51. LADIES, HOW LONG ARE YOU PREPARED TO WAIT?
(The Courting Or Engaged Series – Batch 2)
Tonight, I was reading a news story online, which reported that a lady of high social standing and prominence, had parted ways with her boyfriend after TEN (10) years of being in a relationship.
The Article stated that apparently, she had gotten tired of waiting for him to propose and had issued an ultimatum, only to have it backfire in her face.
Well, I don’t know if I would say that it backfired. I think she may have dodged a proverbial bullet, as he may have continued to string her along for the next five (5) years or forever. Some men will do that for as long as they can get away with it.
Fortunately, she is still young enough to find someone else that would treat her right and what seems like a painful end, may very well lead to a beautiful beginning.
The news Article got me thinking though. This issue about advancing from the position of girlfriend to fiancé is one that I am passionate about.
Sadly, even within the body of Christ, there are men that are dating/courting women for years and years and YEARS, without seeing the need to make the woman in their lives a wife. In such situations, the woman waits and waits and waits for the guy to finally act like a man (not a boy) and pop the question but many times, he never does.
Why is this? I personally have never been in such a situation but here are my views on the topic:
VIEW NO. 1
There is no set time limit as to when a man should propose. This will differ from couple to couple and the Bible does not give any rule in relation to this. You will not find anywhere in the good book that states, “Thou shalt marry your girlfriend within ….. years of courting/dating.”
HOWEVER, God is a God of holiness and when he designed romantic relationships between men and women, he had marriage in mind. This is the reason why he labels fornication a sin because it is done outside of the walls of a marriage. He states in his word, that MARRIAGE (not a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or even an engagement) is honourable. It is the final act of marriage that he puts his stamp of blessing on.
Whereas there is no set time limit for marrying a significant other therefore, God expects that when a Christian man and a woman begin a relationship, that marriage is the ultimate goal. Of course, things may occur during the courtship/dating period that make the parties realize that they are not right for each other. If that is the case, they are entitled to go their separate ways.
HOWEVER, I do not believe that it was God’s intention, him being an honourable God, for a man to behave dishonourably, by keeping a woman tied to his side without fully committing to her for years and years and YEARS or (shudder) even indefinitely.
This long period of just being in limbo is sure to lead to sexual temptation due to physical attraction and sin, hence the reason that Paul stated to unmarried Christian people, that it was better for them to marry, than to burn (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 KJV). In other words, it was better if one could not contain himself or herself sexually, to marry than to commit the grave sin of fornication, which is sex outside of marriage.
Additionally, if God’s purpose for romantic relationships between men and women was for such relationships to end in marriage, why go against God’s will by being in a relationship with anyone, if marriage is not the foreseeable end goal?
VIEW NO. 2
As I stated earlier, there is no set time period for which a proposal should take place.
HOWEVER, it is my view that, if both parties entered the relationship for the right reasons and they are both marriage-minded and they decide not to break up, that the man should be uttering those “Will you marry me?” words after at least three (3) years of courtship/dating.
Of course, according to the circumstances (and there can be valid circumstances), the period in which he proposes could be sooner or later. For example, whereas a woman in her early twenties may be fine with waiting three (3) or so years on a proposal, a woman in her late thirties may expect a proposal after making the one (1) or two (2) year mark. What is important in each case is reasonableness, given the specific circumstances.
I will say though that, while I do not support and do not believe that God supports lengthy boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, it is important to not jump into a marriage before you have afforded yourself enough time to get to know someone.
No matter how old a woman is, in this day and age, it can never be prudent (unless you are convinced that God is saying to marry him and for your sake, I hope that you are right), to marry someone that you do not even know well. Such a choice could be detrimental, in more ways than one. You may find yourself married yes but to a man from hell. Just saying.
VIEW NO. 3
If I am in a relationship with a man, I would personally expect him to propose by at least somewhere after the two (2) year mark. It could be sooner but I have always wanted to wait until at least two (2) years.
Mind you, a guy may have a valid reason for not proposing even after three (3) years have passed but most times, based on what I have observed, he doesn’t.
When I say ‘valid reason’, I mean a situation for example, where one party or even both are studying, so he waits until that is completed or a situation where the couple has a long distance relationship and they are trying to sort out the logistics like where they will live and looking for a new job for one of the parties in the new area and so on.
