Saturday, December 5, 2009

Marriage: A Business Transaction.

Are you in love?  Unfortunately, heightened emotions can cloud your better judgment and lead to poor decision-making and lots of heartache on the flip side of things.  Is your guy really who he says he is?  How can you be sure?

There's no real litmus test for determining whether your suitor is really all he appears to be.  I find it humorous (and vaguely disturbing) the number of Google searches that are made by anxious girlfriends, in an attempt to discover if their boyfriend is the Antichrist.  I mean, really.  If you think you're dating the Antichrist, that just might be a red flag.  Run -- okay?

In all seriousness, however, you need to know who your guy is.  And you can't just figure that out by asking the people who love him most.  However nice their complements, they're biased.  Bear in mind that if you meet him at school or college or work, he's out of context.  If at all possible, view his behavior around the people he's most familiar with.  Is he demanding?  Lazy?  Disrespectful?  Manipulative?  How do these people respond to him (and his behavior) in return?  Are they guarded?  Stressed?  Surprised (that he's so nice)?  Sarcastic?  Foul-mouthed?  It could be that he easily accepts these things (or returns the favor) when he's not in your presence.

What kinds of things does he rationalize?  His choice of reading materials?  Recreation?  Distasteful humor?  Friends?  Use of money?  Language?  Time management?  If he's rationalizing the grey areas now, it's only bound to get worse.

Committing to a lasting relationship is a big decision -- even for the best of us.  And you deserve to be informed.  Like a good friend of mine said, "Marriage is a business transaction.  All the mushy-gushy stuff is nice, but it's not important.  It's a business deal, plain and simple.  You need to know if you want to buy what they're selling and live with it, 'cause it's not going to change.  In fact, it's only going to get worse!"
   
When you buy a used car, one of the first questions you want to ask is if it's been in a wreck -- but why?  Because it's going to affect your life as its driver!  It might cause you a lot of grief and stress in the future.  So find out: what are they trying to hide and why?  Is there serious damage?  Baggage?  I'm not saying whether these things can be dealt with and reconciled or not (that's for another post).  I'm just saying, don't be afraid to ask questions.  Don't be afraid to poke around.  It's your life -- and you should know who you're going to have to spend it with.

Still, it's all very confusing.  What can be done?  A few things, maybe.  But two things, for sure:
  • First, hear the advice of those who love you (and who are also emotionally detached from the situation).  I think there's a quote about that.  "Hear the advice of those who love you, though you may not like it at present."  Or something like that.  It's a valuable tip.  There's a lot you can't see in the haze of feel-good-iness.  Trust the ones who love you most.

  • Second, pray every single day that the Lord will only let you be attracted to evidence of His Spirit in your guy's heart.  It's a prayer I've not forgotten to pray -- and it's a prayer I'll continue to pray.  If your guy is a true and Godly man, the attraction will follow.  In the meantime, don't be swayed by appearances or by smooth words.  Those things aren't going to last.  Character will.

58 comments:

Justin Scott said...

Hard words, but oh-so-true. Thanks for your boldness in speaking the truth.

MT said...

My question would be, is it fair to examine them thru bifocals? Whatever happened to the rosecolored glasses of courtesy?

Sherri said...

Hi Jenn! I think your advice is just as easily relevant to men as well as women. We all need to be seeking wisdom from others and praying for God's will to be done in our relationships (or else you end up divorced like me).

George said...

Harsh.

Jenn Joshua said...

MT and George:

Harsh, perhaps. I still maintain that you can't be careful enough. Love is *not* a feeling; it's a decision--and a commitment.

Why do we check out presidential candidates, for example, before we elect them? Because we're going to have to obey their laws and pay taxes to them and respect their authority.

If we disagree with their policies or question their integrity, that's a very good reason NOT to entrust our lives to them.

As long as you have a choice in the matter, I say, take it!

God bless!
Jenn

Kami said...

Good answer, except with presidential candidates, you can cast your vote, but sometimes they do get elected. With marriage (unless its an arranged marriage, lol) you can always have a say.

Liz said...

I don't think this is too harsh. No one is expecting perfection, but you can't be too careful. Especially for a girl - she is promising to follow this guy for the rest of her life!
The time you bring out the rose-colored glasses is after you are married!

Andrew said...

Ha ha nice. I like, I like. Unusual take but really true! I dated a girl for a while who turns out was seeing another guy at the same time. Oohh that hurt. You can never be too careful!

Anønymøus said...

Well, I think it's harsh. But it's not too harsh.

