My boyfriend and I have been seriously dating for three months, and we are very sure it is the Lord’s will for us to get married. At the beginning of the relationship he pursued me, but now I feel like he is just comfortable and knows I'm not going anywhere. So now all we do is sit at home on his couch. I no longer feel pursued, and if this is happening at three months it scares me to look at us in three years. What should I do? How do I get him to pursue me again?
Thank you for your letter. Your frustration and anxiety are understandable, and I’m glad you wrote to ask about a way forward.
Deciding if the man you’re dating has the potential to be your husband should be both fun and purposeful. The point at which you are convinced the man you’re dating is the Lord’s provision for a husband, is the point when you should increase your efforts, not relax them. It is concerning that you’re spending so much time just sitting around. But if all you did was go out on exciting dates and seek out entertainment — with never a quiet conversation about where you’re heading, what you believe, or God’s purpose for your lives as revealed in Scripture — I would be equally concerned.
There should be joy in discovering whom God has made the other to be, as well as prayer, searching the Scriptures, and seeking the input of older believers. Whether this happens in a restaurant, or on a couch, your goal should be to discern if you both have godly character and if the two of you are a good match.
If it is the Lord’s will for you to marry, then both of you should want to pursue growth in godliness, increasing in maturity and commitment as you prepare to take on the new roles and responsibilities of a godly husband and wife (Ephesians 5:13-33). This is the pursuit that matters most, and it takes great effort and intentionality. The way you have described your relationship does not, at face value, fit that description.
To begin, I have a few questions for you: What does “serious dating” look like? How do you know it’s the Lord’s will for you to marry? Have you made a commitment to each other in light of this belief? What do you mean by “pursue”?
Obviously I don’t have the benefit of a two-way conversation so I’ll have to guess your answers based on what you’ve shared. I suspect that by “serious dating” you mean you are dating exclusively, and that although you’ve told each other you want to marry each other — so much so that you’re convinced it is God’s will — you’re not yet engaged. And so here you are, acting like everything is settled, but not taking intentional steps to get there. It is as if you have the routine of married life, but none of the security that comes with a covenant of marriage. And because the routine you’re living is lackluster, you’re scared that if you do marry, life together will be boring at best.
When one of our kids comes running to tattle on one of the others, I ask one key question, “What did you do wrong?” He is typically so focused on what the other did to upset him, or on how something was unfair to him, that he fails to see his fault in the situation. But conflict in relationship is always two-sided.
It is always easier to see your side of the story — to identify what he’s doing wrong — than it is to see the wrong you’re doing to him (see Luke 6:42). I’m not saying your boyfriend doesn’t need to make some changes. I suspect he does. But God will hold you accountable for your actions and attitudes.
Though you can’t change him, you can act in godly ways that have the potential to influence him. This is one of the great gifts given to women. God made us to be helpers (Genesis 2:18). So ask yourself, how can I help him embrace and advance in godly manhood marked by responsibility and leadership?
The first way is to know, yourself, what biblical manhood looks like. What is it he should be striving for? Dr. Albert Mohler helpfully explains the marks of manhood in this important Boundless article. At the same time, you need to understand and pursue biblical womanhood in your own life. This is best done within a faithful church family. I would also commend to you Carolyn Mahaney’s book Feminine Appeal, and Gary Thomas's Sacred Influence.
You cannot make him stop sitting around. You’re right to be concerned, but you’re also free to get up and get moving. Suggest you do something other than stay home on the couch: you could read a book together, volunteer, serve people in your church, go for a bike ride or run, take a hike, pack a picnic. The range of purposeful activities is broad. And it doesn't have to be expensive.
In addition, seek the input of an older married couple. Ask your pastor for help. And pray. Then observe what he does. This will be an important test of his ability to step up and lead should you marry him. Until you have clarity about his ability and willingness to take initiative and not take your relationship for granted, you should reconsider your certainty that you’ve discovered the Lord’s will.
I pray the Lord will guide you.
Copyright Candice Watters 2016. All rights reserved.