Category Archives: commitment

All the Single Guys

 

 

It must be something inside guys from birth. I’ve been there many times. You sit with a list of possibilities – Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, BMW, whichever. Or will it be Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony or Vizio. Then there are the options on each one. So many options, how can one decide? While you are stuck in indecision another year passes and another model becomes available. Now there is a whole new set of possibilites to factor in.
 
I think guys can be like that with relationships. Analysis paralysis strikes again.
 
Guys will get stuck kicking tires and slow down the experience being in the drivers seat of their own vehicle. Yes, they may test drive several along the way, but then give them back because of their uncertainty. And unfortunately they often return them empty of gas and covered with dirt. Have you ever washed a rental car? I think guys can treat the women that they date like that too sometimes. They use them and then leave them drained and sullied.
 
Are you one of those guys? I’m not saying you necessarily have bad intentions. You may seriously want to find a wife, and you are pretty good at treating women respectfully. But are you so stuck on finding “the perfect one” that you let the years and women roll by and never really get started? And then you wonder why women your age seem to be so anxious about getting married?
 
Or are you one of those guys that allow your relationship to drag on for years without making a decision? If you don’t know if she’s right within the first year then you will probably never know. Finish the job within two years or let her go find someone who will.
 
There is reality to a woman’s biological clock, and men just don’t feel pressured by it in the same way, (unless of course they are married to a wife who is). I don’t believe it is fair for men to negatively judge women who carry that desire to be married while childbearing is still possible or relatively easy. I think guys need to have more empathy.
 
Do women also look for the perfect man? Of course they do. But I think they are likely to become more realistic as time goes by and they hear that clock ticking. I think guys need to join them.
 
Are you holding back because you think you have to have it all together first — the home, the career, the bank account? You don’t need to be a home owner – but you do need to have a job. And it’s good to have a realistic sense of where you are headed in life. If you are having a hard time getting a woman to say “yes” to a marriage proposal it may be because you lack these basics. Or it could be that you still need maturity in other areas as well. Are you prepared to make compromises for the sake of a relationship? Did you learn how to share as a kid? You will need that skill as a husband. Long term singleness can make both men and women pretty rigid and selfish sometimes.
 

Is it scary to think about giving up the freedom that comes with singleness? Yes it is. But is marriage good for men? Yes. Is it good for women? Yes. Is it good for children? Yes. And it is good for society as well.

If you like it ………     

 

Saying “I Do or I Don’t”

 
 
It is always an anxious moment for a pre-married or pre-engaged client when they ask us this age-old question:
 
“Should I ask her to marry me?”
 
I almost never answer this question directly. I don’t believe I should be given this much power in someone else’s life. But what I do is try to lead them through some questions that might help them make a good decision. If we are seeing a couple that is undecided, we often ask them to do a homework assignment from a workbook that guides them through this process. We ask them to take a personal retreat and seek God for an answer.
 
Confusion over this decision may come when boundaries have been crossed. A relationship may have become too intimate too quickly – especially when sexual boundaries have been discarded. We may feel very close, allowing our heart to rule over our head. Feeling close is not the same as being well-matched. It’s especially easy to ignore important signs when a relationship is relatively new and in the infatuation stage (less than six months or so).
 
This heart over head, or head over heart question is extremely important to the longevity of a relationship. If out of balance you may be opening up your life to either chaos or coldness, which might not be sustainable. 
 
Ask yourself these questions:  
 
  • Will he/she make a good parent?
  • Can I trust this person completely?
  • Will I fit into his/her family system?
  • Do we have common goals?
  • Is there any hint of abusiveness, physical or emotional?
  • Is he/she emotionally mature?
  • Are there any addictions that are not healed (drugs, alcohol, spending, sex)?
  • Are there any character issues that worry me (lying, angry, irresponsible, needy)?
  • Will we be partners, both carrying the weight of the relationship or will one person function more like a dependent child?
  • Do we resolve conflict effectively?
  • Do we apologize and forgive easily?
  • Is he/she possessive, jealous, manipulative or controlling?
  • Do I feel safe with this person? 
Intense feelings of love are not sufficient to sustain a lifetime marriage. The right questions have more to do with direction, purpose, respect, integrity and commitment. Those are questions that have to be answered with courage and rigorous honesty.  
 
A good goodbye is so much better than a painful life.   
 
If you are married, and struggling with some of these issues, take heart. There is always an opportunity to heal old wounds, build some relationship skills, and change some bad habits. Those things also take courage, honesty and just plain hard work. You may have to lead the process in your relationship. Start with prayer, surrender your heart, and get good counsel.  

The Hard Way is the Right Way

Every couple of years Nan & I attend an international Christian counseling conference in Nashville. One of the hard tasks is picking out the tracks (classes) that we will attend. There are so many that are enticing. Do we go to tracks that our friends are teaching, or do we go to the really popular ones, or do we choose tracks that will challenge our thinking?

John Townsend is presenting one that besides being popular also sounds intriguing. The title is: The Hard Way is the Right Way: Helping People Face What Must be Faced, and Succeed.

I am anticipating what he might tell us, and I know it’s not what most people want to hear. 

I think of the many times I want to follow my feelings and bail out on a hard decision. Then I remind myself that not making a decision is a decision in itself. Ouch! If you are like me, you don’t like conflict. But I know that the path to resolving problems often takes us through the anxiety-producing valley of conflict.

I think of people I know who are facing a lot of financial turmoil. No choice seems to be a good one. There will be loss involved in any decision that they make. Having to choose a painful process is really hard. But it is the right thing to do if getting back to stability is their goal.

What hard choices do you have to face?

  • Letting go of a bad relationship?
  • Staying in a difficult marriage because you made a commitment before God and others?
  • Making decisions about an aging parent?
  • Doing an intervention on an addicted family member?
  • Letting a child face the consequences of their bad choices?
  • Turning down a lucrative but immoral business decision?
  • Accepting reality when a fantasy is satisfying?
  • Standing up for your faith when you know you will be rejected or ridiculed?

I’ll bet all of you could add to this list. I know I could. Really what we are talking about here is following your values rather when they are in conflict with your feelings. And perhaps that means really struggling to clarify and establish your values. Ultimately we will follow what we actually believe. If I don’t believe God is able to see me through a painful place, I will likely fold.

Just something to think about.