There are so many guys out there who are just out to satisfy themselves and don't care who they hurt or what they leave behind them.

The sad thing is that guys who genuinely love the girl can be blinded by their emotion and their desire to make the girl happy, and end up doing by mistake the same thing the first kind of guy does intentionally.

The worst part? The girl gets hurt and heartbroken both ways.

It's painfully easy for that to happen when the guy is unwilling or unable (or a combination of both) to get guidance or counsel from the authority that he should be trusting. And once that trust has been violated, the authorities will be even less willing to offer guidance or work with the guy, 'cause he looks like he's just being selfish.

The guy can't go to the girl, either; even if she is able to get over his mistakes, she'll feel like she's going against her authorities to reconcile with him. It might be hard enough to deal with baggage (like Jenn was talking about) without the girl having to feel trapped between someone she cares about and the people whose advice she wants to respect.

Both people have to seek God for their own life, and both people have to seek counsel diligently. Preferably from the same people, who know both of them and can relate to both of them. When that's impossible, things are doubly hard.

And pray, that it will be possible to tell the difference between mistakes in misplaced affection and selfish malice.

Nick said...

@ Anonymous. What the crap?? Maybe a guy who genuinely loves a girl would do that - but a guy who genuinely loves God [and is seeking him FIRST throughout]? I don't think so.

Also, can you explain your last paragraph? "And pray, that it will be possible to tell the difference between mistakes in misplaced affection and selfish malice." Huh?

Rock,
Nick

Anønymøus said...

Nick,

Thanks for your response.

Whose eyes are you viewing this through? Because from the girl's perspective or the parents' perspective, it looks the same either way.

Have you ever wanted so much to make someone happy that you said or did things that weren't wise because you thought they'd be glad? Ever?

And well, the last I checked, no one seeks God throughout. Even the most saintly believer is going to have blind spots. And what could create blind spots more easily than genuine love? People don't always do what's wise, because what's wise is sometimes (okay, often) hard. And sometimes it means denying joy to someone we love. If a guy isn't actively seeking and consistently receiving wise counsel, it doesn't matter how much time
he spends praying alone about things...he's going to have blind spots.

People who are immediately involved in a situation, especially an emotional one, are always going to have blind spots. You have to have wise, godly counsel working with both people in a relationship, or there will be serious mistakes.

The last paragraph? Well, pray. Pray that God will convict the hearts of His own. Pray that God will send wise counsel to help build up character and discover blind spots. That's the only way to tell the difference between someone who's genuine and someone who's playing.

Nick said...

OK, so I assume you're probably "George" since you reiterated the whole "harsh" thing? Hehe. And hmm, sounds like someone has an axe to grind - I dunno. ;)

Whose eyes am I viewing this through? My own, actually. LOL.

You asked have I ever wanted to make someone happy to the point where I did or said things that weren't wise? Hah, truth be told, I'm not much of a people pleaser LOL, but I understand what you're saying and to be fair I admit I've been guilty of that kind of compromise [on that kind of a scale or greater] in the past before I accepted Christ - and of COURSE I know I still do foolish things - every day in fact - "to err is to be human" yada yada - not trying to say I'm perfect by any means.

But there's a verse on this subject, Galatians 1:10 - "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." [ESV]

Plainly put, TRUE servants of Christ aren't men pleasers. If they're really dying to sin and living to righteousness then there's going to be that defining moment when they say "no" to the evil desires of their sinful flesh and choose to please God instead.

Sure, we trip up but it's not gonna be large scale (like playing or defrauding or not protecting the heart of a innocent girl) since as Christians we have the spirit of Christ living in us.

"Making someone happy" is total BS in a situation like that. Its a fancy way for the guy to try to justify his own selfishness in the relationship. Is the GIRL happy? Girls give up things important to them for LOVE. Guys pretend to love [and often lie to themselves in the process] just to get those said "things" - aka sex, in most cases.

Trust me - I know this. I have two kiddos due to that kind of crapped out thinking. I didn't make her happy - by any means. I ruined her life and ruined her for any other guy who was actually capable of treating her with respect and giving her genuine love. And...my boys don't have a mom. Talk about messed up. And I get to live with the knowledge that it was all my fault.

"Genuine love" - sure, I don't doubt you believe it was. but examine your heart. It's often the case that dudes love the "love" not God. IOW, guys who do that are in love with the romance [and the way the girl makes them feel/what they get out of the relationship] NOT with God - just the way it is. Plain out: they care about themselves - not God. They need to get their focus straight and put on their big boy pants before they're ready to seek out a wife. [I mean that's why we date, right? To find a wife? Not dating as an outlet for our drives and emotions and innate need for feminine admiration, LOL.]