It could be a situation where the lady is really young, for example, she entered the relationship at the age of eighteen (18) and the man is waiting until she gets a little bit older and more mature, before he weds her. It could also be a situation where there is a family emergency like a death or sickness or major financial difficulty, like him having to repay a student loan, so that the timing to become engaged and incur a whole heap of additional expenses is not right.
HOWEVER, where reasons similar to those mentioned above are absent, it is a MAJOR red flag for the woman because it means that the man she is with is delaying a proposal with NO JUSTIFIABLE EXCUSE.
VIEW NO. 4
The Article I read about the lady of high social standing (by now you may have guessed who the Article was referring to), stated that there was some law in her country that stated, that a person wishing to marry someone of her status, had to first seek approval from her family, if she was sixth in line to the throne.
The Article went on to say, that she HAD been sixth in line to the throne until the birth of her second cousin, some time the year before.
The writer of the Article was insinuating therefore, that the lady’s boyfriend may have used the excuse of fear of approaching her family for permission to marry her, as the reason why he had not yet proposed after all those years. However with the birth of the newborn since early the previous year and the fact that the lady was no longer number six but seven and that therefore, the requirement for her family’s approval was no longer needed, a proposal may have been expected by the lady but alas, none was STILL forthcoming.
I mentioned that to say this: If a man strategically finds every excuse in the book to avoid marrying you, then he is NOT a man of integrity. A man of integrity would be honest with you. If he doesn’t want to marry you, he would end things with you, as opposed to manipulating things to keep you stuck, while time goes mindlessly by.
UPDATE: After I wrote this Article, I read later that the man entered a relationship with another woman soon after the breakup and proposed to her within less than a year thereafter. They are now married.
VIEW NO. 5
I heard someone once say (or perhaps it was an Article that I read), that within perhaps the first three (3) weeks of courting/dating a woman, a man KNOWS whether she is THE ONE he wants to marry or not.
Sadly though, many men keep a woman tied to them in a relationship for years and years and YEARS, knowing full well that she is not THE ONE they want or not even knowing what they want.
Not surprisingly, most of these relationships do not end well. For, the woman gets to the point where she (in desperation), issues an ultimatum and finally cornered, he proposes because he is forced to do so (in which case he enters the marriage feeling resentful, if they even make it that far) or he leaves the woman heartbroken by choosing to end the relationship because he never intended to marry her anyway.
VIEW NO. 6
When a man strings along a woman for an indefinite period of time without making her his wife although he knows that she wants to be married, he is sending a DEFINITE message. He is saying and quite loudly at that, “I am not convinced as to your worth. I want to stick around long enough to see if I will eventually become convinced, at which point, I MAY propose.”
Although there are the rare exceptions, this never usually happens. If a man is with you for two (2) whole years and he has not yet seen your worth and is not yet convinced that you deserve the title of ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ to his children, then he will never be convinced.
What more can you do? Chances are you have already cooked for him and been there for him and given him all of your time and your love and he still does not see your worth… so he does not propose.
VIEW NO. 7
When a man fails to propose in a timely manner, he is sending another DEFINITE message. He is saying, “This life revolves around me. I always put myself first because I am selfish and self-centred. I don’t care what this is doing to you or how it may impact you because I am all about MYSELF.”
He may use as an excuse, that he has commitment issues, that he is afraid of marriage, blah, blah, blah. What he is really saying is, “ I have issues yes but I am also very selfish and I do not love you because if I did, I would want you to be happy and if I have difficulty in proposing because of my own issues, then because it would be selfish to expect you to stay while I sort them out and because I care about you, I would set you free to find happiness with someone else.”
Make no mistake, men know that women have a biological clock and want to be a wife and mother (at least most women). When they keep a woman stuck to them in a relationship without making the woman a wife therefore, they KNOW that they are depriving her of her heart’s desire and that this could actually sabotage her dream of marrying and becoming a mother one day. They keep her stuck, knowing full well that they are taking her best years, her most beautiful years, the years she will never get back and in many cases, only to discard her later.
VIEW NO. 8
My next point is this: Women need to know their worth.
That way, if a man has difficulty believing that you are worthy, as hard as it may be, because you respect yourself and your dreams, you WILL walk away if he is playing you for a fool.
If a woman knows her worth, she knows what she wants. If it is that she wants to be a wife and mother, then if he wants something else based on his inaction, she WILL walk away from that relationship.
I personally do not believe in having constant conversations with a man about when he is going to propose or manipulating him to do so or shamefully begging that he does or reaching the point where an ultimatum needs to be issued. Apart from the fact that such behaviour is demeaning and pathetic, where is the beauty in that?
