First off I'd like to say that I'm a huge fan of your articles on Boundless. They're great. I'm actually emailing you about one of them, your article "Just Us."
When I read your article I found myself in a very similar situation. In your article you talk about pursuing your wife for around two months only to find out she wasn't ready to commit. My situation: I met this awesome girl over the summer, and we really hit it off. At the end of the summer I brought up what would happen when we went home (we live in different states over a thousand miles apart) and she said that she felt God was telling her that He didn't want her in a relationship right now.
Since then we have talked about once a week or so, and our friendship has really grown, but now I want to bring up that question again. Do you have any advice? From your article I think you understand my frustration. Any help?
Thanks for the kind words, and yes, I do understand your frustration.
The key difference between my story and yours is that my (now) wife and I were only separated by a five-hour drive, not a 15- to 20-hour drive. That meant weekend trips were not out of the question, and I made many of them, and so did she.
You, on the other hand, must consider very seriously the distance handicap. As you read in my article, spending time together was a very important objective of mine. Of course we spent hours and hours on the phone, but I also made it a point to be face-to-face as much as I could.
Another difference between my story and yours is that my wife was fine with the relationship, but wasn't quite sure she was ready for an exclusive dating relationship poised toward courtship. I didn't have to convince her to be interested in me; I just had to rise above any other possibilities.
Your friend, on the other hand, has at least said that God has led her not to have any relationship right now. That's a different matter.
It's a little like wanting to dance with a girl. If she's at the dance, then chances are she's there to dance. The only question is whether she wants to dance with me. However, if she's really not into dancing right now, that's a different hill to overcome.
My wife wanted to dance; she just wasn't sure I was the only one with whom she wanted to dance at the moment. My task, with God's guidance, was to keep her on the floor with me and gently lead her in our dance together. If I passively stood against the wall while others cut in on us, she might have interpreted that as disinterest on my part.
Here's what you need to figure out: Does she want to dance at all? If so, would she consider getting out on the dance floor with you a few times? If you get green lights on those questions, then you just keep gently moving forward.
Here's something else to consider. Sometimes a girl who is at the dance gets asked to dance by a guy with whom she really isn't interested in dancing. She might, with good intentions of not hurting his poor feelings, say she's not there to dance, or as actually happened to me once, say she has just eaten a big meal and is letting her food settle.
Food settling had nothing to do with it. She wanted to dance, just not with me.
I have no reason to doubt your friend's sincerity about her conviction not to be in a relationship right now. And given that you seemed to have hit it off well this past summer leaves me no reason to think you're the issue. Just keep in mind, though, she might be trying to spare your feelings. If you're summer relationship remained at the "good friend" level, she might just want it to keep it right there.
I'd spend a good bit of time in prayer about this. If you get the sense that God is moving you forward, then I'd say something like this (you'll say it much better than this, but you get the idea):
You'd mentioned at the end of the summer that God was leading you to not be in a dating-type relationship for the time being. I appreciated your honesty, and I've really tried to honor that conviction. The time we've spent getting to know each other a little better since then has only confirmed what I already knew, that you are really a wonderful person and someone I'd like to be more serious with. Do you still feel the same about a relationship? I've prayed about this for some time, and I believe that at the very least I needed to bring it up to see where you are on it. I know that distance is a real issue, but I'm willing to work to overcome that challenge as best I can. You don't have to give me an answer right away. Take some time to think and pray if you need to, and I'll keep doing the same.
Don't get caught up in making your logical case; just share from your heart and ask her to do the same.
Some variation of that conversation will help you figure out whether she wants to dance and whether she wants to dance with you. If she still says "no thanks," then you probably need to decide whether to stay at this particular dance (to belabor an analogy to death). Only you can know how much time you want to invest asking someone onto the dance floor who has repeatedly declined. There is initiating, and there is stalking. Make sure you're doing the former.
Copyright 2008 John Thomas. All rights reserved.