The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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I've been dating this girl for almost a year. She is two years older than I am, but the thing is, she has a baby from a past relationship. The baby's father does not want anything to do with his baby, so he basically abandoned them. She still, almost two years later, gets upset over what he did to her, that he broke her heart many times, and played mind games. And a while ago, she told me she was worried she was still going to like him. This is just part of it, though. I've been through a lot of stress with this girl that my mom told me I shouldn't have to go through. So lately I decided to ask God for an answer if I was meant to be with this girl or not. The thing is, I want to do it right. I want to ask God the correct way. How do you think I should go about doing this?


I hope you won't think me too nosy, but I would like to better understand your situation so I can give you a good answer. I just can't recall if you told me how old you are. What kind of stress are we talking about? If you ignored the fact that you are dating this particular girl, imagine the ideal type of woman you hope to marry one day, then tell me -- how close is this woman to your ideal? Have you had sex with her? You seem to describe a woman whose heart is not fully with you, so why are the two of you dating?

The reason behind many of these questions is that we men have a built-in desire to be wanted, and being the knight in shinning armor to a woman in distress is one way to feel wanted. I'm trying to get a feel for the motivation behind this relationship. When I better understand what is happening, I'm going to show you what the Bible says would be the best thing that you can do. After all, God said it contains everything pertaining to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3), and this is definitely a part of life.

No, you're not nosy at all. I don't mind answering questions. I am 16 years old, she is a 2 years older than I am. The stress is bad sometimes, to be honest with you. She is SO unpredictable it's crazy. I never know what's going on with her. She always eventually has something to tell me, but it's not always good. That's what I mean when I say stress. For an example, she told me a while ago she was worried she was going to start liking her ex-boyfriend again, who is the father of her baby. That really put me under a lot of stress and made me depressed for a while. Then one time, when things were going perfectly good, she just out of nowhere says she wants to take a step back and have a break for a while. Why? I have no idea. She says it's because when she has dated people in the past, she just can't stay with one person too long. We never did end up taking a break, and she told me that she feels sorry about saying that and it won't happen again. Two months later, same thing happens. I also get stressed out with her because I really can't tell if she's gotten over her ex-boyfriend. She has his email password and goes onto his inbox to read his e-mails with other girls. I don't know why, either. This gives me the impression that if her baby's father decided to come back, say he was sorry and ask for a second chance, she'd say "Bye bye" to me and take him back. I just really, really don't know with her sometimes.
I have had sex with her, I feel bad about it, prayed and asked God to forgive me for it and than I told this girl that it's better if we don't have sex. She has some great qualities to her. She can be so caring, loving and sweet, but at times, she drives me insane. Thus the reason I ask God for an answer on this situation, to open the door to whatever path in this relationship he wants me to go. Whether it's to be with her and it's meant to be, or to break up with her because we weren't meant for each other.
I hope I made this more understandable.

That helps me understand the situation much better. I'll try to get you a detailed answer shortly. I'll probably lay things out in a no-nonsense manner, so don't get upset with me, I do have your best interest at heart.

But meanwhile, I have something I want you to think about and write back to me about. I've learned over the years to pay attention to what a person doesn't say or things they avoid answering, whether on purpose or accidentally. Often the silence is more telling than the answers. I know I asked this before, but the answer is important for your sake:

  • Assuming that she doesn't change (few people really do), can you see yourself married to her for the next 50 years? How likely is her behavior to drive you so nutty that you would run screaming from the house? How likely would she remain faithful to only you?

  • Ignoring her for the moment, imagine the ideal woman you would like to marry. Now, as honestly as you can, how close to your ideal is she?

  • Finally, look at I Corinthians 13:4-8. There is a list of qualities that define what love really is -- and it isn't butterflies in the stomach or aches in your groin. I want you to go through each point in a brutally honest fashion and tell me if she has show those qualities to you or if she is doing the opposite. If you don't understand what is being described, read through the article Love is ...

My goal is to get you thinking with your mind instead of your emotions.

I'm not upset, I don't mind at all. If she gets worse or still drives me insane, I can't see myself being with her for the next 50 years. Actually, a few times when she's at home and we're talking on the Internet, she drives me so insane that I want to get out of the house and leave for a while. I think she'd remain pretty faithful, but I just don't know with her. Like I said, she told me a while ago she thought she was going to like her ex again, but now she says she never will and she's not worried she's going to. I just don't know. Another thing, she's the first girl I have dated, I don't know how to break up with her, no matter how much she drives me insane sometimes.
Well, for starters, my ideal woman wouldn't have had any kids with anyone else.
I'm going to try thinking about that. Although i'm wondering, if I'm praying for an answer from God if she's the one for me or not, what do you think an example of His answer would be?

