I need your advice. I am in a co-ed small group with other believers, both marrieds and singles, my same age. I am developing a strong attraction to the leader and it appears he may be interested in me. Obviously, I will wait for him to take the initiative. In the meantime (or forever), should I leave the group if it becomes distracting for me? Or give it some time and try to refocus?
What an exciting time this must be for you. I well remember and loved the feeling I had when I first suspected that a romantic connection was building between Steve and me. One of the best things about our meeting is that we were both classmates in the same graduate program, and therefore were together for many hours each week in settings both formal and casual. We had lots of varied opportunities to observe the other's personality, temperament and character.
Though a small group setting isn't nearly as extensive or all consuming as an academic one, it nevertheless gives you the chance to grow in your knowledge of one another without the intensity and pressure of one-on-one dates (those may come later). And that makes it a big plus. If you are both of marrying age and if you are both, by biblical standards, available for marriage, then I think this has potential. Add some mentoring from an older married couple in the church and you'll be doing even better.
Of course you'll be distracted. That's the nature of falling in love — ever read Song of Solomon? Those two seemed to have time to think of little else. Granted, they were about to be married, but still, life is full of exciting adventures that distract us from what we're supposed to be focusing on in the moment. The key is to not let it overtake you. Being distracted and still participating in the study in a meaningful way are not mutually exclusive.
I would definitely not leave the study group. Why walk away from such a great opportunity to spend productive and chaperoned (by the other group members) time together? That assumes, of course, that you can keep your head and heart in the study enough to continue being an active participant in the group. And if things don't progress to dating, you will have spared yourself the hassle of leaving the group only to now be out of it for no reason. Best to stay the course and see how God might use the opportunities it creates.
A few guidelines are in order should things progress to dating: no public displays of affection and no behavior that will make the others in the group uncomfortable. Also, you must not do anything to undermine or distract from his leadership. The ideal would be that your relationship with each other be an uplifting part of the group — that everyone would benefit from your kindness toward each other (yours and the young man's) and be inspired by your example of a godly courtship.
That's not to say you won't have butterflies all the while you're sitting there watching him lead. That's natural! As long as you can do it without gushing or being sappy, you'll be fine. Keep in mind that you're not only there to get to know him, but to grow in Christian fellowship with all the participants. It's great that you'll be able to look forward to regular times where you know you'll see him and be able to observe his character.
I wish you all the best,
Copyright 2007 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.