By Kayla Koslosky, Crosswalk.com
Editor’s Note: Crosswalk's Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single editors.
I've been dating my 25-year-old boyfriend for some months now. We are both Christians and our parents are Christians, too. I love him and I'm sure he loves me. My problem is: he has refused to let his parents know that we are together because his parents think dating a girl is 'unholy.' He fears they'll think he's no longer born again and that he'll lose their respect if they found out he's going out with a girl. So he never calls me or answers my calls when he is with his parents, and he's always with them because he works at his Dad's company and lives with his parents. We meet in church, and our time out together never exceeds 30 minutes. It's really taking a toll on our relationship. How can I help him overcome this fear of losing his parents' respect?
Relationships with difficult family dynamics are tricky, but I encourage you not to be discouraged just yet. The first thing I recommend you do here is to have a good and healthy conversation with your boyfriend about how he views your relationship.
Discern if you are on the same page.
You said the two of you have been dating for “some months” and that you are “sure” he loves you. This could be completely off base, but are you assuming he loves you or has he actually told you he loves you?
It seems to me like there is a lack of collective vision for your relationship, so before the two of you confront his parents with your relationship, I think you need to find out if you are on the same page.
Focus on shared foundational values.
Like I talked about in the last column it is important for you two to be equally yoked. This means that spiritually you both need to share the same beliefs, values, and goals. It seems to me like you are looking to honor the value of honesty and your boyfriend is not.
Relationships built on lies rarely survive, and right now, your relationship is built on deceiving your boyfriend’s parents. I strongly caution against this. If your boyfriend was worried about losing his parent’s respect, lying to them for several months is not going to work in his benefit.
If anything, it’s possible that the continued lying will cost him more respect than dating you would have.
Encourage communicating and clarifying as honorable.
Exodus 20:12 tells us, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
That being said, once you two have determined if you are on the same page, I think your boyfriend needs to have a conversation with his parents. At 25 years old, your boyfriend is not a kid anymore, so he needs to be clear about the amount of autonomy he desires from his parents.
Of course, he should always respect his parents, but he should also consider identifying the point at which he should embrace his life as an adult.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” -- 1 Corinthians 13:11
Ask questions to define expectations.
Here are a few questions your boyfriend may want to ask his parents:
- What boundaries should I adhere to while I am still living at home? What about when I move out?
- At what age would it be appropriate for me to date or court someone?
- Do you view courting and dating as the same thing or are they different to you?
- Why do you believe dating a girl is “unholy”? Is it the actual act of dating or the temptations that come with dating?
I think these are important questions that your boyfriend needs answered. I know in some families the ideas of dating and courting are two very different things. Maybe his parents are okay with him courting you? If that is the case, you need to ask yourself if you are okay with the practice of courting as opposed to dating.
At the end of the day, lying – and a lie of omission is still a lie – is never the answer and it is not going to lead to you having a holy relationship. In fact, it is doing the opposite.
So, I recommend that you two have a conversation and then -- if you are on the same page -- ask your boyfriend if he would talk to his parents about boundaries and expectations. If your boyfriend is not willing to have these very real conversations, it might be that he is not quite ready to be in a relationship. Take courage, and you’ll find peace.
Kayla Koslosky loves her faith journey as a Christian single and is the News Editor for ChristianHeadlines.com. Kayla has worked as a mentor for college leaders offering them advice and assistance throughout their leadership journeys, led a women's Bible study, and wrote an advice column for her college’s Yellow Jacket Newspaper.
Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God's direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God's guidance through prayer and the Bible.
Have a question? If you have a question about anything related to living the single life, please email [email protected] (selected questions will be addressed anonymously). While we cannot answer every question, we hope you'll find encouragement in this column.
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