Anyways. Hope this wasn't too offensive. ;)

Rock,
Nick

Anønymøus said...

No axes to grind here, Nick. Just hearts to mend. Or a heart that's mending.

I think it's really easy to forget that we're dealing with real people and real problems when we discuss things online. All I know is that your screen name is Nick. All you know is that I write a lot and I have a slightly artistic flair. But the "anonymity" of the Internet is deceptive. Am I a real person who lives and breathes and bleeds and hurts? Or am I just an argument to be won and a point to be made?

I bet that you, like myself, have a heart that beats. And that loves.

You're right...you are seeing this through your eyes. That's the way everyone looks at everything - it's to be expected. You know why you did the things you did, so you figure that anytime a girl is really hurt, it was the guy's selfishness that did it.

I've seen guys and girls alike be more in love with "inloveness" than with each other, and more in love with themselves than with Christ. I know the things that can happen.

In Galatians 1, Paul is preaching a gospel that he says is true and not made up by men - if it was invented by men, then it would please men and exalt men. But it doesn't. Which is what makes our gospel so unique. :) And so true.

Sorry. Side note.

I think it's naive to expect that a person will have impeccable wisdom about all things if they're saved. David and Peter made what were probably the two biggest blunders in history...in both cases, they were as close to "saved" as soteriology at that point in time allowed for. And those weren't just unwise decisions; they were heinous sins!

The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, was given to teach us all things. Teaching is a process, not a potion. He uses Scripture and guidance from our authorities to teach us...and when we get something out of kilter, He pulls as back to Himself. But sometimes that pull is jarring. Especially when He's pulling you away from something, not because it's the wrong thing, but because it's the wrong time.

Playing, defrauding...those are things that guys in the "first"
category do...guys who are just out to satisfy themselves. That's unjustifiable. But guys in the "second" category can still make mistakes without a selfish motive. And that's what makes all of this so hard. Only God knows what is in a man...He will bring the hidden things to light, but sometimes that takes time and patience. And trust.

If there was anything in me that would compromise my convictions for the sake of my "drives, emotions, and innate need for female admiration", it died a long time ago. I think that's part of what "dying to self, taking up your cross daily, and following" entails. Allowing the Holy Spirit to crucify sin in your life.

I've known love. I've known the heights and the depths. And I still know love.

Nick said...

Anønymøus,

Are you an argument to be won and a point to be made? No, it sounds very much like you're a young man who made some mistakes, lost something valuable and is living with lots of regret while coming up with every reason why your behavior was still justifiable, only misunderstood.

I thought it was love too. Even after she left [for good] I was still angry with her for turning down my proposal - "she was the only person I ever loved" et cetera.

It took almost six years [and a LOT of maturing] for me to even get the place where I was willing to look at it objectively [without making excuses for myself] and realize that it wasn't love that made me manipulate her - it was selfishness, justified by love - that led to my poor decisions.

[We definitely had the beginnings of true love going [we thought "no-one else could possibly have a relationship like ours" yada yada- what else is new, LOL], but true love "seeks not her own" - and I was definitely looking after my own pleasure. That's where it stops becoming "true". Because true love puts the needs of others ahead of its own.]

Also, true love thinks through consequences for the other person.

So I take it that said girl is now hurt because you were passionately in love with her? Dang. If a girl ends up hurt in a relationship, is it _really_ because you had her best interests at heart? And if not, whose did you have? *insert drum roll*

Rock,
Nick

Jake said...

Isn't there an unspoken rule of blog etiquite that says comments shouldn't be longer than 250 characters? ;>

Thanks for the article, Jen. I think it's not something most people on the brink of marriage are willing to consider. Its a kind of old folks view of things. ;>

Anønymøus said...

Yeah, that's an unwritten rule on most blogs, but Jenn's blog isn't most blogs.

Again, Nick...no offense, but I think you're still seeing this through your eyes. I'm not you. Also, I've barely referenced myself at all - there might be some similarities between us, but only some of what I'm saying comes from my situation. The things I've said were the things I've learned, not a personal diatribe.

It's a little disturbing to be placed before the backdrop of someone else's life and painted with their own feelings and experiences, especially when the similarities are slim and they really don't know very much about you. Don't think that your mistakes are everyone's mistakes.

Manipulation and selfishness can't be justified. But not all failures at leadership are the result of manipulative selfish motives - does that make sense?

