You will probably laugh hysterically when I tell you what I am about to tell you. That’s ok. I totally deserve it.
My husband and I started dating exclusively when I was 15 and he was 16. By the time I was 19, I was constantly on my boyfriend’s back about wanting to be engaged. I mean, we HAD been dating for over 4 years, after all! Of course, we were both still in college and had no way to support ourselves. One time, he hinted strongly in a way that could have been joking or serious (it was hard to tell!) that he had gotten me an engagement ring as a present. Once there was a possibility of engagement actually being real – I actually panicked! I started getting nervous about what other people would think and how young we were and I tried to talk him out of proposing yet! That definitely bought him some time! He was very wise in so many ways!
Then, 2 months before I turned 20, my boyfriend (now husband) started a big discussion about what advantages there would be if we were engaged, why we’d want to be engaged and all kinds of delicious topics. We talked for over an hour about it on the phone one night. It was WONDERFUL! I remember back then that I would look at pictures of engagement rings and my stomach would be a MESS I’d be so excited. I wanted an engagement ring SOOOOO MUCH. Probably TOO much. A few weeks later, he asked me to tell him the reasons that I wanted to be engaged again. I got SO angry. I thought he had forgotten all the many reasons I had just told him recently or that he was doubting if he wanted to be with me and I berated him for bringing up the topic and not remembering what I had said before. It turns out, he had bought my engagement ring that day and he was bursting with excitement and wanted to hear all the lovely things I had said all over again.
MAN! How AWFUL I felt when I found out later what his real reasons were for asking me those questions again. I ruined what could have been a very romantic conversation and experience with my misunderstanding and disrespectful, ungrateful attitude.
Waiting for a boyfriend to propose is a very painful, seemingly impossible situation for many girls. We are not in control. We don’t like that. We don’t want to wait. We want to be engaged NOW!!! It’s extremely difficult to find peace when all you can think about is “If he REALLY loved me, WHY HASN’T HE PROPOSED TO ME YET?????”
Honestly, it’s easy to make getting engaged, or having a ring, or being married an idol that means more to me than my love for Jesus. I am SURE I did this! Please tread carefully here, girls! If you are really getting worked up about this issue, ask God to show you if you are sinning against Him with your desires. When God is the center of your life and your first priority, you will have peace with whatever answer He gives you: yes, no, or wait. You’ll be more attached to Jesus than to the outcome of your current situation or dilemma.
SO MANY SWIRLING QUESTIONS
The internal torment and incessant questions begin to take over like a flood:
- Maybe he doesn’t really love me?
- Maybe he’ll NEVER ask me to marry him!
- Maybe he doesn’t think I’m worth proposing to.
- Maybe he doesn’t care if he ever gets married.
- Maybe he is just wasting my time and keeping me from finding “the ONE.”
- Maybe I need to dump him and look for someone else who actually wants me.
- Maybe I need to have “a talk” with him and tell him what’s what so that he will understand that I expect a ring by a certain date OR ELSE. Yes! I will give him an ultimatum!
- Maybe he likes someone else?
- Maybe he’s not marriage material?
It is SOOOOOO hard to wait for a guy to propose when you think it’s already past time. And it definitely doesn’t help when it seems like “all” of your friends are getting diamond rings from their boyfriends. Going to weddings of friends can feel VERY depressing when you still have no ring on your finger. You can feel downright unloved and unwanted – but your feelings may not be telling you the truth – so be careful here or you could throw away a really great thing!
WAITING IS A CRUCIAL LIFE SKILL
Men have a different timetable than we do, ladies. And it is SLOWER. It kind of reminds me how God’s timetable is often much slower than mine, too! Waiting is a very important skill with romance and with God. You’re going to need this ability even more after you are married. So soak up all the lessons you can now! This is excellent preparation for submitting to your future husband and it is submittting to God right now to wait on Him and not rush and push things along.
A RESPONSIBLE, GODLY MAN WILL PROPOSE WHEN:
- He is ready.
- He is excited about his girl and their future together.
- He feels there are no major red flags in the relationship or her character.
- He feels respected and admired by his girlfriend.
- He feels financially secure enough to buy a ring and afford housing and be able to provide well for his bride (Providing financially is one of the biggest concerns on a man’s mind when he takes on a wife.)
- He is not overloaded with school or other obligations.
