This may not be a big deal, but it's been bothering me for a while, and I don't know if I should address this or not. My fiancé and I have been dating for a little over a year and a half, and we've set a timeframe on when we will get married. We serve at our church and help out with the youth, we take classes there together, and we attend the services and the fellowship afterwards. And we are in the process of taking the video classes required to get married.
I am not a jealous person, and I don't mind my fiancé talking to members of the opposite sex. But I've noticed one member in particular who is in one of the classes with us. I greet her, and I've tried to talk to her. Though she never seems to acknowledge me, she usually does acknowledge my fiancé. I don't know if she knows that we're engaged, but it always seems as if she's flirting with him or she's trying to get him by himself to talk to him.
I've been praying about this, and I really don't want this to bother me, but each day we see her, she always approaches my fiancé to talk to him, but she never pays any mind to me. I don't know what to do about it. The way she's been acting toward him, it seems like she is really interested in him.
Is there a way I can address this? Possibly tell her that we are in fact engaged and that she should keep her distance? I don't think my fiancé even notices, but he usually just keeps the conversation short, and I know if I were to bring it up, I might come out to sound like I'm the jealous type. Would it be wrong of me to ask my fiancé to tell her that we are engaged?
I will continue praying about this and thinking about it before bringing it up before my fiancé or even my pastor.
I'm so glad that even though you think this isn't a big deal, you chose to write. There are several things about your situation that make me think it is.
The first is that you say you're engaged but that someone in your church community is apparently unaware of that fact. Are there any outward signs of your upcoming marriage? Do you have an engagement ring? Have you set a date? Did your family, friends and mentors celebrate your engagement with a party or other formal recognition? All of these are an important part of supporting you and your fiancé as you move toward becoming one on your wedding day. That's not to say you need a certain size diamond on your left hand, but that external symbols of commitment are important.
The most obvious sign of the covenant you've promised to make is the way you relate to one another. It should be different from how you relate to everyone else. As you undoubtedly know, we're convinced here at Boundless that engagement shouldn't be a green light for the kind of physical affection that is reserved for marriage, but that his attentions and affections toward you should be distinct from his interactions with other women. So much so that newcomers to your class or congregation would be able to tell that the two of you are uniquely linked.
What might that look like? It might be the way he holds your hand or puts his arm protectively around your shoulders, or the fact that the two of you arrive at and depart church functions together. But more distinctly, it's the way the two of you talk with each other. It should naturally be more intimate and set apart than how he talks with anyone else. Maybe the better way to say it is if he talks to you the same way he talks to all the other girls, then he's not acting like your fiancé. Thankfully you said that's not the case.
Still, it's concerning that you sense a single woman is trying to relate to him as if she's attracted to him. Once a couple is engaged, it's important for their community of friends to relate to them as a couple. And that's an expectation that both you and he need to uphold. In this case, I do think it's appropriate to talk to him about your concerns. You sound worried that you'll come across as jealous. But keep in mind that not all jealousy is the same. Or even wrong.
There's the bad kind, like when Joseph's brothers' jealousy led them to sell him into slavery, or when Solomon said, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones," and the kind about which God said, "You shall not covet ... anything that belongs to your neighbor."
And then there's the good and appropriate kind — the kind that describes the nature of God as "a consuming fire, a jealous God," as well as the nature of marital love: "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame."
You should want to preserve the uniqueness of your relationship with your fiancé — it's essential practice for how you'll relate to each other and outsiders once you're married. What you don't want to be is paranoid. But jealousy for his undiluted loyalty and affection is natural and by design, part of the covenant that keeps a marriage strong and helps it withstand temptation.
I suggest that you talk to your fiancé first. And do have this conversation. Don't delay it. If it's bothering you, you need to be able to discuss it. Not emotionally or accusatorily, but in a mature, rational fashion. There are boundaries she should not be crossing.
Hopefully he will see the validity of what you're saying and together you can agree on the best way to handle future encounters with this woman. If he doesn't see it or says you're being too sensitive or paranoid, that would be the time to bring your pastor or mentors in on the conversation for some objective advice. Though these conversations can seem uncomfortable, even awkward, they're exactly what the engagement period is designed to provide: opportunities to ensure that the two of you are a good match, equally committed to forging a lifelong marriage that will benefit both of you while bringing honor and glory to God.
I pray He will guide you.
Copyright 2008 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.