It think it's naive to say that true love is always going to be perfectly wise.

And it's unwise to immediately tell a girl that she is being manipulated and tricked just because the couple has made mistakes. People get scared - I understand that. But when mistakes are made, either the couple is going to seek counsel together, hoping to grow, or the girl will blame herself for letting herself be tricked. If she hasn't been tricked or manipulated, then the very thing that was intended to make her feel better made her feel worse.

So there are a lot of ways that a girl can be hurt. I know I've done foolish things that caused hurt (see, now I'm talking about my situation). I did things that caused authorities to become distrustful. But that doesn't mean that I was just in it to see what I could get for myself all along. It means that I should have sought counsel and trusted the God-given authorities more diligently...that would have been the more loving thing to do. But hindsight's 20-20. And now, things are in God's hands...where they should have been all along.

Jenn Joshua said...

Nick and Anonymous,

You've made some good points -- and your ideas are both useful. Different parts; same elephant. I'm not here to join in the discussion, really -- I was just reflecting on a few things and thought I'd share.

What is *true* love? The truest love of all is this: "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this -- that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

He gave his life for us -- while we were still His enemies.

Why do we love? "We love because He first loved us." If you've made a lifelong commitment to love your spouse, you persevere because of the example Christ set -- because no matter what your spouse does to you, what we've done to God is far worse -- and He still loves us more than we can imagine.

How do we love? Love has been defined in many ways, but there are two different songs that say it well: "Love is decision and sacrifice," and "Love is not a feeling; It's an act of your will."

Loving someone isn't always pretty. It isn't always rewarding. And while it can occasionally evidence itself in a feeling, ultimately, it is not. Every day it is a conscious choice, "I WILL love you. I WILL put your needs ahead of my own. I WILL hope." etc.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

God bless!
Jenn

Keely said...

hey anonymous, what is your definition of true love anyway?

Alex Dwyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Wait love IS a feeling!

Katherine said...

A marriage is a committment not a church-endorsed way of getting your own personal "guy" or "girl" to admire you and do your bidding and make you happy. If you marry only for happiness, you;re better off single.

Chris said...

A friend gave me similar advice before my (now) wife and I were engaged. Like Liz said, the rose-colored glasses are for marriage, not courtship. 8-)

The said...

Very sound advice. Your friend must have been married for a while, lol.

Anønymøus said...

You're right, Jenn. Love isn't a feeling; it's a choice.

We choose to hope, choose to trust, and choose to persevere.

Trust that's based on feelings won't last - trust that's a choice, will.

Joel R. said...

Anonymous - you said:
""The sad thing is that guys who genuinely love the girl can be blinded by their emotion and their desire to make the girl happy, and end up doing by mistake the same thing the first kind of guy does intentionally.""
Is this for real?? You are saying a guy loves a girl so much that he unintentionally trashes her? What is your definition of love?

Cindy A. said...

"If there was anything in me that would compromise my convictions for the sake of my "drives, emotions, and innate need for female admiration", it died a long time ago."

Impressive, Anonymous. You're better than 98% of the men in the world today - make that 99%. Care to teach a class? ;-)

A said...

i'd like to disagree with cindy because there are still good men in this world. i'd also like to say that anybody who is going to make a arrogant claim like that is clearly not mature enough to be in the small percentage, lolol!!

A said...

arrogant claim to like anonymous did, i mean -ha!

A said...

arrogant claim like anonymous did, i mean -ha!

Anønymøus said...

Joel,

Sorry; I should have said "same kinds of things".

I'm not talking about "trashing" a girl or using her - that's kind of obvious selfishness, by definition. But a guy can make mistakes - mistrusting authorities, moving too quickly, or missing areas that the couple should be working on - because of how much he wants her to be happy. There's a difference between defrauding a girl and having gaps in leadership.

Unfortunately, the two can sometimes look similar to the people watching - especially if there isn't good communication in place.

If a guy has truly committed to loving and cherishing a girl, it doesn't mean he won't make mistakes. But it does mean that he will seek counsel and ask for guidance and want communication as soon as he realizes he's making a mistake in some area.

Keely/Joel, true love isn't a feeling and it isn't a set of things you do. It's a knowledge and a commitment - knowing that someone else's life is more precious to you than your own ("husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her...love your wives as you love your own flesh") and committing to treasure their heart - and the Spirit of God in them - no matter what. That's true love.

That's the love that Christ had for us even before the Holy Spirit was in us. And true love is the purest joy. "Therefore, for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame."

