Ok, I apologize for getting these last two questions out a little late this week. It has been a crazy week. But, without any more excuses, here are they are!
Why does it seem that just when you get a boyfriend, you immediately start liking someone else?
Well, I have to say that this question made me chuckle a little bit as I read it the first few times. Not that it is a bad question; it’s just that I think I’ve experienced the feeling you are describing. Ahhh, love can be maddening, right? You get involved with someone on an exclusive level, and then almost immediately you begin to notice someone else that interests you.
Ok. Let’s see what we can make of this. It is a legitimate question; especially for someone at your phase of life. So, let me just say a few things.
Part of the reason this happens is because you are at a place in your life where you are starting to explore potential mates. Which is a fun place to be!
Because of all of the options available to you, there will be curiosity and interest in a lot of different directions. And in that way, the feeling may not be so bad. You do want to learn about people and personalities and which of those you like being around and could live with for the long-haul. Meeting and exploring interest in more than one person is probably healthy.
Now, I’m not one that thinks “exclusive dating” at your age is totally wrong. I know some people think that young people should never date exclusively. Personally, I’m not sure saying that is necessary. However, I think these people do have a strong point in at least this area: You should be very careful about exclusively dating one person while young. And the reason is because of the feeling you are expressing in your question.
You aren’t ready to get married and be committed to one person, most likely. You are just looking at options. Choosing then to commit yourself to one person could be potentially harmful to them and you. You aren’t promising to be with this person forever. And they aren’t promising that to you. Even if you say those very words, there isn’t really anything like a marriage certificate to back it up.
Young people tend to get hurt in relationships because they treat them like they are going to last forever, when in fact, both parties are still looking at all the options.
Maybe a good idea is to avoid the kind of difficulty that is suggested in your question and choose not to “exclusively date” every guy that you develop feelings for and interest in. I know the normal pattern is: “See guy. Fall for guy. Guy and girl start dating. Guy and girl break-up. Look for new guy. See guy. Fall for guy, etc. The cycle continues until it finally sticks.
But, a lot of young people get hurt unnecessarily in the process—like for instance, the young man that you may be dating now that I know you have no desire to hurt. You don’t want to hurt him. But, you are still young and exploring options.
So, maybe you could find other ways to get to know guys better (through group events, deeper friendships, etc.) without creating that type of one-on-one exclusive relationship.
As an example: when I go to buy a new vehicle, I like to drive around to many different dealership lots and see what is out there. And before I get too serious about any of them specifically I want to go on a “test-drive”. Now, when I tell the salesman that I’d like to drive it and see how it handles, I don’t also promise to be faithful to that car and only that car. I don’t promise to love it and care only for it. I just tell him I wanna try it out. If it drives well, than maybe we can pursue it further.
Now, I know people aren’t like cars. But, that actually strengthens my point. The boring biege Chevy Astro van isn’t going to be disappointed that in the end I choose the bright blue Toyota over it. (Btw, I would never drive an astro-van). But, people do get hurt. And we need to be careful about the commitments we make to people, especially at a young age when we aren’t ready to deliver on those large commitments anyway.
Does this mean that you can’t ever “date” one guy? No, of course not. But, I would encourage you to be careful in making that your standard pattern at this age. There will be time for commitment. A huge, life-long, for better or for worse commitment.
But for now, maybe just admit that you aren’t quite ready for that and choose to have different kinds of relationships with guys. Pursue friendships and explore romance in a group-date format and make dating “exclusively” an exception rather than the standard pattern.
Is it possible for someone to grow-up with a brother/sister, but not really love them?
This question, like one we had a few weeks ago, isn’t about romantic love (well, at least I hope it isn’t! Maybe in Arkansas it is! ☺ But, as Austin said on Sunday night, one type of love found in the Bible is between family members. So, I would like to respond to this one anyway.
I think love for family shares at least one reference point with romantic love. It is still a choice. You must choose to love your family (in an agape, selfless understanding of love) as much as you must choose to love your future spouse. The nature of love is that it is always based on choice. If there is no choice, than it isn’t love; it is only a reflex.
Are there moments when you “feel” loving towards family? Sure. Are there times when your “feelings” towards your family are anything but loving? Yep. But, true love as defined by the Bible isn’t about “feelings” but about actions rooted in choice. You can choose to put your brother/sister above yourself (LOVE) whether or not you currently even like them.
I don’t know who sent this question and so I don’t know what the exact problem is that your question is addressing. But, if you are struggling with “loving” a sibling, maybe one that has not been kind to you or loving to you, please remember this: Love is not based on another person’s performance or behavior. Love is YOUR CHOICE.
John put it this way: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10 (TNIV)
Love was GOD’S CHOICE. Before we chose to love God; maybe even when we had chosen not to; God CHOSE to love us. It wasn’t based on whether we showed love back. It was based on God’s choice to ACT with love.
Love is sacrificial. Love isn’t always returned. But, those of us who follow Jesus have decided that love is the only option to bring healing to our world. We believe that the love of Jesus is the only hope for humanity. And we choose to live our lives in the pattern of God and bring love to every person on the planet; even family members who don’t at times deserve it.
So, may your life be marked with LOVE. And may your family experience greater love because of your decision to love them before they love you. And may you in this greatest of ways show yourself to be a true child of your Father, God.