EDITOR'S NOTEhe said-she said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to he said-she said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: For the past year I have been struggling with strong feelings for a very godly young woman who knows of my feelings but does not return them. The last thing I want to do is upset her or make her uncomfortable. She has expressed to me that she enjoys having me as a friend and would like to continue our friendship, but it's frustrating when I have these feelings for her and we are forced together because we both work in the same church ministry. If she isn’t ‘the one’ why won’t God take these feelings away, even after fasting and praying? It’s hard to see God’s purpose in this.

HE SAID:

I fully understand the frustration of desiring a relationship with someone who doesn’t respond in a reciprocating manner.  It is often hard to accept, difficult to make sense of it and easy to rationalize why it should happen according to our thinking. 

By faith, you have been fasting and praying for God’s understanding, but He doesn’t always clue us in on His plans or on our purpose in our time (nor does He often see a need to no matter how fervent the prayer is).  For however long it takes, we are simply called to be obedient to His Word and faithful to Him.

Don't judge anything before the appointed time.  1 Corinthians 1:5

What I have discovered through my relationships and those I have observed is that it may be the right time for one with the wrong person or the right person at the wrong time.

Don’t be so quick as to jump to any conclusions or judgments about the slowly developing relationship. Oftentimes, we don’t recognize why we are in a certain circumstance, how the Lord is using us, what is going on with those around us or the time frame the Lord is working in.

Choose to trust and believe God really does have your best interest in mind - whatever it may be and whenever it may occur.  Be patient, live according to how God leads you and focus on those things you have been entrusted with now rather than concentrating on those things you don’t yet have. 

Serve well in the ministry you have been called to, enjoy the relationship you have with your friend and continue to seek wisdom and understanding.  However, I would caution you to not push her into something she doesn’t seem to want at this time and suggest you back off a little to give her some space.  Maybe in the process she will see you from a different perspective. 

SHE SAID:

Your question really touched my heart because it hit close to home; I’ve seen it in my own friend circles so many times.

To put it quite simply, if your interest in this lady is not returned, there is not much you can do. Yes, if you feel the tug of the Lord to pursue her, don’t dismiss it right off the bat. But in all honesty, it might just be the tug of attraction and admiration, and not the tug of the Lord at all. The Lord might have very different plans for her life- and yours.

You must also ask yourself, am I pursuing her because she is the best and most beautiful lady I know? Or am I pursuing her because she complements my specific personhood the way a mate is supposed to? Just because someone is “perfect” doesn’t mean she is perfect for YOU - or that you are what SHE needs!

I have been in the position of the young woman. I was once in a situation where a godly young man wanted to pursue me, and he was a close friend, but I knew I would never be able to love him as a wife should love her husband. He graciously accepted this and put me back into the “just friends” section of his mind…and he is now engaged to marry a beautiful young woman he met in college!

“[The LORD] holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield
 to those whose walk is blameless, 
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.”
Proverbs 2:7

Unrequited love is very hard. But “man is a giddy thing” as Shakespeare noted– and our feelings change.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”Jeremiah 17:9

From a lady’s (probably biased) perspective, I think the most respectful thing to do would be to respect her disinterest, continue to value and treasure her friendship, and don’t close your mind off to other possible relationships. It is possible she may change her mind! But I would not encourage you to relentlessly woo her at the cost of your friendship and partnership in ministry.

 HE is … cliff young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is …  Debbie Wright, Assistant Editor for Family Content at Crosswalk. She lives in Glen Allen, Virginia and is an avid writer, reader, and participant in local community theatre.

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!). 

GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to he said-she said (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the he said-she said archives.

Publication date: July 12, 2012