Hi, I was just wondering if you all had like an advice thing where people asked questions and you advised them. Im not sure if this is how you do it, but I was really needing some advice. Ive been reading your blogs for a long time and I’ve fallen in love with them and I’m so grateful for you all. My problem is, is that my boyfriend and I of 3 years are having problems. When we first started dating we would go to church every week together, but for the last few months things have changed. All of a sudden he has stopped believing in God. Im not sure what to do. I want to be with a Godly man, but I’ve fallen in love with this man and love everything about him except this. Idk if God has done this so I can help him find god again or what. He grew up in a christian family and his parents still goes every sunday.I don’t want to give up on 3 years of are relationship, but also I want are relationship to be focused on christ. We both love each other so much and I really don’t want to lose him , but I just don’t know what to do. I’m just confused and could really use someones opinion that doesn’t know us I guess. Sorry for asking a question if you all don’t do this sort of thing. Once again I really appreciate your blog. Keep up the great work!
RESPONSE FROM GRAMMY
I am so glad you’re looking for advice instead of going it alone! Dating someone who doesn’t share your faith can be painful, and also lonely too. Three years is a long time to invest in a relationship, so I can surely understand how you would like to save it; but please know, honey, that though you may love this man, you’re still not his Savior. When it comes to a decision of faith, it’s something we all stand alone on.
Considering the fact that your boyfriend was raised in a Christian family, and shared the same faith as yours until three months ago, you must feel a little betrayed – like the relationship started out as one thing, and morphed into something else. But I’m sure he’s feeling pretty lost too, like the way he felt as a little boy when he found out there was no Santa Claus, except in this case, he hasn’t lost a fable but a faith, not a Santa but a Savior. So, be patient with him, like you would a lost child, and lead him by the hand.
Like I said earlier, you cannot be his Savior, but I do believe that when a friend falls down, we all want to be there to help him back up, now don’t we? At my ripe old age, I can really relate to that commercial, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” And I’d like to think some sweet soul like yourself would be there to help me get back up on my feet, but we both know, you couldn’t be there every time – that would be more like babysitting. That’s what you could end up doing for your boyfriend, if you aren’t careful. It sounds like he has fallen from the faith, and the good Word says, “For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion, but woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” So let’s talk about how you can help him, without becoming a permanent prop.
Your letter did not mention how and why he left the faith, but often it is has something to do with education gone a-muck. So that’s where I will start. Diamond did some research for me on schools and student religion, and did you know that statistics show that 80% of all Christian youth abandon their faith between high-school and college graduation! It use to be for many generations, that schools and universities were meant for career preparation, but it seems that went out of fashioned with common sense. Now it looks like schools have become one big center for social programming with 70% of the staff being atheists, or agnostics. In plain speech, Christian ideas and Christian professors in modern universities are about as hard to find as a hen’s teeth. Now what those teachers believe is certainly their own business, but it seems to me, that if they don’t want prayer, Christian symbols, or Christian teachings in schools, I think it’s only fair that they keep their own ideas on religion out of the classroom! Sorry for that little tangent, but I can’t help speaking my mind. Anyways, if this is the case, your boyfriend could sure use some further education from the other side of the isle – after all, even in a court of law, the judge and jury hears not only the prosecution, but the defense side too!
There are brilliant men out there, with PhD’s in the sciences, who are devoted to the defense side for the existence of God. Some Good resources on Christian apologetics are, Ravi Zachareaus, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, and J.P. Moreland. These men, and a lot of other folks, may be able to help your boyfriend in his journey for truth. Regretfully, popular thought teaches that truth is relative, different for different people, and a simple choice of preference – try telling that to a copper when he pulls you over for speeding and reads you the numbers from his radar hookey-do. I guess I’m just an old fashioned Grandma, but in my day, truth was based on facts. At any rate, you can hook your young man up with some books, and links that defend the Bible based on historical facts, archaeology, science, and logic, but at the end of the day, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink!
