Courtship: Help!

I am a 23-year-old college student.

Growing up as a Christian, a choice I made without the support of my parents, I always prayed for a future of happiness and abundance for myself. Also, (of course!) I prayed for a Christian husband that wanted the best for our future children and us. (Always speak into existence.)

The man I was blessed to meet is an established working man. We both have never been married and have no kids. We are of different backgrounds and races.

We met when I was 18, and he was 26, while I was working as a receptionist. He worked in a different unit, but always made sure to stop by, talk to me, ask how my crazy day was going, start conversations, and ask if I ever needed help. We grew a friendship, then he asked me on our first date when I was 20, he was 28, and we have been steadily in contact since then. I did go on the date, we went to Chick-Fil-A for milkshakes, then saw a play in the city. It was great; he was polite, funny, and dressed up nicely.

During the first year of our friendship, my family and friends have been open to him. My siblings love him and ask me where I found him hiding in today’s world. His family and friends, on the other hand, were not so open to me; they treated me horribly and made mean remarks about me. It was a tough time for me. He grew up—and all of his family are—Catholic. He tells me stories of how he wished he was able to enjoy his teachings and build relationships from his many years in Catholic school but never was able to find himself there.

I’ve been taking classes full-time to earn my Ph.D. (hopefully as soon as possible!!!!!) I am an Honor student, and he has made sure to show up to all of my ceremonies. Sadly, my computer crashed while I was away at school. I cried and said nothing to anyone about it. I practically lived in the library from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm daily with only bathroom breaks. (At my library, there is a limited amount of computers. So basically, if you leave, you may not get another one that day.)

Before, I would always check in with all my friends during my only free time at lunch. Now I kept my phone on silent to limit distractions and never even remembered to check it until I was walking back to my dorm room. He wondered why I began to slack and stopped checking in around my usual lunchtime, 2:00 pm. I was extremely embarrassed to tell him what happened. I was working so hard and couldn’t afford a computer because I had to pay for books. I did not want to feel less by accepting a gift from him even though we were friends.

I had a new laptop by the next week. This man has supported me every step of the way to make sure I had everything I needed for school. He liked talking to me, asking me how I found God, how I grew up to believe, and follow my faith. He had a genuine interest, and we would go to church when I would stop by in his town. Also, when we met, I did not belong to a church as I was going back and forth from school.

Recently, I am now home full time since school is closed. I slipped up and told him I am in love with him. (I say it that way because, in my mind, I wish I didn’t say it. But I prayed about it, and I’m now glad I did.)

One week later, he asked me if I was interested in counseling and formal courtship. I FROZE and was super surprised. I asked if I could give him an answer next time we spoke. That was two days ago, and I have not said anything about it.

We have healthy communication; he listens to me and takes what I say seriously.

I need advice on not only what I should do, but how I should do it?!?
I was starting to visit different churches in my area (but had to pause because of quarantine), and I do not know who I can talk to about everything I’m going through.
How would I find the right counselor?

I trust this site. I am encouraged by all of the love that is spread on MH to continue to lift myself up, have faith, love our God, and the standards we live by.

Thank you to anyone who can help me. Also, I’d love to read your courtship/how you found the one stories.

4.00 avg. rating (80% score) - 12 votes
17 replies
  1. ILoveMarriage says:

    HI Pink:

    Welcome to MarriageHeat! Congratulations on your romance.

    I met my wife at college. We are different races and of different national origins. She is from a predominantly Catholic country, but fortunately we are of the same protestant faith. The racial and cultural differences have not been a problem. To the contrary, it has afforded great travel opportunities. Making love with someone of a different race is awesome. I thank God every day that he brought us together.

    You are wise to seek counseling. Not only to help you make a good decision as to whether to marry him or not, but to establish that when you are married (to him or anyone else), you set the precedent that you will agree to see a counselor when problems arise, as they inevitably will. No need to face problems alone.

    Finding a Christian counselor or marriage coach is no problem. MarriageToday, MarriageHelper, and FocusOnTheFamily all offer Christian counseling or coaching over the telephone or video chat. We have used MarriageToday, and I highly recommend them. Also, search the web for a local Christian counseling service. However, local services are working by phone because of COVID-19, and a lot of them do predominantly phone counseling anyway. So unfortunately, the advantage of meeting with someone in person is not a given. Prices vary quite a bit, so if cost is a factor, shop around.

    If you want my advice 🙂 :

    Reading between the lines, it sounds like you are further along in your Christian walk than he is. He is still searching. That isn't a deal-breaker in itself. But unless he embraces the same general faith that you do, and agrees to put the Bible over culture in making decisions in your life, that should be a deal-breaker. If he wants to stay with Catholicism, that should be a deal-breaker. No disrespect to our Catholic friends, but our understandings of the role of the Church and the Bible in the life of a Christian are not compatible. On a more practical level, there is the birth control issue.

