Should I leave my boyfriend, both Christians but he doesn’t lead us spiritually and it worries me as I have to lay down all the boundaries.
Hey. My boyfriend and I have done everything sexual apart from intercourse. Feeling convicted about it, I stopped it and he agreed but the more we draw closer to marriage, the more I feel like I’ll have to head the spiritual part of our relationship because he doesn’t want to seek accountability or any form of discipleship. We love each other but I really want a man who can lead me and my future family in this area. I’m really torn on how best to proceed. Not for lack of trying to break it off, because I have, but he begged saying he was already working on it and I was being unfairly impatient with him. Unfortunately, months down the line, I see no change. At all. Is it selfish of me to then just let him go as I’m getting older and would like to start a family but with a Godly man. Ps. He is a Christian but it doesn’t seem to reflect in his lifestyle save for being kind and caring for everyone, even to me.
The engagement period is a tough time for a couple. I agree with everyone who says that if you are not sure, then that is a big warning flag. I would advise that you try to discern his heart overall – is it just in this one area that he is struggling to do what is right, or is it in many areas? When you said that “it doesn’t reflect in is lifestyle”, again do you mean this one area or in many areas?
Let me give two examples.
Example A – He says he is a Christian, but nothing else in his life really aligns to what God says. He shows up at church, but you don’t see him submitting his will to Jesus in any area of his life. He does his own will with no concern to what God wishes him to do. People pleaser’s can be kind to others, but they will not do what is right when it is hard.
Example B – You see him make effort to do what God wishes him to do in most areas of his life, but he struggles in some areas. This sounds much more like a man with a real relationship with Jesus who is being sanctified like we all are.
If he falls into example A, break it off and know it was the right thing to do.
If he falls into example B, then you have to ask yourself, are the areas he struggles a long term struggle that I can deal with as he is being sanctified? In the case of him keeping his hands off, that will be solved by marriage. In the case of other things, you would be wise to expect that he may and will struggle with those things, and you will be along for the ride as his wife. Is that workable? Is that not workable? That decides it for example B.
Pray for discernment!
If you are feeling this doubt and uncertainty now, I would say yes, break it off. If the Spirit is in you, as you say, have you sought to discern if these doubts and the prompt to break up, are actually from Him, trying to guide you down your best path? Things only get harder in marriage, and our worst comes out. If this man is the one God plans for you to marry, you will see a real change in him, while apart, and you’ll return to each other.
I have always said and believe, the only one who knows the heart of man is God. When seeking a spouse, we need to seek Him and listen to Him, because He will reveal the heart of the other. He can expose those who claim Him by name but deny Him in their life….we just need eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to obey.
Is there someone in your church that you can speak to about this? Preferably an older, wiser woman who knows you both. It sounds to me that he’s not the godly husband that you’re looking for, and it would be foolish to marry him, but I don’t know either of you and only have your post above to go on.
I agree with David. It’s tough for us to give you advice here because we don’t really know your situation. The best thing to do is to talk with godly people about it, and even ask to speak to your pastor and his wife if you can.
I have three concerns that are red flags for me because of a past engagement. I am biased as a result, so be aware of that. First, you say you’ve already tried to break it off. There’s a reason for that. If you’re happy in your situation, why would you try to end it? It’s an honest question that should give you pause for thought.
Second, your language twice indicates you’re also seeing red flags. “We love each other, but….” More concerning is “He’s a Christian, but…. ” Those two statements alone indicate that you are not ready to take this relationship to marriage. Marriage doesn’t fix problems that were there before. I’m many cases, it makes the problems more challenging to overcome.
Third, you’re concerned enough that you brought these concerns to a group of strangers to help you decide. When entering marriage, we need to know our own minds well enough that we can make the decision that is best for us. If questions as serious as these arise, I believe it’s best to take a step back and reevaluate. Marriage is supposed to be until death. Lord willing, that’s a long time to be living with someone about whom you had doubts in the first place.
It’s not selfish to want the kind of marriage that God intends you to have. It’s being obedient. I recommend going to the index of your Bible and looking up every verse that God wrote about marriage. Ask yourself if what you’re entering into is following His plan. And again, talk with your pastor about this.
I am praying that you will be able to make a decision based on wise counsel that will allow your life to bring the most glory to God.
If you don’t respect him now because he hasn’t led well, what behavior has given you ANY indication he, and his behavior, will change? It will actually be easier to remain the same AFTER you’re married…but now you’re stuck in a marriage relationship you’ve already spoken of regretting and wanting to break off. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior and you’ve told us what it continually is. It seems to me you’re settling by compromising your values which will only lead to heartache in the future.
If you were my sister, I’d strongly suggest ending it and letting 6 months of no-dating/remaining single pass.
You said he begged you not to break it off because he is working on it. It is better to go ahead and break it off (separate) NOW and let him figure out how to truly change than to marry and end up separating later because he still hasn’t.
You didn’t exactly say this, but it sounds like part of your hesitance is the idea that you have already “gone so far” sexually (even if shy of intercourse) that you feel obligated to go through with it. (If not, for goodness sake, DON’T START! I’m thinking of how I would have felt, plus that was the only “argument” in favor of staying with him that I gleaned from your post.) If you do feel that way, STOP IT!! You have already repented and assuming you asked God’s forgiveness as well, God doesn’t even remember that you did anything. In his eyes, you are white as snow.
