The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

For a relationship with a girl to work out, how much should you have in common with her? Or how little in common with her is too little?


Answer

I don't know if such things can be quantified. What are the important things to you versus the "it would be nice ..."? For instance, my largest priorities were being a strong faithful Christian and a love for children. I considered those critical in the woman I wanted to marry.

I am a person who loves to do sports and activities like that. I also am a very musical person. Do you think I should try to find someone with those common interests or does it not matter. But not saying they must be exactly the same because I think differences in a relationship are good.

You'll never find someone exactly like you, but you can find someone who is compatible with you. For example, you love music. She might not be good at playing music, but she might enjoy listening to you play or go to concerts with you. What might not work is someone who can't stand music. You like sports. She might like different sports, or she might enjoy watching your games.

There ought to be some common interests -- things you can do together -- but it doesn't mean that everything has to be the same.

But activities are just one piece of the puzzle. A bigger piece is your character and her character. For instance, "As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion" (Proverbs 11:22). It doesn't matter how fancy of a gold ring you hang off the end of a pig's nose, it won't change the fact that it is still a pig. In the same way, it doesn't matter how pretty a woman is if she doesn't have good judgment. Beauty won't make up for poor decisions. So think also in terms of being able to manage a household, coping under stress, being wise with finances, stable in her faith, etc.

Thanks for the advice. Actually before you emailed me I was thinking about it and she is very compatible with me. From what I've found out, I think she might have more in common with me than I thought. By the way, yes, she is a very good Christian, who is strong in her faith.

But now I have another question: We both know now that we like each other, but I am unsure as to where we should go with this. Obviously dating would be what most people would think, but at this point I don't know if she is allowed to date for one thing, and I think she might want to wait to date. I could be wrong about those points though. What are your thoughts?

The best thing you can do is simply ask her if she would like to go out to dinner with you, or go roller skating, or whatever you have in mind. You don't have to formally call it dating, but just going to do something together.

I hung out once with her so far. It was just her and me, and it was fun! But I got bad news today. She likes someone else as well as me; meaning, she likes both of us, and we both like her. But I like her a lot, and I have been really stressed out lately. The other guy likes her and another girl, so at least he would be okay with someone else. But at this point I don't like multiple people, so I don't know what to do.

She told me she is trying to figure out if she likes one of us more, and I really hope it is me. She said she likes us both because we have each got to know her well. She knows that if, for example, she wants us to stop doing something annoying, we will stop. She feels like she can talk openly with both of us. She has told me that I am a really cool person, and I am fun to be around, but I really want her to like me more than the other guy (not to sound mean). I also really don't like the fact that this other guy and I are friends and are in this kind of competition for her. It is stressful. I had already told her that I like her, and then later on he also told her the same thing.

What you are experiencing is jealousy (Galatians 5:19-21). You want to hold on to something, but the difficulty is that she doesn't belong you. It is what you desire, but that decision is still in the future.

Rather than seeing yourself in competition with this other guy, understand that everyone involved is trying to figure out whether another person is the type of person they might one day want to marry. There are no commitments at this time. This is a time for getting to know other people better.

Someone told me that when they were dating, their parents' rule was that they could not go out with the same person twice in a row. It was good advice because it keeps people aware that they are not in an exclusive relationship.

I know you don't have someone else in mind, but you need to keep an attitude that if someone else showed up on the scene, there would be nothing wrong with spending some time with her as well. Early on is an easy mistake to latch on to someone simply because they are available. Often at a later time when it becomes clear that the relationship won't work, people cling instead of let go because they think there is no one else for them.

Be yourself. Enjoy the times you have with her. Eventually decisions will be made, but they don't have to be made today. Even if this doesn't work out (she might not pick either of you), you will have learned some things about yourself and about the type of woman you think you would like to marry. There are other girls out there -- you just haven't met them yet. If she does pick you, then you know it wasn't a rash choice based on emotion, but a well considered choice; such is a better way to make a choice.