    Finally, I think that you need to be more open with him and establish a more solid friendship. Friendship before marriage! Your friends need to know about your struggles in life.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Praying for you!

  2. Waiting Hardly says:

    Make sure your premarital counseling includes having your faith in common. Also be clear on what courtship entails and agree on boundaries you both can live with. Finally, I would finish your Ph.D. Before the wedding. They can be huge time consumers!
    Also, if you decide to move forward, get good advice from a godly woman about ways to have a great sex live once you are married.

  3. Keystone Jack says:

    I've found that many times the difference between "races" is actually a difference between cultures. That can often be the case with religion/denominations. I say that only to encourage you to see those aspects from a different point of view. It may be helpful.
    My courtship of my wife was met with resistance by her family. They eventually got over it. His family/friends may or may not get over it, but it's something he needs to be willing to deal with. You need to have a very open conversation about that with him. Is he willing to defy his friends/family to date and eventually marry you? If he is, will he take your side against them and protect you from them if they don't get over it? If it got bad enough, would he be willing to separate himself from them (geographically) for you? It sounds harsh, but it is a reality. He needs to be willing "leave and cleave."
    If he marries you, at that point you become the most important human in his life. So much so that God describes it as "the two shall become one." Think of it this way. If his family/friends hated his left arm, would he cut it off? No. He would care for and nurture it just like his right arm. It would be their responsibility to get over it.
    If he is unwilling to put you above them, don't date him. Friendship is one thing, but dating can lead to marriage.

  4. 1blessedman says:

    Hello PinkScorpio, I am a 50 something father with 2 early 30's male children. It sounds to me that you are on a proper courtship course. From your testimony, it seems that you and your boyfriend have chosen a path of honest and caring friendship as you move along this life's journey. It seems that you are moving methodically and thoughtfully versus rushing to bed and to wed. It is very important for life-long relationships that you have an honest and open dialogue that is never adversarial or selfish. When each spouses' goal is to put the other person before their own interests, each spouse acts out the sacrificial love of Christ.
    As it concerns your college studies, your laborious diligence is to be commended. Sometimes in this life we must set some things aside for a season and labor for the prize ahead. Strong metal is made by extreme heat and pressure, so your experiences thus far are blessings to make you strong for a life of service–to God, to your future husband and to your community. There is nothing wasted in God's economy if we search for the blessed treasures therein.
    If I knew your location I might be able to offer a church and/or counselor. Due to the protective nature of this forum, I can only suggest some reading….as if you don't have enough as a PhD student. I suggest reading through the Bible. I like the Chronological Life Application Study Bible. It is structured for a year. It is chronologically laid out and this gives you a better mental picture of time and space. The chronology is not 100% perfect as we have to make some assumptions (best guesses) about the historical timing in some areas. However, it will give you a great mental picture of God's presence and interaction through time. I also recommend the love languages book by Gary Chapman. I have not read it, but I know others that highly recommend it. I also recommend looking over Dr. Dobson's publishings (Focus on the Family) as I have read some of his works and find them to be Biblically accurate and thoughtfully presented. I imagine that the Focus on the Family organization will have resources to assist you in finding a counselor, since that is what Dr. Dobson has spent his life doing. I also recommend financial books by Larry Burkett. I am retired and debt free due in-part to reading his works. Eliminating debt and refraining from from it as much as is fiscally possible will prevent an insidious social/relational cancer from harming your life and your relationship—possible future marriage. Sometimes we borrow money for housing needs, but I want anyone that reads this to understand that the word "mortgage" comes from two words…."mort"=death and "gage"=debt. So, a mortgage is literally defined as "death-debt". While the "death-debt" had a slightly different meaning in ancient days, the idea that I am sure you are thinking now is very valid. Debt can be crippling to a relationship, so manage it well with open eyes.
    As for my bride, we were High School sweet-hearts. Got married at age 19. Saw each other 30 days in the first year of marriage due to military deployment. Been married for 37 years. Have had our differences, but we choose to follow Jesus and obey our God. Our Biblical mandate is to love unconditionally as we esteem others as higher than ourselves. One thought about sex: For me, her joy and satisfaction are a high priority in our love-making. Giving her sexual pleasure is as satisfying as getting it. I surely know she will do her part for my orgasmic moments, but I am 100% motivated to sensually/sexually accommodate her needs and desires. Okay, sometimes I need her coaching to know how to do it best!…LOL But, what is most rewarding, the end results or the journey to that location?
    I get a sense that you are a loving, caring and passionate person. I believe you will see God's leading as you keep your eyes open. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that we choose our path, but God sets our steps. May you receive God's richest blessings in your journey…….