When Jesus was here on earth, he frequently took the Jews to task for ignoring what was right in front of them. "He said to the multitudes also, "When you see a cloud rising from the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming,' and so it happens. When a south wind blows, you say, 'There will be a scorching heat,' and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it that you don't interpret this time? Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?" (Luke 12:54-57). Jesus' point was that Scriptures said a lot about what the Messiah would be like and Jesus had been fulfilling those predictions as no one else could possible do so, yet the people ignored all the signs. "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. ... For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. But if you don't believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" (John 5:39-40, 46-47). When the people demanded additional signs, beyond all the evidence already given, "He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."" (Mark 8:12). In other words, the answer already given was adequate. If they can't see it, adding more won't change matters.

I'm pointing this out because you are doing much the same. God gave us a book which "his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3). The Bible, Peter tells us, has everything we need to know in regards to life and godliness, but it appears you are hoping for some additional signs to tell you what you know deep within yourself.

You have been approaching dating as a way to entertain yourself. But dating is supposed to be a search for your future wife. The problem I keep running into is that people are in a rush to have a "permanent" relationship. I talk to teens frequently who expect to have an exclusive relationship with a person from the moment they decide to like another person. Marriage is serious business, but too many treat the process like pulling through the drive up at a fast food restaurant.

You're 16 years old. You have two years before the earliest time you can marry. I don't know what plans you have, but if you hope to go to college, I doubt you would want to try doing that while supporting a wife. So let's assume that you hope to get married around the age of 23 -- that's five years to find a woman whom you can make happy and who makes you happy. Doesn't it seem a bit rushed to lock yourself down to one girl at the age of 15. You're still growing and developing. Even if you are done growing taller, you still have a lot of changes to look forward to in the way you think in the upcoming years. As I point out to a number of young men, I'm sure there are foods that you eat now that you absolutely hate when you were a kid. That's because as you grow, your tastes change. The same thing happens in your "tastes" in companions. They are going to change as you get older. And yet you started to lock yourself down too soon.

Satan sells sin by tempting people in three areas. "Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever" (I John 2:15-17). You mention that you committed fornication with this girl, but I would like you to take a moment and see how Satan snared you.

I'm sure it is flattering that a 17 year-old girl took an interest in a 15 year old boy. I know it is only two years and when you get into your twenties, two years is nothing, but during adolescence, two years is significant. Girls develop almost twice as fast as boys. At 17 she was physically fully mature, while at 15 you were probably just finishing off your growth spurt. To be able to claim at older girl is an ego trip (that's "pride of life") because most older girls can't stand boys your age. That's because they see them as too immature. They usually are interested in older men who appear to be more on their level. You didn't mention the age of this other man, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he is older than she. That is the usual way these things happen. So, while your ego is being stroked, I would be wondering why a girl with a baby is after a younger man who can't support her or her child for years. Something doesn't add up. Usually when a girl goes for a younger boy, she is looking for a relationship where she can dominate. That's not something which is good for a marriage where the husband is told he must head the household (Ephesians 5:22-23).

Then Satan also sucker punched you with your own body's desire. Sexual urges are strong and brand new when you are only 15 or 16 years old. To have a older girl willing to let you have sex with her is heady stuff. But men don't think clearly when they are sexually aroused. "With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life" (Proverbs 7:21-23). The problem is that you don't see all the possible consequences at the time. Think of the mess you would be in now if a baby resulted from your fornication.

But another thing that is often overlooked is that sex ties two people together, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is why your girlfriend still longs for the man who dumped her, even though he treated her like dirt. "Don't you know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or don't you know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body? For, "The two," says he, "will become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Flee sexual immorality! "Every sin that a man does is outside the body," but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (I Corinthians 6:15-18). I am glad you realized that having sex when you are not married is sinful, but you also need to realize that what you did created ties within you to a girl whom you really don't like all that well.

Then there is the fact that she was dumped and has a baby to raise. As I mentioned earlier, we men like it when someone else needs us. We love being the knight in shining armor to rescue the damsel in distress. Again, it strokes our ego. But too often we don't distinguish a damsel in distress due to forces outside her control and a damsel in distress due to her own bad decisions. People don't change a whole lot as they get older unless they choose to make a change in their life. Because she still longs for her ex-boyfriend, you told me enough for me to know that she doesn't think that what she did was wrong. (Which would give one reason why she was willing to have sex with you.) If she quite willing to have sex without a commitment, she might be willing to remain faithful while she is happy with you, but what about when she is mad at you? You see a marriage is never perfect happiness. There are going to be bumps in the road. You already worry about what would happen if the ex-boyfriend shows back up. The fact is you described a girl who is not emotionally stable. Such a woman can be swept off her feet by an uncouth man. And then where will you be?

