EDITOR'S NOTE: He 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 email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: Should age stop me from pursuing a godly guy?
My parents decided before I was even born that my siblings and I wouldn't date until we were 18, a rule I greatly appreciate! I am three months away from my 18th birthday and it has been great having the freedom to be me without being overly concerned with guys.
Since I was 9 my brother has been friends with "Lenard." Lenard is 24 (exactly 6 years 10 months older than me) he has practically been a part of our family, I've always loved him. When I was younger he was like an adopted brother to me... but as I reached my teens I realized he is super cute. As I mature there are several godly qualities I have seen in Lenard's heart that are very virtuous... and yes, he is drop dead gorgeous! Still, I am finding myself more and more attracted to his character. The love I have always had for him is shifting into something more for me. Lenard has the kind of gentlemanly character and godly heart that every girl should desire.
Since we have had a brother-sister relationship for so long, will he pursue me? He seems to flirt with me a lot... but I could be too caught up in my daydreams to recognize reality. I keep feeling the urge to tell him how I feel after I turn 18, but I don't want to risk losing his friendship! Am I too young to be in a relationship with Lenard? Should I wait for him to say something, or do I need to tell him how I feel?
When I first read your question, my immediate thought was, “age alone shouldn’t necessarily deter a relationship.” However, after reading through your situation, I would highly caution you in your circumstance.
Although six years and ten months is not a large age difference in the big picture, it is when one is still a teenager. I’m not saying it can’t or won’t ever work because we all know of couples where it has, but at this stage of your life and his, the difference is huge.
Although the maturity levels of boys are usually trailing those of girls at the same age, there is a lot of life and growth that takes place between those years. If he is as wonderful as you say, he is probably trying to figure out what his calling is and determining a plan to get there. On the other hand, you have just gotten out of (or are finishing up) high school and should be looking forward to continuing your education, or figuring out your next step.
Secondly, you should not be the one in pursuit. If Lenard is a “godly guy with gentlemanly character,” he should be the one taking the initiative. It's fine to let someone know you’re interested, but a guy needs to not only be the spiritual leader of the relationship, but also the pursuer of one. The biggest concern I hear in the Christian community (from women) is guys are not taking the lead in letting a girl know he is interested nor going after what he wants. When the girl becomes the aggressor, it gives a guy even more reason not to, which alters the roles in the relationship.
Having a crush on a family friend is fine and his familiarity with everyone is probably the reason he feels comfortable around you, but I would hope he is not “flirting” as you say, which is highly inappropriate with you still being a minor.
If he does have feelings for you when you do become “of age,” I would suggest he discuss it with your parents to receive their blessings prior to any relationship forming.
First, let me congratulate you on waiting til you were 18 to date. Biblical dating does have a focus on eventual marriage, so having that extra time to mature is great. Now, regarding Lenard. I personally see no problem in you dating him. Though he may have been like a big brother in the past, now you're both adults. I think falling in love with someone who has been a great friend for that many years is wonderful. I love the fact that you admit you are attracted to the outside but more so to the inside. And you of all people would know who he really is in the Lord.
So at this point what do you do? Well, I would first talk to your parents, letting them know your feelings for Lenard. It may seem old fashioned, but having their opinion could be valuable. Maybe they could shed some light as to his feelings too. If you and Lenard were to get together, are you ready for a courtship? Marriage? If you are saying, no, you just want to date him, I would then say for what? You may be old enough to date and to marry, but you still need to be ready. Perhaps the next steps is spending some one-on-one time with Lenard.
If you parents agree, I would tell Lenard that your feelings for him have changed from a brother/sister love to a more romantic nature. This way, if he isn't feeling the same way, he will be aware of how he treats you. Although flirting may seem silly as a sister/brother relaitonship, it can mean something much more in a romantic relationship. Now, if he doesn't feel the same way, he will at least know. It doesn't mean you can't stay friends or even family. Who knows what the future holds? Continue to pray, asking God to clearly show your feelings for each other. Be blessed.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts (Psalm 139:23)..
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 ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of three books.
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.
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org (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: June 26, 2014