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).
I am 31, and I have been dating a guy (we are both Asian and born-again believers) in a long distance relationship for 2 years. We have only met in person 3 times, but we talk on the phone a lot. He is very interested in marry me, but his home situation makes me uncomfortable. He has 2 mentally disabled adult brothers at home, whom he really cares about. After his parents grow old, he will be responsible for living with and caring for his brothers.
I feel guilty even asking this, but should I marry him? Part of me knows I wouldn't be happy living with and caring for 2 disabled people. The other part knows I should sacrifice my life for the good of others, as Scripture says.
This man is good and loyal to me, even though he has an anxiety disorder stemming from his upbringing and home life. His parents aren't ready to put their sons in a disabled care center; they too expect my boyfriend to care for his brothers when they are no longer able to. He knows about my fears, but says we shouldn't worry and we'll be able to face whatever the future brings. But I haven't been able to accept his offer of marriage, and have really been battling fear. I feel so bad about this. Am I being selfish, and dishonoring God, for not committing to this man?
Having been in long distance relationships, I understand many of the obstacles and struggles you face, along with the benefit of having to learn to communicate with each other apart from one another. Being “together” for two years yet only having met three times during that period can translate to a shorter relational period overall, so try not to feel the pressure of time in your decision making.
Your fears and apprehensiveness are valid, and discussion of marriage may be a bit premature due to your lack of “face time," although some Asian cultures don’t necessarily emphasize the need to be “together” through a courtship period (i.e. arranged marriages).
Your boyfriend’s concern for his brothers and the responsibility he is taking to care for them is admirable. It shows his heart and love for his family, which is characteristic in part to his background.
As a believer, each person is called to live the life they are individually gifted for and it is not wrong to follow a path that differs from another.
Live a life worthy of the calling you were given (Ephesians 4:1).
Oftentimes we, even those of us in the church, compare ourselves to others and judge one another based upon what we are doing or how we decide to act.
Just because you may be tithing thousands of dollars each week doesn’t mean your neighbor has to. Even though you’re spending every week helping in the nursery doesn’t mean everyone else should. If your boyfriend is called to serve the rest of his life caring for his brothers, it doesn’t make you selfish or dishonoring not to.
God calls each of us for a distinct and separate purpose.
Whomever God brings to you as a “help mate” should share in that calling you have been given (or at least be willing to walk through it with you).
As you spend more time together and continue to grow in your relationship, you will know whether this is the man and direction God has called you for or not. However, do not let fear alone dictate your decisio,n as oftentimes fear is from the enemy trying to keep you from doing God’s work or from achieving what you don’t think is possible.
Thanks for sharing your honest fears about your future marriage to your boyfriend. I totally understand your concerns, as I was in a similar situation with a man who was himself physically disabled, due to a car accident 20 years earlier. During our courtship he reminded me that even though today he was very active and had pretty good use of his arms and legs, that eventually the tendons would become weaker and weaker, putting him a wheelchair. He wanted to make sure I understood the possible future of our relationship. I was very concerned and thought and prayed hard about it. I loved him and trusted that God would work things out for us both.
If you love this man, you take him for the good and the bad. You have to love all of him, including the commitments he has made prior to his commitment to you. But also realize, due to his anxiety concerns, he may not be equipped to care for his brothers long-term. So at some point in time they may need to go to a facility. I think you need to trust God for what is best. God will either move them to a facility or equip you both to take care of them. Either way, trust God. It sounds like you have found a wonderful man who truly loves you. Don't let him slip away.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
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.
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