Also, you may want to consider searching out a new church if the one you both have been attending is not grabbing his interest. A church should never be boring; it should make music that reaches your soul, with a pastor who speaks to your heart. Churches are a lot like ice cream, there are many different flavors, and while your church style may have a vanilla flavor, what your boyfriend may really like is chocolate mint. Just make sure it’s the true flavor, not a synthetic substitute.
Having said all of that, darling, you might want to consider that he may never return to the faith. I feel that relationships are difficult enough without having the same tools or consulting the same manual on how to live a successful life. With no exceptions, couples will eventually have disagreements and hurdles, so it’s smart to have every tool available to resolve them; the Word of God is a wonderful instructional book for fixing and assembling relationships. We all use instruction manuals for different things, especially for building something like appliances, bicycles, motor cars, and etc. For instance, let’s suppose, that you bought your dream ride – a red bicycle, shipped in all the way from Idaho, and the day it arrives you excitedly ask your boyfriend to assemble it. As you enthusiastically read aloud the directions from the manual that comes with it, he stubbornly refuses to listen. Now, you may be angry that he insists on doing it his own way, but the truth of the matter is, he’s the one doing the fixing, and he can do it anyway he wants to – but it sure won’t make you feel any better when it breaks down, and you’re sprawled out on the sidewalk. That’s the same with building relationships, and building families on down the road. It requires a manual, and it sure would be nice to be on the same page.
Now, you didn’t mention your age, but you did say you’d been dating for three years. It seems to me, a pretty big slice of your life, if you’re not planning on something that will last. If this is something you’re hoping will lead to marriage, then you have some serious things to consider. Firstly, your faith guides your family values, priorities, and decisions. Secondly, please imagine how difficult it will be if you have children, and one of them comes to you with those big, round, innocent eyes, and asks, Mommy and Daddy, who is God? And what happens if Grandma ups and dies, and that child asks each of you, Where did Grammy go when she died? I can see that poor child now, shaking his head, wondering if Grammy is in Heaven, or still in the ground. Now I had a similar situation in my family. One of my little grandsons came to me and said, Grammy, who made us? Naturally, I told him God did, and we were made in His image. Then he went to his father and asked the same question. He ran back to me and said Grammy, why did you tell me God made us? Daddy said we came from monkeys! I quickly responded, All I can say, honey, is that I told you about my side of the family, and he told you about his! And thirdly, and most importantly, did you know that statistics show that 85% of all children grow up to embrace their father’s faith, not their mothers? Children cling to a father’s strength, so it surely helps if both parents are clinging to the same Heavenly Father.
Right now, I’m going to guess, that you’re living on the memories of what was. One day it will dawn on you that you are lonely, when you find yourself going to church alone, praying alone, and facing a cold back when you try to share all your exciting thoughts about what you believe. As the years pass, and romance turns from a blazing fire to the contentment of slow burning embers, what will remain are the things you have in common. At that point, will you both be walking hand in hand, down life’s winding roads, sharing your dreams and goals, or will you still be at odds – still fencing about the existence of God, and what to teach your children. I feel the best recipe for happiness, is hitching up with a like minded man, one who agrees with you on the things that really matter.
When all is said and done, this may be a short-lived phase your young man is going through, but then again, it may be a long string of empty, soul searching years. In fact, he may make a life decision to not believe. That is his choice to make. At some point you will have your own choice to make – To stay in a relationship that could lead to emotional emptiness, or to wait for some wonderful young man who is out there peering over the horizon, looking for his one true love – someone who he yearns to stand with before a sunset, and then turn to her and say, “Isn’t God an awesome artist, to have created something as beautiful as you.”
Most importantly, Megan, pray for him, and as you walk hand in hand, with your first love, the good Lord, be certain that you are consulting Him about how long you should wait for your boyfriend. And as time passes and your young man looks on and watches your own life, one that is hopefully full of joy, truth, love, peace and contentment – chances are, he will want what you have. Example, not words, is the best teacher.
Well, you asked for advice, and there it is, but sweetie, it’s your decision in the end. I will be praying for you and your boyfriend.