- He has a good, stable, decent paying job.
- He believes this girl is God’s gift to him.
- He feels confident that she’ll say “yes” and he won’t be humiliated.
- He believes his girlfriend is an extremely valuable and precious woman and he’d do almost anything to win her.
So, if he hasn’t proposed yet – one or more of these things hasn’t lined up properly. It may have nothing to do with his love for you or his desire to be married to you. He may be trying to be a financially responsible man who has his affairs in order before he dazzles you with his incredibly creative, romantic proposal! Be sure you don’t ruin that awesome surprise!
WHAT NOT TO DO (IN MY OPINION)
- Do NOT push him or try to MAKE him propose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He will do it when HE is ready. You can’t force him. This has to be a freely given gift he gives you out of the love and desire of his heart. A man will RESENT a woman who tries to force him to go to the next level of committment when he is not ready. A demanding, forceful, controlling girlfriend is a HUGE red flag to many guys and will likely repel him away from you.
- Do NOT take over and propose to him yourself. Like Laura Doyle describes (in “The Surrendered Wife” and “The Surrendered Single” – this author claims to be ”religion neutral” but she does understand respect and yielding control VERY well. Any time you read any book other than the Bible, PRAY and seek God’s wisdom and match every statement up to scripture to be sure you are not swallowing unbiblical advice!) – she did this and ended up losing out on a chance for her man to surprise her, romance her and delight her. So they lived together and then got married – but it was more like a business transaction and there was NO romance involved. She regrets her behavior now! Plus, most guys prefer to be the one offering marriage as a gift, it is NOT the same when the girl proposes. There are a few situations where it works out, but usually things are only romantic, delightful, surprising and the stuff of magical memories when HE does the planning, the surprising, the asking and the ring offering. When the girl takes over control of the relationship, intimacy and romance vanish. HE has to be the one calling the shots to surprise you with romance. When you are in control, you don’t get to be surprised and delighted. I love what Bob Grant (a marriage counselor – not sure if he is a Christian, but he teaches respect and submission in marriage in a way that very much lines up with God’s commands for marriage) says, “Giving is masculine. Receiving is feminine.” Men shine when they are giving generously of themselves and women are at their best when they are receiving (This is true in the sexual relationship in marriage, but it is also true many times in other romantic situations, too!). When a woman gives too much, she often ends up being resentful and he often ends up being turned off by the smothering and mothering.
- Do NOT be disrespectful, critical and negative about him, complaining about how he hasn’t proposed yet. Like me, you don’t know, precious girl, if your guy has already bought your ring and you might be really putting a downer on some amazing surprises he wants to plan for you to sweep you off your feet. Plus, disrespect is a HUGE red flag that makes a guy really have to take a step back and evaluate if YOU are marriage material for him. Plus, he needs your respect, praise and encouragement to be attracted to you!
- Do NOT give yourself sexually to him. Not only is sex before marriage a sin – it can actually cause a guy to be less likely to propose to you since he already has what he wants most from you. Sex bonds a couple after marriage, but a guy is not going to bond to you before marriage by having you sexually the way he will after marriage. Better to save yourself for marriage – this makes you seem a lot more valuable in his eyes! And preserving your virginity allows you to give him the best possible wedding gift on your wedding night. Don’t worry about compatibility – obey God and seek to honor Him and I believe you will find the most fulfilling sex life possible in the marriage God gives you!
- Do NOT have “the talk.” If he hasn’t gotten to the place emotionally yet to be ready to propose, a very serious talk like this can smother him, overwhelm him with your neediness and negative emotions and make him feel like he’s drowning and MUST ESCAPE. Be very prayerful about if it would be wise to say anything. I’m sure there could be times that a woman may need to say something eventually, but there are also many times when words or verbal pressure would make a guy back up instead of wanting to go forward.
- Be CAREFUL how you give an ultimatum. It’s extremely unattractive and a very unromantic way to start out a committed lifetime relationship. You don’t want a guy to propose to you because you forced him into it or he felt pressured. He needs to WANT to propose and it needs to be his idea. If you do give an ultimatum – please be sure that you are humble, respectful, polite and leave the door open for him to pursue you.
- Do NOT pout or have a tantrum about it – especially in front of him! Those are BIG red flags that will send a decent guy running for the hills!
Coming tomorrow – some things you CAN do that may help.