Anønymøus said...

Mrs. A,

I'm surprised you'd think that was arrogance. It wasn't - it was remorse.

Sanctification is obeying Christ and letting the Holy Spirit crucify your sinful desires and your flesh. It took a lot for me to see how sinful I could be. And there's a lot of remorse and regret that those things had to be dealt with - I wish I had made better choices early on. But God chastens those He loves.

That the Holy Spirit killed off that part of my flesh is an expression of remorse and a testimony of grace. Not arrogance. *sad smile*

Anonymous said...

"...hear the advice of those who love you ( and who are also emotionally detached from the situation)....There's a lot you can't see in the haze of feel-good-iness.  Trust the ones who love you most."

Who would you say is emotionally detached from a situation like that? I agree with trusting people who love you most, but aren't the people who love you most going to be the least emotionally detached?

Nick said...

Anønymøus,

For all your talk about viewing things through objective eyes, you sure as heck aren't looking at this stuff from any perspective but your own. [Even the perspectives of other people you've mentioned has been your take on how the girl/authorities feel - but have you asked them?]

You're also assuming things about my story, dude. Neither one of us can make some pompous rip-off like 'the similarities are slim' because we stinkin don't know.

As to my story, contrary to the way you seem to have painted it, it was intially all very pure and innocent from the outside looking in - both of us professed Christianity, spent much time in service together, prayed together, studied the bible together. And of course were madly 'in love'. Until I lost my self-control and thought more about myself than about her [especially the consequences of a pregnancy while she was still in law school]. Then to make matters worse, the 'baby' was twins.

Pretty much in a heartbeat we went from arguing about who loved who more to whether or not an abortion could be justified. We were both very prolife but she was very desperate and embarassed and still very much in school.

I don't have to tell you these things don't just happen to kids in off the street. They happen to professing Christians who are being stupid and selfish - and no one's immune. So let's just say that was a pretty lofty claim you made saying the part of you that might compromise convictions for your drives, emotions, and innate need for female admiration [etc] died a long time ago. That's BS and you know it! No-one's there yet! and none of us are gonna be this side of heaven.

I'm the kind of dude who likes attention and I've gone to great lengths to get it throughout my life. Still trying to crucify that by God's grace. And I've compromised convictions for my own self gratification more times than I can count. [Again, you don't die to these sins once - you crucify them every day - you know people tend to have specific patterns of sin - not random 'okay, nixed that one, what's next?' lol.]

Hey and kudos to any girl who will listen to warnings about a guy she loves. What's wrong with that? Taht's wisdom on her part. It's an abusive and controlling man who tells a girl whose opinion to hear and resents any information that paints him in a bad light or could possibly turn her against him. If he has nothing to hide, he'll welcome examination and advice from godly folks. If not, *drum roll please* that girl has a bonafide jerk on her hands.

If you keep up with that 'misunderstood and shut down and misrepresented' victim attitude you're rocking right now, let me just say that you're gonna look back on this and you're gonna see things you're refusing to see now - it's all gonna make sense and you'll be pretty darn sorry you were so unteachable. And you're gonna be writing apology notes to everyone in your wake. Take it from a dude who learned the hard way - and is still learning [and still suffering] from it.

Thankfully, [and most importantly] the Lord saved me when my kiddos were three years old - with his help, I'm slowly learning what it means to die to sin and live to righteousness. [Still working on the 'being harsh with virtual strangers' - yes I meant it both ways, LOL.]

It doesn't sound like your placing stuff into God's hands. It sounds like you're shifting blame onto the shoulders of other people and acting like it's someone else's problem you're waiting to have solved - and that you no longer have a responsbility. That's not surrender - that's sin. Look where you're putting this junk, Anønymøus.

I've said my piece.

Rock,
Nick

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn Joshua said...

Hi Anonymous,

You said, "Who would you say is emotionally detached from a situation like that? I agree with trusting people who love you most, but aren't the people who love you most going to be the least emotionally detached?"

Thanks for asking! By "emotionally detached" I meant, emotionally detached from the haze of love and infatuation, etc. Not emotionally detached from you. Naturally the people who love you most are also going to be a bit biased on your behalf.

In other words, the father is probably detached enough that he won't be charmed by the guy in the same way the daughter will. It doesn't mean he's detached from his daughter; only the emotional highs of the situation.

God bless!
Jenn

Rick said...

I got on here to see what on earth 35 comments is about and decided its a wasps nest and I wasn't gonna get into it.

Peace.

Liz said...

