- Listen/ download: http://boundless.typepad.com/podcast/2009/09/088-boundless-podcast.html
- Blog post: http://www.boundlessline.org/2009/09/episode-88-biblical-divorce-and-remarriage.html
Lisa Anderson: We are opening up this week’s inbox, and I’m here with Candice. Candice, hello!
Candice Watters: Hi Lisa!
Lisa: Hey! She’s here by phone again. We’re so glad that we have phones and we can talk to you.
Candice: We love our technology, don’t we?
Lisa: Yes, I’m glad that this podcast did not happen 200 years ago.
Candice: Me too.
Lisa: We have got a doozy today. This is like a situational question; I love these. It’s from one of our female listeners and I’m just going to jump right in. She says:
Dear Boundless, I have been in a long-distance dating situation for four months. We have similar views on many things from wanting to raise a family to ministry, etc. However, there are a couple of things that have started to bother me and I just don’t know if I’m being too picky or if they really are issues that I should be concerned about.
And then she details the two of them. The first one, she says:
I fall more in line with the Dave Ramsey mentality when it comes to money. As a result I’m about a year away from being entirely debt-free. My boyfriend, on the other hand, though quite a bit older than me has no savings to speak of, owes money for several different things and is currently wanting to buy a house. This all makes me very nervous, but any time we talk about it, it becomes an argument. He says that he wants to get his finances under control, but it’s hard for me to see him making any steps in that direction.
And then she says, two:
Similarly, we’ve had discussions about being healthy and it’s the same thing. His doctor has talked to him about losing weight and he’ll say that he wants to, but he doesn’t make any steps in that direction. I really want a family that for the most part eats healthy meals and enjoys going for walks, bike rides together, etc.
I don’t want to be a nagging wife or girlfriend, but to me these things seem like they’re going to be things that I either have to learn to get over or will I be that nagging person I’ve never wanted to be? How do I address these things respectfully? If we can’t find a middle ground, are these things that would warrant ending a relationship?
Candice: Alright! This is a doozy!
Well I want to start with him. Because I think that’s probably what she’s wanting to hear, so we’ll go there first. So, thanks for this awesome question and I think the man does have some issues: money and health are two very big factors… We all have heard the staggering divorce stats and how finances are the top reason for that. So I don’t think this is something you should take lightly or overlook. In another day, your dad probably would be asking this young man, “How are your finances? What kind of savings account do you have? How are you going to provide for my daughter? How are you going to provide for a family?”
Someone would be asking him these tough questions, and hopefully if his answers weren’t up to par, that someone would love you, meaning the questioner, enough and care enough about this relationship to invest in this guy and kind of coach him and bring him along and disciple him or mentor him, or whatever word you want to use to help him get to a place of financial stability and health.
And so I would ask if this man is under any kind of authority, is he submitting to a pastor or to a mentor, someone who can really ask these hard questions. Because I don’t think in a fairly new dating relationship should have the burden placed totally on her to have to vet all this stuff for herself. Not only that, but then also solve the problems that she uncovers.
As far as the weight goes, and the health, that’s—in our culture anyway—not quite as black-and-white… I know gluttony is kind of that sin that we all turn the other way with, because we all seem to have a little piece of it in some way or another. And so, I don’t know… I think that’s almost more of a can you live with it? question.
People have said, and I’ve heard this said before many times that you shouldn’t assume that what you want changed will change after marriage, that people really are putting their best foot forward when they’re dating, and so if you’re seeing things now in the area of health and eating that really bother you, you’ve got to ask yourself: can I live with it? Because it’s probably not going to change after a wedding.
So that would be my take to him. Lisa do you want to chime in here, or should I plough ahead?
Lisa: The only thing I would have to add and maybe you’ll address this a little bit too, Candice, is one of the first things she says in her question is that she’s in a long-distance dating relationship and has been for four months. And I think that just with the things she’s outlined here, if she’s already noticing these things and if they’re already bugging her not even having to be in the fray with them… I think there’s something that could really crop up. If you decide to move ahead towards marriage with this guy and you end up in the same proximity and you’re out shopping and all of a sudden he wants to drop a couple thousand on a big-screen TV and then you’re just in a full-blown blow-out argument—
Candice: Right in the middle of Best Buy.
Lisa: In Best Buy—that’s not going to be good.
Similarly, the weight issue… I think there are some people who can be overweight and they’re still active and they’re still out and about and that’s not a huge deal. But what is this guy’s lifestyle reflect? Is there a difference in lifestyle from yours? You say you want to go for walks and bike rides, well does this guy do that right now? Or is this going to be something where you’re going to be like, hey we’re married and so now you have to do this.
Candice: Right, exactly. Because I don’t think he’ll go for it.
Now I want to get to the questioner, to the woman, to you. You have written this awesome question. My concern is that you’re controlling. And that you have it together in these areas and so you think he should too and I would just challenge you to pray against pride. There are other areas where you’re probably not all together, because none of us are.
And the challenge here is to find a man and date a man and marry a man under whose authority you can submit. You don’t have to submit to every man, just your husband, and that’s why you need to choose your husband so carefully. And frankly, from what you’ve described—um, I don’t like the word ‘frankly’—and from what you’ve described, this guy doesn’t sound like he is commanding your respect. It doesn’t sound like you look up to him in some of the areas that really are essential, and even more so to you because you have discipline in these areas.
So I would just really caution you from moving any further in this relationship without getting some help. The fact that you can’t discuss this without it devolving into an argument suggests to me that you probably need to have a conversation along with another a couple, or with a pastor, maybe the young marrieds pastor or someone who does premarital counselling.
And then, too, to find someone who’s like-minded. If you’ve got these strengths in areas that for a lot of people are a struggle, you’re probably not going to have as much patience or tolerance for a man who doesn’t have the same level of discipline. And so it would be easier if you just date a man who also is a spendthrift, who really likes to save his money and who is good with numbers and who happens to be fit and trim. It really could be a personality issue and the clash of personalities could drive you crazy if you end up marrying this guy.
Lisa: Yeah. I’m just glad that I don’t have any issues and so when I get married it’s not going to be a problem.
Candice: You know, I’m like you Lisa. I mean life is just so easy when you’re perfect and you marry perfect. That’s really the best way to go.
Lisa: Exactly. But I’m glad that we could help these other people. [Laughter]
Candice: Lord, have mercy on us all! [Laughter]
Lisa: Oh, my word! That’s great! Here we’re going to get a lot of feedback: editor [at] boundless [dot] org.
Well thanks Candice for helping her out!
Candice: You’re welcome. It’s always a pleasure.