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My Beautiful Woman,

Ever since we started dating, I have really enjoyed our time together.  You are a fabulous person, and I admire so many things about you, and am excited about our potential future every time I think of it.

But we aren’t there yet.  I am not yet your husband.  You aren’t my wife.  Can we agree not to treat the other as if we were?

This is very counter-cultural, but I need you to understand that in order for marriage to be special, it has to be distinct from dating.  Distinct in ways OTHER than sex and living together, which has become the one way Christians try to date differently.  I think we need more.

When we first started dating, we started spending a lot of time together.  That has been fantastic, but let’s ensure that we spend LESS time together now than we would if we were married.  Let’s not share all of our deep secrets and thoughts, let’s not eat all of our meals together, and let’s certainly not combine finances.  Those things need to all be different in marriage than now as we lead up to marriage, and I don’t see much of a middle step.

For the most part, girls can be pretty good about not treating their male friends like boyfriends (although there are confusing aspects of that as well), but as soon as we DTR they are COMPLETELY in.  Although it makes us boyfriends feel like Hercules, I don’t think this is the best.  We take cues from our hearts and our hearts take cues from our emotions.  When you treat me like a husband, wanting me to protect and provide for you as a wife (not financially, but emotionally or spiritually), it makes my heart think we are married.  My heart starts spreading the news to… other parts of my body, and before you know it we are in trouble.

I can support you, but I can’t be your main support, not yet.  You can cry on my shoulder, but not every time.  I can pray with you and over you, but not much more than I do for my friends.  Once we are married, absolutely.  I will strap on the full armor every day (with fail, because I am not perfect) and pray against whatever you need, baby, and my shoulder is your Kleenex.  But not yet.

We need a middle step, dear.  I am sorry I have wanted that deep relational intimacy and drawn us too close, but I am trying to define something in the middle.  Please help.  I think you can see it is for the best.

Not-yet-fully-yours,

A Christian Boyfriend

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