My pastor just shared this with me this morning, and it applies: Ephesians 1:3-8 (Emphasis mine)
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Waiting was a huge deal to me and my DH. Then we did the same as you–pretty much everything but intercourse–before the wedding because we just didn’t have self-control. (By God’s grace, when I was weak, he was strong and vice versa, or we would have gone over the line completely!) So I understand feeling…pre-committed. Don’t. If the Holy Spirit is telling you he is not right (or at least not ready) for you, then put your past (sin) behind you and move on in grace!
You have identified significant spiritual issues with your relationship. You have put on the brakes, good for the both of you. You are asking yourself what more is there that will affect our marriage? Is it right in God’s eyes and can I live with it? That is a great place to be in evaluating the future with a man who would be in your vows to be made, a husband for life.
I would say that plenty of men and women, even on this forum and been sexually active before marriage. That is no example however to follow. But it does say that God gives grace. However, it would be presumptuous to assume that God’s grace to your marriage would exist with the red flags of warning are up telling you to stop. You cannot live out of presumption, it will end tragically.
Have you asked others how they feel about him, your friends, family, church, pastoral staff? Have you considered how he will react to tithing, witnessing, prayer, Bible study/personal growth, Sunday church services, eventual devotions with your children, leading the children and building disciples that will follow Christ?
Seek counsel, accountability, a prayer partner, someone who be your friend through this.
You haven’t given a lot of specifics so its tough to give detailed advice. That said, I know I wouldn’t want to be in a lifetime commitment to a woman who didn’t feel I measured up to her standards. So long term you may both be better off not getting married.
Re-reading this, two things struck me.
1. I’m wondering how genuine his profession of faith is. You say that he doesn’t seek any form of discipleship, shows no interest in leading you spiritually, that there are no signs of spiritual growth and that there’s little evidence in his lifestyle of being a Christian beyond being a nice guy who (presumably) goes to church.
2. You seem pretty unhappy in the relationship. You don’t think he’s the loving head of a family that you’re looking for, you’ve already tried to break it off before, and you’ve joined an online forum to seek the advice of strangers.
This doesn’t sound like a bride having a crisis of confidence before the wedding. This sounds like alarm bells going off, and you trying to find the courage to listen to the warnings and get out of the relationship before it’s too late. Like I said above, I think you should seek the counsel of slightly older, wiser women in the church, and listen carefully to their advice, although my gut is telling me that you should break it off and soon.
I keep coming back to your thoughts. Andy Stanley summed up Jesus’ words, which I’ve found to be true the hard way as well, “Purity brings clarity”. I don’t doubt how you care for him. You’ve invested time and literally, your physical purity into this relationship. BUT everything you wrote screams out that you want out but you feel guilty. Cut it off completely. Don’t allow him to hang on and change your mind. “Purity brings clarity” and I can see if you’ll allow that and not hang onto him that with 6-12 months of being single and finding some good, Christian same sex relationships and accountability, you’ll be seeing things more clearly.
By your own admission, you’ve crossed a HUGE purity line in the bonding process, with activities designed by God for marriage only. Now there is this emotional bond between you and your fiancé that is by God’s design, keeping you bonded to your fiancé. HOWEVER, while sinful, it does not me you should marry him AND from everything you’re saying, he’s not marriage material. It seems clear that you do not respect him and his leadership (or in this case LACK OF LEADERSHIP).
Henry Cloud would ask, “How has he demonstrated that his behavior (and leadership) will be different after you get married?” NOTHING!
I didn’t lead well dating my first wife and I paid a price for that. Always wondering if I made a mistake due to her gatekeeping after marriage and lack of physical desire AFTER we married despite fooling around before. She went on to have an affair and ended our 16 yr marriage. So after maintaining purity for more than a decade while dating various people, I got a do-over in a new relationship and fiancé, we made it to the finish line and have enjoyed an incredible marriage bed. With that said, DW & I said that if we’d ever crossed that purity line sexually, we’d have broken things off because the lack of respect we’d have for each other and wouldn’t allow us to continue. (Both of us made poor choices dating & marrying the first time around so we weren’t gonna do that again.)
Know this, God loves you and will forgive you and He offers you hope and healing. It is NOT selfish to let him go…BUT it does seem selfish to hold onto him just for your desire to start a family. With all you’ve described about his behavior and lack of leadership, WHY would you want children with him? What kind of example do you think he’ll be to them? If he won’t lead you, what has given you any hope that’ll he’ll change when you have children? Honor God and you’ll never regret it.
Respect yourself and expect more! Don’t settle! You can do it. I told my wife I wanted a Proverbs 31 wife and her response was, “Who are you becoming and what are you doing to deserve a Proverbs 31 wife?” She expected a man of character. It was non-negotiable for her. (The outsdoorman, hunter, flannel & boots kind of guy was apparently negotiable…’cause that I’m not.) What is non-negotiable for you? Where is your line-in-the-sand for character and Godly qualities?