This then leads to another concern. You said that you would rather start a marriage without children from another guy. That leads me to wonder what would happen to this child if you did marry and had additional children. Would this child pick up on the fact that you don't like him quite as much as your own children? I'm sure it wouldn't be your intention, but I've seen it happen way to often to pretend that such a possibility doesn't exist.

But the clincher for me is that all you've stated about your relationship tells me that you aren't in love -- not the real kind. In I Corinthians 13:4 it says love is not jealous, but you are concerned about her feelings for her ex-boyfriend (and rightly so). Love doesn't act unbecomingly, but you put your penis where it didn't belong. Love isn't easily provoked, but she drives you crazy with her antics. Love believes all things, but you aren't sure, even after a year of dating, that you can trust her.

You gave this relationship more than enough time and the signs that she isn't the one for you are being waved in your face. It's about time that you face reality. You need a companion to love the rest of your life (Ecclesiastes 9:9), not someone who is going to make you doubt your sanity. How do you end it? First, understand that it is going to tear you apart for a while emotionally. That is because you rushed this relation and bound yourself to her inappropriately. You can do it because continuing would be living a lie. You know you wouldn't be happy marrying her, so stop pretending. Second, let her know in as kind and gentle of a way as possible that you can't see the two of you getting married and living together for the rest of your lives. Tell her you don't want to tie yourself or her down in a relationship that won't last.

I can't guess enough from what you have told me about her to say how she will take it. I'm sure there are going to be tears. I'm sure she is going to blame you for her unhappiness. I suspect that she believes it is her call whether the relationship continues or not, so she won't be happy if you take the initiative. There will probably be a blow-out as a result.

Next, cut your ties. She may try to manipulate you into resuming the relationship for a while. You will be best off just making yourself unavailable. Your mom, believe it or not, can be a big help to you in keeping her away. She understands how girls think and knows what needs to be said. Then take some time off from girls and relationships for a while. There will be a rebound of emotion and a temptation to latch on the next available girl. Give yourself some time to settle back down.

Finally, learn your lessons from your mistakes. Too often boys keep going after girls with the same set of problems and personalities (probably because it is familiar and they are comfortable with it). Do your next relationship the right way. Get to know several girls as friends. When one particular one is especially interesting to you, and she seems to be interested in you, asked her out on a few dates. If it looks promising, start dating more often. But until you get married, keep your pants on! You don't need more emotional turmoil in your life. Don't be in a rush to be grownup.

I found a lot of what you said interesting. My mom is a big help. Something doesn't add up to her either. She says she doesn't understand why this girl (my girlfriend) is dating a boy who is two and a half years younger when she has a baby to take care of. She says that it doesn't make sense because she's a single mother and usually they are looking for an older man who is willing to support them and their child. The father of her baby is actually the same age as her. To be honest, it is a bit flattering that an older girl is interested in me. But I'm used to it, I've been told by dozens of people that I look 21 years old; I sound older and I act much older than my age suggests. Although, my girlfriend has dated someone before that was even younger than I am by one year!
As I have stated, I am praying for God to show me the answer Himself. I am wondering, do you think it'd be wrong to ask God to show me if she's not the one in a way I can understand? For instance, would it be wrong of me to ask God to show me she's not the one by her falling for another man, or cheating on me? I'm also praying that if she is not the one, and we do break up, that all the blame of it will not be on my hands.
I feel bad that I do not trust her 100% on the fact that if her baby's father came back, I have no idea what she'd do or say. But just the way she acts and things she's said have made me believe she'd leave me to be with him again. It was pretty heartbreaking to have her one day tell me "I'm worried I am going to like him again". Even though that was months and months and months ago, it still rides through my mind from time to time. Today, if I asked her "Are you worried you're going to like him again?"  of course she'd say "not a chance." But the truth is, she's going to tell me what I'd like to hear because she remembers how upset I got when she told me that news. I just really don't know what she's thinking on the situation. She says I'm a sweet guy and everything, but its just depressing because I don't feel good enough that I can't help her get over this guy she used to like.

There is a story floating around in various forms which goes like this:

A dam above a small town showed signs of weakening in the heavy rains, so orders went out to evacuate the town. A man driving a jeep sees his neighbor. “Get in. The dam may burst any minute.” “Don’t worry about me,” the man replied, “I'm praying to God. He will save me.” Unable to change his mind, he drove off without him. The waters began to roll in, reaching the front door of this man's house. A rescue team drifted by in a boat. “Jump in. We’ll get you out of here.” “Don’t worry about me,” the man replied, “I'm praying to God. He'll save me.” Unable to change his mind, the rescue team continued without him. Rapidly the waters rose until only the roof of the man's house was visible. There the man clung, fervently praying. A rescue crew in a helicopter spotted him and dropped him a ladder. But the man refused to climb onto the ladder insisting that God would save him. Unable to change his mind, the rescue crew flew off. The house eventually collapsed and the man drowned. Appearing before God, the man complained, "I don't understand. I earnestly prayed, but you let me drown!" To which the Lord replied, “Well, let’s see, I sent you a jeep, a boat and a helicopter. ...”