  5. catholicguy says:

    Hey PinkScorpio,

    I’m happy you and your boyfriend are close enough to start a courtship! Being called to marriage is a wonderful thing. My wife and I went through the same situation. Her family was super open but mine wasn’t.

    I believe a counselor could really help. Since the quarantine, is slowing you down. I would draw a mind map. List out all the issues and needs, and ways to accomplish them, and pray about it.

    I had some personal obstacles in my faith, and my relationship with my family before I was able to court my wife to marriage.

    • PinkScorpio says:

      Thank you, this was a really needed statement. I appreciate the judge free context too. Starting my mind map today.

  6. LovingMan says:

    Counseling is a good idea for anyone. So in your situation, I’d look up web sites of places that do counseling. Also, your College or University may provide free counseling… mine did. I had a series of relationships with very unstable women. Around the time I met my wife, I started counseling. My counselor or therapist was a good Christian. I think that is important. He noticed that my relationship with “Melodie” was very healthy. Melodie had gone to counseling for a couple of years and still saw her therapist once a week when we met. Our therapy really helped us. From how you describe this man and your relationship… it sounds really healthy. Keep pursuing your educational goals. It’s cool that he’s supportive, but you DO need to make your relationship with him a priority. Keep reading the scriptures daily, and keep searching for a friendly church. I know it’s hard right now, but the churches will open up soon. Finally, be honest about your situation financially. There is no sin in being a poor college student. And completing your education generally means that you WON’T be poor afterward. People understand this. It is unfortunate that his family is not welcoming to you. Sometimes people are against interracial relationships, but we are ALL God’s children. Some people fear that cultural differences could be a problem between an interracial couple, but we all come from a different FAMILY culture. In marriage, you have to compromise in things like family traditions at Christmas. And your marriage will start some of your own traditions. I hope this was helpful. We’ll pray for you too. Remember to pray about your relationship and education and pretty much everything, and the Holy Spirit will guide you.

    • PinkScorpio says:

      Thank you! I am looking into my on campus options. I understand family is very important to him and I. Having to change a bond that he thought was a positive environment and relationships. I don't want him to feel guilty for choosing me. I want him to be comfortable and trust that our connection is not a random coincidence.

  7. PacMan says:

    I don’t know if this is helpful or just gets in the way. So, maybe I’m saying this for other Christian Singles out there…. The idea of being equally yoked is NOT a check box. It’s not like “Ok good, they are a Believer. Now on to the other parts of building a relationship.” The spiritual life of the other person should be a part of the ATTRACTION you have toward them. If their spiritual life is absent…. it should be just as big of a red flag as someone who has no concern for their personal, financial, or emotional health. It’s so easy to “fall in love” with someone’s kindness, charm, looks, sense of humor… while looking at the spiritual life as “optional” or at the very least a checkbox. In reality, you will face a lot of storms in life over the next 50 years…. and a strong faith, not charm or good looks, is what will help one weather those storms.

    • A Better Pastime says:

      @PinkScorpio

      I agree with everything that PacMan has stated here; I echo his sentiments 1000%!

      My wife and I are interracial (with me being on the white side of that coin). Once I decided that I was willing to give up my life for her (that I was literally well inside my soul to die for her), I made my intentions known to her and questioned nothing thereafter.

      As a result of my decision, neither my father or my grandmother (who was in part responsible for raising me) attended our wedding. I was to have no further relationship with my grandmother; she eventually passed with only seeing my son (our 1st born), on one occasion. My father told me, at one time that he would have nothing to do with me, my wife, or any of our children. He not been part of our lives, or in my life, for over 23 years as a result.

      I cared that these were their reactions, but at the same time I didn't care. It does not hurt me deeply, and my father's behavior should never have come as a surprise to me as it was just "more of the same" in terms of his overall treatment toward me for the majority of my upbringing and into young adulthood when I met my wife.

      I declared myself to my wife, and have never looked back: and with overwhelming joy both then and up to now: it was the best decision I've ever made in my entire life. As the years have gone on, my wife has taken to calling me "Moses" on occasion because of my decision and the resulting impact all these years on.

      I feel like I am the luckiest man on earth because of how she views me; it's the greatest honor of my life…its the honor of a lifetime and in my opinion its what God made into a man.

      PacMan is right, "it should be just as big of a red flag"…it is the single piece, it matters most, and matters everything. He is right where he states, and hopefully not, that you will face a lot of storms in life over the next 50 years; a shared (deeply abiding & equally yoked) faith is the only thing that will bring you through together, and keep you together.

