199. Is it wrong to be so close to him without...
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Dear Dr. Smith

I am a S.D.A female in my mid twenties, I have never been in a relationship but I am committed to not settling and I have been trying to educate myself on matters of relationships and choosing the right mate in accordance with God's will.

I met a young man who is 6 years younger than I am, he is also S.D.A. and he has deep interest in us getting into a relationship. He has good qualities and we have become quite close over the pass 9 months. My concern is that I am not sure if I want to get into a relationship with him at this time but I am wondering if it is wrong to be so close to him without making any form of commitment.

We have spoken openly about how I feel and the fact that I am unsure of how I want to move forward. He said that he understands and we can continue to be friends but he still has the desire for us to form a relationship that will eventually lead to marriage.
Should I cut our friendship or start dating him with the prospect of marriage in mind?
I am seeking to do what is right for us.

Dear Friend,

Thanks for reaching out to me and I understand the concerns you share. I am going to give you the pros and cons of your situation as best as I can. Let's start with the Pros:

1. I commend you for your spiritual and moral stand as a single female and I must let you know that God is well pleased with you.

2. The person you have interest in is of your faith and that is a good starting point.

3. You have seen some good qualities in him that you admire.

4. He has expressed understanding when you communicated your feelings with him. (a good starting point in any relationship)

5. You are seeking professional help before plunging deeper into the relationship.

6. You are still young and the future is still on your side.

Cons:
1. He is six years younger. It is always better to have the man older than the woman. If you are 25-26 then it means that he is 19-20 or somewhere close to that age. In my professional judgment, I don't think he is mature enough to make a decision about a lasting relationship with someone older than him. So you can run the risk of investing your emotion in someone who might not be ready for that investment a year or two from now.

2. Nine months is still too short a time for you to truly understand who he is. At the moment you are experiencing the celebratory period of the relationship, so most things will look good and he will appear to be this terrific person. However, you will need more time to determine if he is who he appears to be.

3. Current statistic show that men are taking much longer time to get married. So you don't want him to make an early decision about marriage and then 5 years from now he is saying he is not sure if he wants to be married.

4. You are getting but you are not giving emotional warmth. If you are going to be that close to him, then, you should make some kind of commitment. Just think for a moment if the reverse was true, wouldn't you want him to give you some form of commitment? You can give commitment without compromising principle.

Having given you my pros and cons, let me say clearly that I don't see any reason to prevent you from exploring the possibilities. Be guarded and cautious, and be aware of three things.

1. Don't mix money with dating. Stay away from helping out or giving loans.

2. Don't mix sex with dating. Stay away from feeling sorry for his feelings, or compromising your spirituality

3. Don’t mix marriage with study. Very few men go on to pursue their educational dreams after marriage. So if he is to finish his education, it is best to do so before marriage. This is not an absolute, just a suggestion.

Take your time and work on the relationship, keep praying, and if things are working out the way you want it to be, then go for it. Remember to do pre-marital counseling before you even think of setting a date or getting engaged.

God bless, and success to you.
Have a great day.

Dr. Smith
For more information about Dr. Smith's services go to www.familyfixers.org