I have been dating my boyfriend for eleven years and we have plans to get married next year. But in the last few months since we took our relationship to the next level we have had a problem, which is that my boyfriend is very dedicated to his work and doesn’t spend enough time with me even though we have a day set aside to be together. It bothers me a lot because what I am realizing is that if he doesn’t honor our time together while we are still dating, what will it be like when we are married? … I don’t want to get married while having this problem.

Dear Friend,

You are wise to resolve this issue now rather than wait until it is too late. Many women foolishly accept conditions that they do not like, telling themselves their situation will improve once they get married, but you correctly reason that it will probably be worse after the wedding. Many women would ask how to make their man change, but you realize that you cannot change a man who does not want to be changed.

The fact that you have been dating this guy for eleven years and still haven’t married is a very big warning sign that something is wrong. However, the only conflict you mention is his work schedule, so we will limit our advice to that issue.

We don’t know if your boyfriend works so much because he needs the money, or if he is trying to move up the ladder in a profession, or if he is committed to some type of social work that won’t get done unless he does it. But no matter what his reasons, you obviously don’t believe that the reasons are adequate to justify the amount of time that he spends working. This is a disagreement that goes deeper than just the amount of time you spend together. Do you have the same priorities? Do you have the same values? Do you have goals that you are working toward together? These are questions that need to be answered sooner rather than later.

Your dilemma is not a matter of right or wrong. Only you can decide whether you are willing to accept this man as he is, which involves changing your expectations for your future.

The Bible is our standard for what is right and what is wrong, but when a situation doesn’t have right or wrong options, we need the guidance that we receive when we have a personal relationship with God. Asking His Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior is the first step to having that relationship, but it is only the beginning. To know God well enough to receive His guidance in difficult situations and choices, we must pray and read the Bible on a regular basis. Praying is when we talk to God, and reading the Bible is when God talks to us. We suggest that you do both every day and ask God to direct you in the difficult decision that you must make.

We wish you well,