      My wife and I have faced the loss of those family members who chose race over their own son and the ripple fractures that were caused with other family members as result as well. We have faced having to live with the ever present threat of my MS dx, which she accepted before we were married. We have faced a diagnosis of a terminal pregnancy, which resulted in the raising of a child (they were wrong on the terminal dx) with one of the worlds rarest neurological conditions, requires 24 hour care and feeding from day one, and does not walk, for what will be 18 years this next month. We have faced my wife having breast cancer dx only 2 years following the birth of our youngest child (the disabled child). We have faced six months of unemployment when I was laid off, we had our 8 year old and our soon to be 2 year old, with my income being the only source of income. We have faced multiple, traumatic, and nearly tragic, encounters with our disabled child over the years. We have faced cancer in our oldest child (daughter) when she had just turned 21 and was only 3 months following her wedding.

      The only thing that I can credit with bringing us through was our shared faith, and being equally yoked in that faith. You will most likely not face the list of struggles that my wife and I have. Most people face one, and MAYBE two, which is why I say that will MOST likely not face these many struggles. That said, more often than not, it only takes one to break the bow in most marriages.

      The one thing that I agree the VERY most in PacMan's response, is that part of your attraction for him should be a spiritual attraction. Truly, and as PacMan states with much emphasis, this is what should attract you to him first and more than any other attribute.

      I can tell you, as I've only come to recently understand this in just the last 3-4 years, that I fell in love with my wife the first night that I met her. I fell in love with her because I heard her testimony the very same night that we met. We were not on a date, and it was purely by "circumstance", and one of incumbrance that we met as it was a disruption to both of our previously planned activities. She ended up giving her testimony to my friend and I that night. I had never heard anything like it in my life, and that was the very start of my attraction to her. I have only come to realize, all these years later, that what actually took place in my heart that night upon hearing her testimony was that I gave my heart to her, and that I'd fallen in love with her at that moment in time. As PacMan has stated, my first, and overwhelming point of attraction to her, was spiritual.

      I don't know where I would be, this day, if not for my wife's faith in Christ. It has always been something that I can look at and take strength to continue on in my own faith. My faith, from her vantage point, has been the same for her.

      Your husband, or your future husband, should be the one leading you closer to Christ. Your health (spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical), and that of your future children depend on this very one thing.

      You are a wise young woman PinkScorpio; stay to true to that part of yourself that has brought you here, has kept you all of these years, and remain steadfast in your faith. God has you, you will lose nothing, and have everything to gain.

      My wife does complain that she had to wait for 8 years, praying and asking God for "this future husband", but she reminds me consistently that she could not imagine having it any other way.

      All of the advice (ALL of it) that you have received on this entire set of comments is forged: meaning its wisdom gained from having "been there; done that" by Godly individuals who truly care.

      All the best PinkScorpio, you are truly strong and the Lord is truly with you: keep going. ;->

    • A Better Pastime says:

      @PinkScorpio

      P.S. "Stay true to yourself" has morphed into such a platitude anymore. What I meant by saying that, is that what has brought you this far, i.e. you, yourself, your uniqueness, is remarkable and should be the thing that you know, i.e. that you know what and who you are. Don't lose sight of that, double down on that. That is what I mean by "stay true to yourself". Stay with the one, and trust the one, that brought you to the dance as they say.

      One more thing, the advice of making sure to achieve your PHD first, is very wise. From my standpoint it is very wise because you are very young to be at a point where you're standing on the cusp of achieving such a feat. Given that you have accomplished so much, and yet are still so young, the fatigue factor has to be very real. You eluded to this as much when you talked about your travails of losing your PC, and having to continue with only library resources. All humans tend to give into things, or make decisions, that we might not normally due to fatigue. If you keep your energies focused toward your PHD completion first, once that is completed, all pictures in your life will become intensely clear, like the dawn of a new day. Keeping your focus on finishing strong in this area will allow you keep your current path just that much more clear and direct, i.e. you can leverage this current effort to de-clutter your heart-mind conflicts for the time being and until the PHD is completed. It will also give you time to pray and seek the guidance that you're looking for.

  8. Penny4URthoughts says:

    They say love conquers all. I wish that was true. You have large hurdles to jump. I wish you luck. Courtship? What a lovely 18th century word. I had no idea anyone considered dating a courtship in this millennium. Brings on images of granny sitting between you on the porch. Counseling sounds like a good idea. Some people are more attracted to people like themselves and some to those that are very different. I hope your in-laws accept you.

  9. 5OhsRomantic says:

    Excellent comments and suggestions…. probably overwhelming… take the time to pray and process, ask God to lead you with His peace.
    Also, have you heard or looked into the SYMBIS assessment (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) [A quick Google search will find it.] It's an excellent on-line assessment and you review it with marriage mentors (typically face-to-face).

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