The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I've been reading and hearing about how technically there isn't "the one" you will marry but a bunch of girls you could possibly be happy with living with the rest of your life. I guess it makes sense because no one will be married in heaven, but for whatever reason that just bothers me. I don't really know why, but it bums me out.

I know I have a crush on one girl, but sometimes I'll look at someone and just think, so could I possibly marry her instead? (Not as in I would prefer to, but just as in there is a possibility that could potentially happen.)

My grandpa told me the girl I like now will most likely just be a temporary girlfriend and not my wife. But I want it to be her so bad. I know God will make me happy with the right person, it has just been bothering me.

I always told myself I won't date until I know she's the one, and then we'll date and eventually marry. I realize how difficult a lifestyle that would be and actually have already dated twice. But the first time was basically arranged; my cousin and her boyfriend kept pestering me to date a girl because apparently laughing at someone because they can't play a musical instrument means true love. They bothered us so much that she got the idea we had to date, so I finally gave in just to make them be quiet. I honestly had no feelings for her whatsoever. Not to be rude, but I didn't find her attractive and she always had an unpleasant odor. But, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, I stuck it out. I did what I thought was the absolute necessary, but nothing more (as in holding hands, talking over the phone, and buying her a Christmas present). But I honestly think God intervened because she unexpectedly had to move to Pennsylvania, so I didn't have to do the seemingly impossible task of breaking up.

Then came date #2 -- an even bigger mistake. She was a freshman my sophomore year. We had some classes together, so we spent a lot of time together, even after school. I noticed that I always made a point to be around her, even though she came to high school with her middle school boyfriend. One time on the bus, they were the last two on, so all the seats were filled, and she had to sit beside me and he sat two rows up. He and her friend begged me to move so they could sit together, but I blatantly refused.

About a week or so later, she had a new boyfriend. A warning flag went off, but I ignored it and kept hanging around her. At our band contest, they, along with some others, worked the parking lot, while I worked alone in the separate handicap parking. She sent her boyfriend to trade spots with me. Warning #2, but I was just happy to be in a group and not by myself.

Soon, she had another boyfriend. I got along well with the second guy, but, for whatever reason, I couldn't stand the third guy. I disliked him before they dated and couldn't stand it when they were together. She apparently disliked him also, and shortly broke up.

Then, one night, after a field trip to the movies, on the way home on the bus, she said, "I heard the other kids think that you like me." It was so straightforward, I was taken aback, especially since I never said anything about her. I thought it must have been pretty bad for them to just see how I acted and get that. I didn't know how to respond, so there was an awkward pause then a change in subject. Later that night she texted me and said, "I was kind of hoping you'd say yes, funny huh..." I felt sort of bad, and did like her, so I said I just didn't know how to say it. That was the start of that relationship.

My mom didn't really like me dating her, didn't like me dating at all, but especially her. But I thought I was in love. We got in a fight the night before the girl's birthday because first mom said she'd take us to see a movie for her birthday but that night said she didn't want to. I told her it wasn't fair and actually wound up crying over it. She got really mad but finally agreed. We went to see the movie while mom and her friend went to watch a different movie. I'm glad she raised me right, and I was innocent. I was totally into the movie and kept ignoring the fact that my girlfriend kept snuggling up to me and rubbing my arm. We waited through all the credits and were the only two people left in the theater. I, as any boy does, tried to impress her by being stupid: I started throwing the leftover popcorn across the room. She acted scared that we would get in trouble but laughed her head off. That night, after we both went home, she texted, "all alone in the movie theater, and we didn't even kiss..."  I was appalled, but didn't reply.

There were many other warnings, like her being extremely perverted, and going through boyfriends like changing clothes, but she said she was Christian, so I ignored the bad stuff. Then I started thinking, "I'll change her bad behaviors". I ignored the Holy Ghost. I'm glad God decided to intervene again.

One night she asked if I could come to her house and watch a movie (again, stupid me didn't see the trap), but, luckily, my mom had sense. She told me that I couldn't go and that technically I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16. I told my girlfriend everything she just said. My mom was so furious, but my stupidity was actually what saved me. The next day we were writing a story in class that had to have "I'm sorry" in it. We switched papers when we finished. Halfway through her story, I realized her angry-sounding story was about me breaking up with her. I quickly explained that I wasn't breaking up, just wasn't able to come to her house. She then replied that, "if we can only see each other at school, then we can't really be a couple, just friends with benefits." I was appalled. I didn't know a lot, but knew what friends with benefits meant. That's when it all seemed to smack me in the face of now wrong it was. She only wanted me physically (shocker, huh?).

Well, she furthered the wound by telling everyone I broke up with her. Once I even exploded in front of her friend for saying that, but wound up just making myself look like a stupid jerk.

That ended dating for the moment. I didn't want to rush into anything, but I really do like this other girl, and I know without a doubt she's a Christian. And mom, even though she wouldn't say anything outright, hinted at hoping I would date her.


Answer

See: Do you think God created one special person for you?

Sometimes not recognizing evil prevents you from being tempted by evil, but in general you are better off recognizing dangers in advance so that you can avoid them. "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3; also Proverbs 27:12).

Even though your early attempts at dating didn't work out as planned, they were still useful experiences that caused you to grow. You learned with the first girlfriend that you can't let other people make important decisions like this for you. They don't have the same criteria as you do. The second girlfriend forced you to realize that some girls aren't looking for a long term relationship. In this case I suspect she looks for guys that make her feel good, but she thinks that physical play and sex are what indicates a guy likes her. To such a girl, you present a challenge. You treat her with respect, which other guys never have, and she likes it. But you also didn't respond to her sexual advances. She like the challenge at first, but she also saw it as a rejection that she wasn't good enough. It is a good thing she gave up easily because she wouldn't have quit until she got your pants off.

The problem I'm seeing today is that people are in too great of a rush lock onto just one person. Because they think they have found "The One!" they are willing to take liberties, such as sex, because they are convinced that they will be together for the rest of their lives. And then they break up because they find out that the other person isn't who they imagined them to be.

What works better is to build a friendship with several people. Go out with different people, but don't treat it as a long term commitment. It is merely time to spend with a friend and to get to know her. You are going to see a variety of personalities and behaviors. Many are going to leave you thinking, "I'm glad I'm not marrying someone like her." Some you are going to admire: "I hope my wife is as good with kids as she appears to be," "I hope my wife is as good at making things as she is," etc. Some of these traits you'll realize you never thought about before, but they are important to you.

Eventually one woman is going to stand out as special in your life and that is the person you'll want to spend more time with. Others might ask you if you are dating before you are willing to admit it -- which is fine. When you know her well and don't want to live the rest of your life without her, then you are ready to ask her to marry you.

By taking it slow, it provides incentive not to rush into passion and sex. You'll treat women with greater respect because, who knows, they might become your best friend's wife in the future. And when you realize that someone isn't a "keeper," it is easier to ease back to simple friendship. Your grandfather is right. You're young and inexperienced. You are bound to make wrong choices at first. Thus, don't overcommit early in a relationship.