If a man (based on the discernment God gives to him), does not see my worth, value and significance and within a reasonable time period, so much so, that he is blown away and humbled by the very thought of me being his wife and the mother of his children, then it is quite simple: He does not deserve to be with me.
Women sabotage themselves by staying in a relationship with a man when they KNOW the clock is ticking and they KNOW he has no intention of marrying them. I say KNOW because men will let you know how they feel, even if not with words.
That man has been communicating how he feels but you refuse to listen. It is not necessarily that he does not want to marry but he does not want to marry YOU.
Perhaps he has not yet found the woman he believes is worthy of the title of wife and perhaps (because some men foolishly look for perfection), he never will find such a woman. A non-proposal after more than three (3) years of courting/dating and without a justifiable excuse and where he knows you are marriage-minded is him telling you that he does not want you to be his wife or the mother of his children. Why are you refusing to hear?
A woman cannot force a man to see her worth but she CAN walk away from a situation that jeopardizes her dream of having a family that God will bless one day and her own happiness. There is no way to make a man see your worth. Where he does not, more acts of kindness and sacrifice and even sinning by giving him access to your body are not the answer. Having self-respect and walking away is.
VIEW NO. 9
When a woman who knows her worth walks away, some men come to their senses quick and rush to propose. Others never do.
If they don’t, you should be celebrating because as painful as it might be now, you got out of a dysfunctional relationship that was going nowhere or at least not where you wanted it to end up, which is unmarried forever.
You should also celebrate because now you are free again, to be found by the man that God may want for you and maybe your dreams can still be realized. Yeah!
Usually when a Christian woman finds herself in a situation with a man that refuses to propose after much time has passed, it is because she did not wait on God and instead, chose the man for herself.
Make no mistake: God is not going to send a marriage-phobic dude to you. If he is marriage-phobic and he is a man of God, God will sort those issues out BEFORE he introduces you to him. God will never want a man for a woman whose plan is to string her along dishonourably for years and years and YEARS, without making her his wife. That is the devil’s agenda, not the Lord’s because the devil wants you to be anxious, insecure, to fall and to stay fallen.
It is the devil the Bible says, that comes to steal, kill and destroy and many women do not realize that some men, whether they know it or not, attach themselves to them, to do just that: Kill their dreams, steal their youth, destroy their hopes of having a family of their own and then when it is too late and too much time has passed, discard them with a broken heart and move on to the next one.
I personally do not believe in a man proposing to me AFTER I have decided to part ways with him. If it gets to that point where I leave the relationship, I see it as the point of no return.
If while in the relationship, I find that he is taking too long to propose, I do not intend to have any marriage conversation with him because I EXPECT him to know my worth if he is God- sent. If he doesn’t know it and delays, I may wait a little and pray a lot but inevitably and shortly thereafter, I WILL walk.
I will walk because if I didn’t realize sooner (due to me shutting my ears to what God was trying to tell me), his inaction, without justifiable excuse, would be confirmation that he is not God’s perfect will for my life. I will walk because I know my worth and my staying in something without a future, would deprive my God-sent spouse who may be somewhere out there, of the privilege of being with me.
As women, we only have one life to live, so we cannot afford to waste it, especially when within that life, nature has given us a biological clock.
For me, if I feel the need to end things with a guy because he has not popped the question by a reasonable time I have set for myself, then when I leave, I leave. I think it is shameful for a man to run after me proposing, AFTER I leave him.
I don’t know about other women but I have a vision for the kind of proposal I want and what it is supposed to mean. I want it to be sincere, heartfelt and VOLUNTARY. I know that I deserve such a proposal and nowhere in my vision, does it include a man proposing to me because I left him or because I begged him. I want and need and expect a man to propose without exertion and honourably, without me ever broaching the topic to him.
I expect a God sent man (under the directorship of almighty God) to see in me what he wants and desires (despite my imperfections) and to propose to me when God tells him to and I know that God will never tell a man to wait and wait and WAIT for so long a time, that a woman is left feeling insecure, sad and disheartened.
VIEW NO. 10
Many Christian women who find themselves in relationships with men who say they are Christians but hold on to them for years and years and YEARS without proposing, need to realize that most times, such men were not sent by God.
In most cases, they were sent by the devil to steal your time and your best years and then to discard you. A God-sent man, like Boaz, will see your worth from early on (of that I am convinced) because every woman of God has worth and if God sent him, he will make sure he sees it in you.