Thank-you for sharing from your experience, Nick, (whoever you are, LOL) I think you are totally right. I wanted to post a response to Anonymous, but you have said it all and said it better than I could. I don't think you are too harsh, or Jen either. the Bible tells us to rebuke sin.
Titus 1 says:
"For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith."

Anønmyøus said...

"Even the perspectives of other people you've mentioned has been your take on how the girl/authorities feel - but have you asked them?"

Yep. I most certainly have. And I've sought counsel from a lot of people. Pretty much everyone has something different to say. I know there's wisdom in a multitude of counselors, but all I've gleaned so far is that everyone brings in a little of their own experience into things. And that waiting on the Lord - and focusing on Him - is the best thing for me. :-)

With all due respect, Nick, I haven't assumed much about your history. You've told me your experiences and how you handled everything, and I guess I can see a few similarities.

But you don't know what the similarities are, because I haven't really said anything substantial about what I'm going through. So by all means, share, but don't assume facts or assign motives when you know neither.

Being in love isn't a feeling of bliss, even though it can make you feel blissful. It's a commitment to loving the other person selflessly. It's something you know because of the choice and commitment you've made, not a fuzzy feeling that lets you justify selfishness.

I'm not saying much about my situation - I'm just asserting that people can still make mistakes...even rather serious ones...despite the love being genuine. They won't be fatal mistakes, though.

And I agree with you - a guy who is serious and sincere will welcome examination of his motives and seek counsel when he makes mistakes. He'll ask for correction and look for ways to honor the authorities. He'll be appalled if his actions cause the girl's walk to stumble. He'll want to do anything he can to make peace between her and her parents.

Of course there are still things in my life that must be crucified every day. This side of heaven, we still have our flesh to contend with. But once God has dealt with something, it no longer has a control over you. At least that's been the experience in my walk. Some things have been more deeply ingrained than others.

An honest, loving man will encourage the girl he loves to listen to counsel. But he'll still be disappointed and saddened if she's forced into turmoil because she wants to defend him. I don't think there's anything wrong with a girl defending the man she loves, if there's reason for her to do it. It's just unfortunate when it has to happen. And he should work to make sure it doesn't happen.

A man who really cares and really loves will do his best to keep communication with the girl's parents, no matter how hard that may be.

It's not about "being misunderstood", although misunderstandings are always going to happen. Stuff like that can make a bad situation worse, but it's not the problem. The problem is that people make mistakes and make poor decisions. The answer (to whether they are genuine or fakers) is in how they handle their mistakes. And right now, I'm pretty sure that waiting is what the people in charge want. So I do.

Just because I'm waiting doesn't mean I'm not ready to acknowledge my responsibility in things. The issue here is how to tell whether someone is genuine or just playing. And I agree with you:

If he has nothing to hide, he'll welcome examination and advice from godly folks.

Hence, waiting.

Anønymøus said...

"By 'emotionally detached' I meant, emotionally detached from the haze of love and infatuation, etc. Not emotionally detached from you."

I think that it might be easy to tell yourself that the parents are going to be just as "hazy" because they are concerned, protective, trepidacious, etc. But that's not true. 'Cause they're the ones that God gives the biggest portion of necessary wisdom to. They're the ones that we're supposed to be going to for counsel. And so trusting their judgment is the wisest decision, even when you feel that they can't possibly understand.

Hard lesson to learn. Thanks, Jenn.

Mike Taylor said...

Too many anonymous comments. Why can't people frikin use there own names?

Anønymøus said...

Liz,

I wasn't saying that Nick was being too harsh. And while the things that Jenn's article said sound harsh, they're true. Truth is sometimes hard.

I'm glad that Nick is so ready to take a strong stance on sin and encourage taking responsibility. He's just making assumptions about my situation when it isn't really that similar to his situation. So it's hard to know how to approach the rebukes he's issuing.

Nick said...

Anønymøus,

OK, so you talked to a bunch of counselors and they all gave you advice based on their own experiences - which wasn't helpful because all you've gleaned was that everyone is only bringing in their own experiences? Huh? Well, gosh. Maybe it's time to find a new group of counselors.

Or...maybe it wasn't their fault. Maybe you need a mind that's open to picking out the wisdom. Were you listening? That's seriously all you learned from seeking a multitude of counsel? What the heck. Are you only asking people in your same age bracket? [Truth and wisdom was truth and wisdom last time I checked - and if you seek it you'll find it; not just a bunch of conflicting, nonapplicable personal anecdotes.]

