on your guy and trusting his timing (assuming his character is good in other aspects of his life) is just the first step in learning to trust your spouse, and dare I say learning to submit to someone else’s judgement. Giving up control of the timing of your life is definitely difficult, but it’s really worth it. I’m the kind of gal who doesn’t like ANYONE telling me what to do (including God) and as hard as it is it admit it, learning to wait on my husband taught me so much more about how to wait on God.
Miss E, I’m sure your guy knows how badly you want to be married. And I promise you that, when that time comes for you, he will honor you and shower you with praise for being so patient and gracious while you waited. And your wedding day will be full of the joy that can only come when two people come to the altar freely. Waiting is difficult, but it’s MUCH easier than wondering for the rest of your life whether you inadvertently pressured him into doing something he wasn’t comfortable with.
I’m sure that sometimes you worry that you’re letting him take advantage of you. I think that’s just a product of our independent spirits. I felt that, too. But if he’s treating you with kindness and displays his desire for your well-being in other areas of your relationship, I don’t think you need to feel duped.
All the best to you, Miss E. Waiting is tough work, but if he’s worth the wait, you’ll get so much more back than you had to give during this waiting season.
Oh, Miss E…you are me from 10 years ago. (Man alive, I’m ancient!)
Here’s my word to you: Don’t Rush This Time Away.
The dating time is such a sweet phase of the relationship. It’s a time of preparation for that eventual marriage. I know it’s hard to wait (oh my goodness, I know). So, how about you rethink this.
Don’t think about this as “waiting”. Think about it as anticipation. You’re looking forward to the good things that are coming for your relationship. The difference is this; waiting means you’re missing out on all the awesome that is happening now. Anticipation is taking it all in and enjoying the journey.
Journey? Ugh. Nice self-help word.
But you know what I’m saying. Right?
Blessings as you enjoy the sweetness of this relationship!
Joy, you gave a good answer. Another item I would add is that Miss Eager and her boyfriend should consider biblical, pre-engagement counseling. This will help to clarify expectations and compatibilities in a safe environment. Good pre-engagement counseling not only helps each person learn more about the other, but also helps them to learn more about themselves as well.
My wife and I offer Christian pre-engagement counseling in our office or via Skype and we write a blog for people in her stage of life at http://preengaged.com. If she’s interested in us providing her pre-engagement counseling, she can find more information at our blog.
We love your dad’s work and assign Love and Respect as required reading to many of our couples!
Joy’s answers are true! Those are valid reasons (to blue) to say “be patient”. I think you should also hear him gently preaching to you that he cares for your soul. That he doesn’t have the authority to say much because he’s not your husband, but as a reminder, impatience is coveting and making an idol out of something other than God (in an ironic, very devilish twist). Rejoice that this man desires to rebuke you softly in this way.
Now, that’s certainly a “best case scenario” and could be fully wrong. Please beware of covetousness and idolatry that manifests itself in impatience. Do you want to be the wife who must replace appliance X the hour that it goes out, or are you willing to let him go to the parts store, buy 3 sets of items (knowing only one will work) and letting him take the time to educate himself so that he can fix it (…it could take weeks)? Point is, guys are slower to get things in order. Yeah, dependence is a learned thing and slightly dangerous in a relationship where there’s no engagement (but I’m assuming a properly mature, non-sexual relationship).
There’s nothing wrong with telling him how things are in your mind. I think the thing to convey to him is that there is no doubt of his level of commitment. Just tell him: A) I have been conditioned to covet marriage B) I dig you and am ready to commit to a life of service to you C)Due to A + B I’m struggling to enjoy being patient as you prepare yourself ,but point B still stands D) I just need you to talk me down a little bit and re-assure me that this is what we’re working towards.
Assuming Michelle’s suspicion is correct, and you’re sharing a bed, scratch everything else I’ve said. Let me share my own experience: As a much dumber person, it took me longer to shift out of my “independence” mode of being a bachelor, to taking a wife. I enjoyed dating my wife, but one morning it finally just hit me, I don’t want to be away from her, ever. In a moment, it hit me and I was no longer calculating all the ways that it could go wrong, or that I should be guarded. God just flipped the switch and I wanted to take care of her. There was much to do (needed to finish building house…and we still washed dishes in the bathtub for many weeks after our marriage because we didn’t have the kitchen sink installed yet). I’m not saying that’s how it works for all guys, but it CAN happen that way. I say all of that to say this: If you’re already sharing a bed, you are stunting God’s design. Physically he will be drawn to you, of course. While this should not be a primary motivator for him to marry you, it can be a primary discourage-ment. It basically keeps his mind in a fog and he won’t think much about the things you want him to think about. Now, having said that, please hear this: IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO MOTIVATE HIM. Playing games and trying to provoke him to the emotion where he says “I could lose her forever, and I don’t want that, so I better marry her tonight”, is a double black diamond Danger! Danger! Danger! strategy. Can I be more clear on this point about my point, about a story? Don’t let your impatience, covetous idolatry make you detonate everything good you’ve got going on.
Those are the do’s and the don’t – do’s of your situation, based on my assumptions.
Sorry JE, I got carried away.
I know this is kind of late, but I have to throw my differing opinion in here.
She has been in a relationship for three years, desires marriage, and her boyfriend brushes her off whenever she broaches the marriage subject? Time to make some hard decisions. It sounds like the young man has no intentionality and doing a great disservice to her and displaying immaturity by avoiding the “M” word. Three years is too long to allow the relationship to go on without any direction and I think she’s proven she’s “patient.” My opinion would have been much different had the relationship only been, say, a year old. But three? C’mon.
Eager (which you are not), you need to have a serious talk with your love. Ask him plainly if he wants to marry you and what his timeline is. Him responding with “patience is a virtue” is a red herring and say that. You two NEED to discuss this like adults, but if he won’t, maybe he’s not for you. If he won’t talk hard things through now with maturity, how will he when he’s your husband? Even if he is planning to pop the question, like Joy mentioned, he can still talk about it. Do you want to be in a relationship going nowhere? Make sure it has a direction, sooner rather than later.