Once he sees it, there being no justifiable reason to delay, he will have no problem proposing to you within a reasonable time period and with excitement at the prospect as well.
If you are in a relationship with a guy that says he is a Christian and a number of years have passed and he has not yet proposed and there is no justifiable excuse, you need to go back to your heavenly Father and find out if that man is a God-sent or not. If you know how God operates and because he is kind, merciful and faithful, if he did not send him, then you know in your heart that he has been telling you this all along but you REFUSE to listen.
Love can truly be blind and as the saying goes, “Those who don’t hear will feel.”
There are many stories of women who made the difficult and painful decision to leave their less than honourable counterparts and now they are REJOICING because an honourable man found them, saw their worth, scooped them up, placed a ring on their finger and took them down the aisle in a beautiful Wedding Ceremony. Now, they are enjoying the benefits of being a successful wife and even mother and the only regret they have is that they had not left the procrastinator sooner.
VIEW NO. 11
It hurts me to see women, especially Christian women, giving their best years to men that do not deserve them. He may not be a bad person but if he does not see your worth, then he does not deserve you.
Men are not fools. If they see your worth and know that you are valuable, they will not take the chance of you getting away from them, to shower all those beautiful benefits on another man. If they are convinced that you are worthy (and there is nothing that you can do to get them to become convinced other than being yourself), they WILL propose and voluntarily.
VIEW NO. 12
It is my wish that women everywhere would understand that they have been beautifully and wonderfully made and to be convinced of their worth, so much so, that if a boyfriend does not see it and fails to treat them right, they would sum up the courage, despite how much they love him and walk away.
I am not advocating break-ups. I am advocating that a woman deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and her vision for her life is important.
An honourable man knows this. A dishonourable, self-centred man does not and quite frankly, does not care.
Of course, women need to take responsibility for whatever situation they find themselves in because it is a reflection of how they truly think about themselves. A woman that stays with a man that is marriage-phobic and who delays or refuses after several years to marry her is basically stating that she has no confidence in her own worth and that if she leaves him, she fears she may never find happiness with someone else. She therefore allows him to play her like a fiddle because her self-esteem is low.
This leads me to another issue. There is truth in the statement that goes, “Why buy a cow when you can get the milk for free?”
Most times (although not always), when a woman has sex with a man before he marries her, he loses interest and never proposes. A woman’s body is valuable and a woman should never offer herself completely or to any extent, to any man that has not first taken her down the aisle.
Sex is a marriage benefit. God never intended for it be otherwise. A man that is attracted to you and loves you, will waste no time in proposing to you, when he has not yet experienced becoming one with you. While wanting to make love to you should not be the reason he marries you, it will certainly be a very relevant consideration in his mind, along with many others because he will long for the opportunity to demonstrate his love for you in the ultimate love act.
A woman that withholds sex from a man during courtship/dating therefore (which is what God expects), will usually (although not always) find a ring on her finger much sooner, than a woman that has given a man her all.
VIEW NO. 13
Finally, a Christian woman needs to know who she is in Christ Jesus.
In the Bible, when Esther the Queen was preparing to go to king Ahasuerus on her mission to save her people, the Bible says, she put on her ROYAL apparel. Similarly, Christian women should clothe themselves in their Christ-given, royal identity. Jesus died for you, redeemed you to himself with his blood and you are PRECIOUS in his sight.
When you became a child of God through Jesus Christ his Son, you became a daughter of THE KING. While the knowledge of your royal status should not make you walk around puffed up and haughty therefore, you are certainly to walk around with the knowledge that you are valuable.
If women, especially Christian women, would embrace their Christ-given worth, NO MAN that is not God-sent, would be able to treat them dishonourably. A woman who knows her God-given worth would simply not tolerate it.
If he is a man of God, he too knows that he is a son of THE KING and he will make decisions based on the cues given to him by his heavenly Father. He will NOT for example and without a justifiable excuse, keep a woman waiting on him for too long before he proposes or confused and insecure as to whether he ever will or in time for her to hold her own baby.
He would understand the significance of marriage and family in God’s eyes and embrace his role as husband and head of a household. He would not run away from marriage but run to it. He would not be irresponsible with the heart of a daughter of THE KING but guard it carefully because he knows her worth and as a virtuous woman, her price is far above rubies.
(Written on 7th August, 2016)