My recomendation [not that you probably want it considering you don't know me and we've not been on the friendliest terms through this discussion, LOL] is that you seek out the counsel of an older dude who's been through some crap himself and took responsibility.

When I talked earlier about putting on your big boy pants I wasn't kidding. A dude who takes responsibility is a dude who's ready to lead. A dude who shifts blame is a pansy - he's digging a hole for himself. If he doesn't fall in, eventually he'll be pushed. LOL.

So two things; seek advice and take responsibility. People are inclinced to think those aren't qualities of a leader [willingness to hear and a willingness to show yourself up] but they sure as heck are wrong. Those qualities define a real leader.

You said the 'people in charge' are wanting a wait. But what are they waiting FOR? When people wait, its always for something. So what is it? You're acting like the wait is for them to get a mind makeover [or permanant amnesia] but I sense that if you blew the situation to begin with, the waiting is probably due to your mistakes - and the wait just might be intended for you to try to prove your something other than you were [or are].

50 bucks says it's not to give you time to come up with more excuses or more convenient/believable ways of shifting the blame.

Also to the contrary, you told me a lot about your situation. First, by your blame-shifting victim attitude. Second, by your view towards authority. Third, by the crapped out, cockeyed stuff about love.

If a dude makes terrible, respect-shattering, authority-alienating mistakes - causes the girl to stumble in her walk before God, fails [or refuses] to seek counsel and hear the Spirit's promptings throughout the relationship and ruins [or jeopardizes] the girl's relationship with her parents and/or other people she respects, maybe she's just better off without him.

One thing's for sure: he needs to clean up his life before he completely ruins hers.

Rock,
Nick

Anonymous said...

huh

Anønymøus said...

Nick,

I appreciate the fact that you're trying to help and advise. Really, I do. But this is getting tiresome.

Read through the book of Job. It's obvious that Job doesn't always have the right perspective, and God makes that clear.

But can you see the frustration that Job has with his "friends" who continually come up with "perfect answers" despite having no idea what's actually going on? Well, it's starting to feel that way. Despite having asked you not to make unwarranted assumptions, you still seem to be so sure of everything when you've been told virtually nothing.

I'm not saying I'm Job - of course I've made mistakes here. That's the reason I'm in this position. And, unlike Job, I want more than anything else to take responsibility for my mistakes and face up to whatever the consequences may be.

But you really are sounding more and more like Job's friends. Stop making so many assumptions or you're going to hurt someone. I'm not betting, but you probably already have.

What kind of assumptions? I haven't sought advice from "people in [my] same age bracket" - why would I want to? The men I've looked to for guidance have been older and wiser than I - men with families and children older than me whose judgment I respect. Your clever "gotcha" was ridiculous.

I don't want to belabor the point. Please, stop. You've made far more judgments than you have the knowledge to make. This was never about me or about getting advice - I don't know you and don't have any reason to ask you for counsel. I just wanted to share some of the difficulties that a guy can face when he recognizes that he's made mistakes. That, and that the most important thing he can do to prevent making things worse is to be open and honest and seek counsel and communication. A guy who's genuine will always want to do that - in fact, that's one of the best ways to tell if he's genuine or not.

There was no reason to turn it into a Nickquisition. :-)

Nick said...

LOL.

Anønymøus said...

Jenn,

We know that parents - the people God's given us - are the most important counselors that we can have regarding relationships. Like I said before, God gives them wisdom on what is needed in situations - things that need to happen and steps that need to be taken.

Do you think that their particular wisdom is mainly in the realm of what things need to be done and what the safest/wisest course of action is, or does it extend to their assessment of facts - facts about things that have happened or about what other people's motives and goals are?

And do you think any of this changes if the parents aren't born again?

Thanks!

KRW said...

Dear Anonymous, Forgive me for piping up as I know you asked Jen, but it is my belief that parents are given to the girl as protectors. She is there property to be protected so to speak. Again I know you were asking Jen, but it is my opinion that God gives them wisdom both in facts and situations. Since she is there precious property they have every right to do with there property as they would be please. When parents aren't born again, girl must seek council of respected Christian friend or elder and so on.
peace and blessing KRW

Chris said...

I smell a minority. ;-)

Anønymøus said...

No - thank you for your input, KRW.

I guess my issue would be that people are fallible, and there are times that they're going to make mistakes. They're going to be wrong about facts - what someone did or why someone did it. And sometimes we'll know when they're wrong.

