Category: Engagement

Q&A: Physical Boundaries While Dating

Q: I’ve been in a relationship for several months and we are trying to be careful physically. When is it appropriate to start touching-with boundaries in place?

A: I think different Christians have different opinions on what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in a dating relationship. In the early stages of dating you don’t want to get involved very much physically because if you do, it could overtake the relationship and you don’t spend time getting to know each other, which is the purpose of dating. So, I can’t say what you should and shouldn’t do but during the early stages, I think you ought to hold off on the physical and get to know each other. Then, I also think, there are appropriate and inappropriate touches in a dating relationship.

Q&A: How To Plan Our First Year Of Marriage

Q: My fiancé and I are constantly at odds over how to plan our first years together and how best to spend money. Can you help?

A: I’m glad you’re running into this now before you get married because this is a common problem in marriage. If you don’t learn how to resolve theses conflicts before you get married, you’re setting yourself up for failure in marriage. So, I’m really glad that you’re acknowledging, “We’ve got a problem here.” I wrote a book a while ago called, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We God Married. One of the chapters is about how to solve conflicts without arguing. I think you’d find that book extremely helpful. The reality is that if we don’t learn how to resolve conflilcts, we’re going to live in a war-torn zone in marriage. So, it’s worth the effort to learn how to listen and resolve conflicts.

Q&A: How Do I Show Appreciation To My Fiancé?

QHow do I show appreciation to my finance? He does a lot of great things for me but says I don’t SHOW that I appreciate him.

A: I think this is a common problem in relationships; One person will do something to express their love for the other person but they don’t get the response they thought they would get. Maybe he buys a gift and thinks, “she’s going to really like this” and she says, “Oh thank you” and that’s it, but he thought she would be jumping up and down with excitement. I think a part of the problem is not understanding the other person’s love language. He’s speaking to you in one language and apparently you’re hearing that because you’re observing that he’s doing a lot of good things for you. I would say, take the Love Language quiz and discuss it with each other. I think you’ll find it to be helpful.

Q&A: The Line On Physical Touch Before Marriage

Q: Where is the line on Physical Touch before marriage? I think some think this refers only to sex.

A: This is a good question. I cannot give a categoric answer for everyone but I can give you some suggestions. Certainly, sexual intercourse should be off limits for a couple who is dating. But I think other things should also be off limets: putting your hands under clothes, taking off clothes, touching each other’s sexual organs…I think those things are off limits because they are next door to sexual intercourse. Holding hands, on the other hand, is in a different cateogy. Giving a sincere hug or kiss, as I see it, is in a different category. However, I think each individual must draw some guidelines, otherwise we end up going where we never intended to go.

Q&A: Marriage Checklist?

Q: “Is there a checklist or time frame that’s realistic for knowing when to get married?”

A: Many people, I think, marry far too soon. They don’t know each other well enough and haven’t explored the foundations for building a marriage—for example, learning how to handle anger in a realtionship. Not necessarily in your relationship because if you’re in love, you probably don’t feel much anger toward each other. But how does the other person handle anger toward their mother or father or someone at work? That’s a huge thing. You don’t want to get married until you find out if they can handle those kinds of emotions.

So yes, I think there are things that you have to explore before you get married. And when you see those things coming together, you see those traits in the person, it gives you a great deal of more confidence that they have the ability to build a healthy marriage.

Q&A: What are the biggest mistakes new couples make?

Q: My son will be getting married soon. What are the biggest mistakes new couples make and how can I advise my son to avoid them?

A: I think the biggest mistake is allowing our own ideas to be the idea. So when we get into a difference of opinion, we assume our side is right and we try to convince the other person, “You’ve got to see it my way or you’re not being intelligent.” Teaching them how to resolve conflicts without arguing, which requires listening empathetically, trying to understand the other person’s position, and then giving their position. Understanding leads us to finding resolutions. I think communicating that is probably the best thing you could do for a young couple getting married.


 

Q&A: Does God still reveal to us whom we should marry?

Q: I am single, but desire to get married one day. Does God still reveal to us whom we should marry?

A: I do think God guides us but I don’t think God specifically points out the person we should marry. Certainly, we should pray for God’s guidance in the process but typically God uses the mind. That’s why I think it’s so important when you’re dating and contemplating the question “Would this be the person God would have for me?” that you really take time to get to know that person. That’s the purpose of dating—when you do that, God can guide your thoughts and you can then make a wise decision. The greatest danger is operating simply on your emotions—”We’re in love and nothing else matters.” That mindset is a recipe for disaster.

Q&A: I broke off an engagement but we got back together. What advice would you give us for trusting and forgiving?

A: Any time a couple breaks off an engagement and then gets back together, I think you should take plenty of time to explore the foundation of the relationship. It’s not just a matter of regaining trust or forgiving the past, it’s a matter of digging a little deeper—because when you get engaged then break it off, that’s pretty serious. You need to take this time to learn and grow. I do think that you can forgive the past and learn to trust again, but more importantly is discovering the foundation that you really need to have in order to have a good marriage. That’s why I wrote Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.

Q&A: My fiancé resists getting help for his bad drinking habits. What can I do?

A: It’s time to say to him “I love you, I really do want to get married to you but I’m not getting married until you deal with your drinking problem.” Now I know such a statement is threatening. It’s also risky because you may lose the relationship. He may tell you, “Don’t tell me how to live my life.” But it’s far better to hear him say that now before you get married than to hear him say that six months after you’re married. I’m telling you, this is a serious problem. Don’t ignore it. It will not go away. Tough love is the only kind of love that will help him at this point.

Q&A: My fiancé resists getting help for his bad drinking habits. What can I do?

A: It’s time to say to him “I love you, I really do want to get married to you but I’m not getting married until you deal with your drinking problem.” Now I know such a statement is threatening. It’s also risky because you may lose the relationship. He may tell you, “Don’t tell me how to live my life.” But it’s far better to hear him say that now before you get married than to hear him say that six months after you’re married. I’m telling you, this is a serious problem. Don’t ignore it. It will not go away. Tough love is the only kind of love that will help him at this point.

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