As with the Jews I mentioned in my previous note, people often ignore God's answers when they are not in the form that they wanted. You are doing much the same thing. You've seen the signs that this relationship is not healthy. Your mother has told you that she thinks it is unwise. You asked an uninvolved preacher for his thoughts and he has pointed out that this is not a good relationship. But you want more -- for shame!

I haven't met you or your girlfriend, but I can imagine how the dynamics are being played out that matches the description you have given. Your girlfriend got used by a boy and when a baby resulted, the boy left because he didn't want the responsibility. His only true interest in her was that he got sex for free. Now that it was going to cost him something, he disappeared. That hurt her deeply, so she found a boy who "needed" her, but because she was older she had control over the relationship instead of being the one controlled. That didn't work out, but she found you. Because you are physically mature for your age, she doesn't get flack from her friends about "cradle robbing." Yet, you are still young enough that she feels she is in control of the relationship. I suspect that she has her parents and the child's father paying for her upkeep at the moment, so she is not real concerned about finances. But she does feel "safe" in this relationship and that is more important to her.

The various things you mention all point to you being manipulated. The on again, off again "I think I need to date others" is to keep you on the hook, just like a fisherman pulls and then releases his line while he reels in his fish. By keeping you off balanced, she retains control of where this relationship is going. I wouldn't be at all surprised that she initiated getting you naked and she probably left you feeling guilty because you did this too her. At the same time she has you wrapped around her little finger because she was your first sexual encounter. (And who says you're responsible for making her forget the boy who dumped her after getting her pregnant? Isn't that her responsibility? She's laying her guilt on you.)

I mentioned before I would say some hard things, and this will be one of them. I can see your immaturity because you are continuing a relationship that you don't like simply because you don't want the responsibility of hurting her feelings. You want her to make the first move to break it off -- then you are off the hook. You're praying to God so that He will take the burden off your shoulders. You want God to cause her to go away, then you won't be responsible for the decision or the result.

You've been playing like a man -- having a steady girl and you could have ended up with a child with your fooling around. It's time to be responsible for your choices. She's not going to like it. You're going to be miserable for a while. But it all started when you picked this girl to date and you rushed things too fast. God hasn't promised to shield us from our own mistakes. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4). The best thing that can happen to you at the moment is to face the consequences of your actions. Solve them to the best of your ability, and then let God take care of the details that are out of your control. It will be rough, but it will make you into a true man.

"You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children, "My son, don't take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father doesn't discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not children. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby. Therefore, lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that which is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed" (Hebrews 12:4-13).

It's time to do what is right instead of hoping someone else will make you do what is right.

That story was actually cool to read. I understood it perfectly. I know that it seems like I am trying to get the burden off of my shoulders. I'd just like one more answer from God because I understand now that I clearly was not listening and it was probably Him giving me answers, but I didn't hear it. I'd just like to have one more answer from God so that I know I'm 100% right in doing what I have to do.
I appreciate you talking to me because after I read that story, I began apologizing to God and asking for forgiveness that I did not hear Him when he was talking to me. I just ask for one more answer. I need your help on what I should pray about tonight on this particular situation

Pray that the decisions you make are in accordance with His will (Matthew 6:10) -- in other words, pray that when you make difficult decisions that they are righteous ones that line up with what God has taught in the Scriptures.

Pray that God hinders you from blunders because you assumed something was right and it wasn't (Psalm 19:13).

Pray that God uses you to accomplish good in the world, even when you can't see the ultimate outcome (Romans 8:26).

Pray that God turns even the hard things in life into something wonderful for His people (Romans 8:28).

Pray for the ability to learn from your mistakes and for wisdom not to repeat them (James 1:5).

Then go out with faith that God loves you. He wants the best for you. So long as you always keep Him first, doing your best to live as He has taught us that God will make even our worst flubs work out in the end. "But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:6-7). "Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient" (Matthew 6:31-34).

In other words, ask God for help and correction but own up to the fact that you are responsible for your life and the decisions you make. You won't always make perfect choices in your life, but even bad choices can eventually improve you. Study each situation, ask advice from those more knowledgeable about that particular situation, pray for strength and wisdom, and then do the best you can with what you have.

You made some bad choices in the past. You picked a girl who pulled you away from God for a time and encouraged you to sin against Him. Then you continued in a relationship that you knew was bad because you didn't want to be responsible. You can't fix bad things by hanging on to them. What is happening is not helping you to serve God better. So, own up to fact that you goofed. Learn from the mistakes. Move forward in a new direction that takes you closer to God.

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world: your faith" (I John 5:2-4).

Know that I'm praying for you too.