And so we, being fallible ourselves, are prone to think, "If the parents were wrong in their assessment of the situation, then they were wrong in their conclusion of what needed to be done." And so we either disregard what they advise (sinful), or we feel guilty over disagreeing with their assessment (painful and turmoil-inducing).

I think there's a middle ground. I think that parents have God-given wisdom about what needs to happen even if they're wrong about what has happened or about parts of the situation itself. And so we can trust their leading even if we can't agree with all their reasons and feelings.

A parent I know pretty well said:

"This is the essence of parenting by faith. We made decisions about our kids based upon leadings from Scripture and agreement as parents. There is no way we had all the facts, or necessarily had them all straight. There was no way we knew their hearts perfectly everytime. But we were given discernment and leadings from God. This is where something wonderful comes into play: as children honor their parents, God brings out the blessing."

If we follow our parents' guidance and decisions, we will be following God's will. But I don't necessarily think that God gives them that same complete wisdom about facts...at least, I don't think that we have to agree with all of our parents' conclusions blindly. Disagreement isn't the same as disobedience.

So even if we're unable to see things their way (or, as we will probably feel, they're unable to see things our way), we can still obey gladly, knowing that God will use their decisions for our good.

Does that make sense?

Juan said...

God doesn't give anyone complete wisdom in any situation but it IS wisdom to follow the counsel of godly parents and it is wisdom to go along with their decisions.

TheJoshuaFamily said...

From a parent's perspective...

Are parents able give their children wise counsel on one of the most important decisions they will ever make?

As parents, we dearly love our daughters and want God's best for them. We want to spare them a lifetime of grief. We also have the God-given responsibility to ensure that the one to whom we give our daughter is worthy of her respect and honor.

Do we feel qualified for this task? NO! We are human and easily deceived; but the wonderful reality is that we don't have to do this on our own strength. We cry out to God for wisdom, and He has PROMISED to give it! We can’t tell if someone is genuine or not. But GOD can give us the discernment we ask for.

He sometimes does this in unexpected ways, and all we can do is thank Him for his protection! He cares for His children infinitely more than we do and we are so grateful for his leading and love.

Dave said...

Amen!

Anønymøus said...

JoshuaFamily,

Thanks so much. Good to hear from someone who's also in the middle of it all. Especially since you're on the other side.

It's such a blessing to be able to rest in how God set everything up, even when it's hard. I'm so glad He gives special wisdom to the parents; otherwise the couple involved would still "be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about...."

It took me a while to realize that parents really do have wisdom about situations. For a long time, I didn't always trust the parents' feelings about situations because I disagreed with their reasoning or thought I had a better grasp of the situation. But that shouldn't ever have been a consideration; disagreements over details can be discussed or even maintained, but the wisest (and most loving) thing to do is always to trust that God will use the parents to communicate His will for the situation.

We're in a much better position when we heed instruction of authorities than when we try to reason out our own ideas, even if we're sure that there are misunderstandings. That's our duty regardless of how we feel about the parents' reasoning...and God has promised to bless obedience to that duty.

For myself, I can only pray that I'll have the guts to obey God's leading. 'Cause sometimes, obedience means the hardest thing imaginable.

Thanks again.

Anønymøus said...

...Especially since you're on the other side."

I meant to say, "Especially since you're looking at it all from the other side." =)

Justin Scott said...

Wow, this conversation really has branched out since my last comment! I would have thought people might discuss the 'seeking attraction to God's spirit' more than the 'seeking advice of authorities' thing, because seeking the Spirit seems more difficult. I'd be interested to hear more about that.

Anønymøus said...

Asking God to remove any attraction that isn't a result of His Spirit in another person takes a lot of bravery. Because we don't want to lose what we have. But it's probably the most loving thing that a person could ever do.

Nick said...

Seems like the horse died a fairly natural death. Let's not beat it.

bondChristian said...

This is an intense debate. I actually read through most of it just now. Interesting perspectives... I particularly like what Jenn in her first and second comments, though now that I'm down here, I've almost forgotten what she said. :>)

Anyway, I wrote a post about the "decision" to love a while back and got a ton of traffic and questions about it too. Here it is in case anyone's interested:

http://marshalljonesjr.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/i-never-want-to-fall-in-love/

As much as it's hard to agree, I totally agree with the original post. I think many guys might have a problem with some of it, but in general, I think it's actually better for us. When girls raise their expectations, we (guys) rise to the challenge. And from the other perspective, girls who have higher expectations make better choices and as a result stand out.

It's just better all around. Thanks for posting this, Jenn, and thanks for all the conversation, everyone else.

-Marshall Jones Jr.