I am twenty-five years old and have a relationship with a girl who is twenty-one. She loves me and I know it, but she’s not good at showing it. She does things that make me very uncomfortable and, when I mention it, I’m always the bad guy. She’s too proud to admit it and expects me to be the one to give in to her. She complains because I’m not as thoughtful with her as I used to be, and I have told her that her attitude has made my feelings cool a bit…. She could change with marriage, but what if she doesn’t?
This has affected every area of my life…. I’m an extremely romantic guy, and I’ve always demonstrated that to her; but it is almost impossible for her to do anything thoughtful for me. I love her, but I’m overwhelmed and disillusioned…
You ask a significant question: “What if she doesn’t change after marriage?”
The answer is that she will definitely change. While dating you, she has been on her best behavior. After marriage, she will no longer have to impress you.
It is the same with men. Many men are thoughtful and considerate during their courtship, but after marriage, they tend to let down their guard. Unpleasant faults and annoying habits may not be hidden any longer.
For this reason, we recommend that couples get to know each other for a long time before considering marriage. When the habits or personality traits of one leave the other overwhelmed and disillusioned (as you have described), it is time to end the relationship. It is certainly not time to consider marriage.
All couples will have disagreements, and almost all people have annoying traits or habits. But when those tendencies negatively affect every area of the partner’s life (as you have described), then it is definitely a danger signal of trouble ahead. If you proceed, it will only get worse.
We recommend that you invite Christ to come into your life and help you face whatever is ahead. He can give you the wisdom to end this relationship in a kind and gentle way. He can give you the strength you need to face the possible loneliness ahead. And He can direct your life so that you can find a girlfriend who will make you feel positive about the future.
The Apostle Paul wrote that love “is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”1 As you seek a new relationship, we recommend that you use this description to measure whether what you feel is love that will endure for a lifetime, and whether your future girlfriend’s love measures up to this same standard.
We wish you well,
1 1Co 13:4-5