I have a friend who has had the potential to be more than a friend for the past few years. During the beginning of our friendship we would be texting each other madly trying to talk as much as possible. In October he told me his family was leaving our church. On that night, he told me it wasn’t his job to pursue my heart and didn’t know if it would ever be. I knew then that our friendship, if continued, couldn’t be based on technology.
We have continued to hang out about once or twice a month with mutual friends since the time of the switch, and I find myself thinking of him daily and praying for him often. Recently, he asked me (in person) if I noticed his attempt to spend more quality time together and I replied yes. Of course I had.
The last time we hung out (at a Third Day concert), he told me he had come to hang out with a friend he doesn’t get to see very often, and no, it wasn’t the friend who invited him. Oh my. I totally melted. The whole reason he came was to see me!
I continually remind myself of two things:
1) At the end of the day he is still my friend.
2) He may have the potential to be my future husband.
So, my question for you is, how do I know if he thinks we may have a future together? How do I allow our friendship to honour God? And how do I honour my friend?
— Kathryn (17, Arkansas)
I think you’ve said a lot of really important things for us to consider about marriage and potential mates. I’d like to start by answering your last couple of questions first.
From what you’ve shared, it sounds like you’re already doing a good job of allowing your friendship to honour God. Spending time together in group settings, praying for him and making wise decisions when you’re around him are really good ways to honour him and God with your friendship. Continue to make wise choices with this guy and be careful to not blur the boundaries between friendship and a relationship. That gets confusing and hurtful really fast.
Right now you’re setting a good foundation for a potential relationship. My parents have been together for over 40 years now and they’re the best of friends. The initial infatuation and excitement will fade over time, but friendship will last. If you’re genuinely friends with your partner, it makes married life a lot more enjoyable.
It also seems like you’re aware of how much you’re interacting with technology versus real life. Yes, sometimes technology is necessary, but real life, face-to-face conversations are always best. Good for you for recognizing that in the midst of a technology obsessed culture.
As for your first question: how do you know if he thinks you may have a future together? Well, if you want to know what someone is thinking, I’ve found that asking usually works. Honesty and straightforwardness go a long way. However, he already told you it was not his job to pursue your heart and he doesn’t know if it ever will be. A guy that straightforward would tell you if he’s changed his mind. I think you have your answer to this one because he already gave it to you.
But there is one thing left to be said here. I don’t want to pull out that “But you’re so YOUNG!” thing, because that’s not helpful or respectful to you. Instead, let’s talk about timing.
When you consider a future relationship, you need to consider a bunch of things. Compatibility, for one. It sounds like you two are compatible since you’re such good friends. But when you’re 17, timing is the thing that will prove to be tricky. What happens after high school for both of you? Often that means college in different cities, moving away and long distance. That’s a lot of change. You’re likely not ready for marriage at this stage. He likely isn’t either. Or if you start dating and fall in love but you’re saving sex for marriage? Oh boy. The longer you date, the more difficult that will become, too. It’s possible, but very difficult. Be cautious.
Here’s my best advice regarding relationships and timing: don’t heat up the oven if you can’t cook the roast.
If you’re not ready to get married, don’t start dating someone. If the timing is way off — regardless of how wonderful you may be together — it’s still not the right relationship. Compatibility is important, but timing is, too.
Don’t rush anything. Enjoy being 17. Be his friend. Take your time. Maybe your friendship will last and eventually turn into a lifelong relationship. It happens. But right now, evaluate whether it would make sense to get married at this stage in life. This decision is one of the biggest you’ll make in life. Don’t rush it. Timing is everything.
To pot roasts and Third Day concerts,
Here’s what you need to do to be a part of the fun:
If you have a question, leave a comment, send a tweet (@mandiemariebee) or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include your first name (I won’t answer any questions sent in by bubbleguppy5000. Unless that’s your real name), age, and place of residence. I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Please note: Converge Magazine reserves the right to edit your questions for spelling, grammar, and brevity.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Knar Bedian.