dear sharideth – “engaged too soon?”

so yesterday i got a text and a phone call from two different people who were concerned something was terribly wrong in my world because i wasn’t online at all.  how’s that for funny?  i don’t post for a day and people think i got hit by bus.  awesome.

well, i didn’t get hit by a bus.  i got hit by the need to install a refrigerator, clean my house and pick my my parents up from the airport as a surprise for my kids.  by the time i remembered it was Monday and i was suppose to post a blog, it was three in the afternoon.

sorry.  sort of.  here we go.

Dear Sharideth

Hey!

So, I’ve got a question that I’m hoping you can help me with.

A guy friend of mine recently got engaged. To a girl he’s been dating for 2 months. For 2 weeks of those 2 months, he was in Africa, while she was still in the states. He only just met the girl 3 months ago. She is recently saved, he’s been saved his entire life. To top it all off, this is his first girlfriend, ever. Now, I’m not saying that they’re not compatible and that this relationship is for sure doomed to fail, but it sure seems like they’re asking for a lot of problems, starting a marriage without any foundation. Do I say anything? None of his guy friends are willing too, because they get that he’s in the puppy love stage, and don’t want to ruin that for him (Chickens). He’s not a complete idiot, so he may actually know that this is crazy, but who knows?

I’d love your thoughts on this!

Thank you,

Worried for my friend in puppy love

P.S. I’m not at all asking this because I’m interested in the guy. Glad we cleared that up.

dear WFMFIPL,

holy rush to the alter, Batman!  does this all seem like a recipe for disaster and completely puh-sycho?  yes.  yes, it does.

and thanks for clarifying that you’re totally not into him and have no ulterior motives what-so-ever.

should you say something?  i certainly would.  however, what you say is the key…and how you say it is even more importanter.

you have to make sure when you approach him, that your motives are pure.  if they aren’t, you will do more harm than good.  people may not consciously know what you’re trying not to convey, but it’s there none-the-less.  he will pick up on it and it will strengthen his resolve to be insane.

here’s some dos and don’ts:

1.  do tell him you’re his friend.  and as such, you don’t feel like you’d be a very good friend if you didn’t voice your concerns.

2.  do not tell him to not go through with it.  pride is very strange thing.  people will knowingly throw themselves off a cliff if they think it’s a matter of pride.

3.  do tell him to seek wise counsel.  encourage him to speak to someone he respects.  maybe even just ask him if he’s in premarital counseling.  if he’s not, he needs to be.

4.  do not judge him.  again, people can become more resolved to do the wrong thing if they think they are under the microscope.  don’t give him any reason to think he has something to prove.  danger, Will Robinson!

5.  do back off.  say what needs to be said, then let it go.  assure him again that you are his friend and available if he needs to bounce anything off you, then step back.

there’s a good chance if you say something, he will talk to someone else about what you said.  there’s also a pretty good chance that person will back you up.  just be prepared to be the bad guy initially.  that could happen.  however, that should never be a reason for you to not do the right thing.  somebody has to start the conversation.  somebody has to give others the courage to say something, it may as well be you.

what would you guys do if this were your friend?

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11 comments on “dear sharideth – “engaged too soon?”

  1. I would want to say something in this case and raise obvious doubts about it. I myself get a lot of ‘are you sures’, for having a relationship in which the space between us is over 6000 miles and I am slowly letting people know that I plan to move to the US one day. I can never tell why I am the one who knows what he’s doing, whereas the other people just don’t get it. I can back it up with solid reasons, but I also recognize the need to show people how I can work it out while they think otherwise.

    I did like your third point best, as I think people can neither have a good reason to opt out on it and it will help letting go, as they’re in other (better) hands. The other four were valuable as well, but your third one stood out.

  2. Jenn says:

    As someone who rushed into an engagment – I will say that they may think they are doing the right thing. So go about it – calm and slowly – don’t spook them and just consistently go about being their friend – because you are, no? No alterior motives – you are getting involved only if you are prepared to stand by them regardless.

    Btw telling them about all the things they need to worry about likely will only exasperate the situation, especially if they have their heads in the sand.

  3. Michael Mock says:

    I think I’d say something like, “Hey, I’m really happy for you, but I’m also a little worried because this seems awfully sudden. Are you sure you’re ready for this? And are you sure you’re compatible enough to make it work? One of the best things we did before getting married was a little quiz that the minister made us take – basically just ranking our marital priorities to see how compatible they were. Again, not trying to intrude, but having been through a divorce myself, I’d like to make sure my friends won’t have to go through that.”

  4. asoulwalker says:

    I would have to know him and the girl. I would probably only be worried if I didn’t like the girl or if he didn’t bring her around to the crew. As to the timeline– why would anyone ask me? I’m single and American– two serious strikes for having anything worthwhile to say about marriage. It’s hard to fight culture and experience (or lack thereof).

    If I was worried for some reason, however, it really would depend on how much of a friend I was to him.

  5. In the past, regardless of the circumstances, I’d have some strong words to give to the guy. But these days, I don’t have a lot of room to talk.

    I met my wife last December…online…through our blogs. We unofficially started to date (I use that liberally) by Skype in February. We met for the first time in March. She bought a wedding dress in May (yup, the timeline is right). She moved down in July and I proposed that weekend. We were married in October.

    It was the absolute best decision of my life and the past 6 weeks have been amazing!

    That said, we’re both over 30 and have quite a bit of relationship experience under our belts. We’re both grounded and established in both our life and our faith. We knew that we knew that we knew…so we went.

    I don’t recommend this for everybody, but I am living proof that the fast track can work. You’d probably say, “Come back in 10 years and see if the story is the same”. I get that. And I plan to. 🙂

  6. Regan says:

    This is a relatively new experience for me, so maybe I don’t have the right perspective on it. But here goes. I started dating my last boyfriend at the beginning of July, and by the end of July we were talking about marriage. I DID ask several people I trusted what they thought, and none of them said, “It’s a bad idea” (although very few of them said, “It’s a good idea”). Which left me to my own devices, and I was, as Delilah says, “stupid in love.” But, as things turned out, we weren’t compatible and eventually broke up at the almost-three-month mark. THEN my family and friends told me, “Well, I didn’t think it would work out” and “He didn’t seem to be right for you.” And I thought, “Why didn’t you tell me when I asked you before!!!” I asked one of them, and she said, “I thought you knew my opinion.” Hmmmm. Hard to know when you don’t tell me. So, yes, be careful HOW you say it, but if you have serious doubts, let him know. He might want another perspective and maybe other people aren’t speaking up.

    • I was in a similar situation, where I started talking about marriage with a guy only a couple months into a dating relationship. when it started being serious talk a few months later, I spoke with my mom about it. She didn’t state any objections to him, or to our relationship, but kind of made a face that said, “I don’t really want to say this to you”, and asked me to not rush into things, and to be careful. I said ok.

      After I left that day, I was a little angry at her for not being gung-ho about it, considering that she met and married my dad in less time than I had known the guy, when they were both younger than I was at this time (maybe that was actually the reason she wanted me to take care, haha, who knows).

      But I took it to heart anyway, and I think it opened my eyes a little bit, and I was able to see how we were at totally different stages of life. I approached my grandparents for advice, and though I think he’s a great guy, I was able to see that we were wrong for each other.

      • Jenn says:

        I think is the most dangerous place that we get into as observers – we don’t risk the relationship for the truth. If you have an issue that say it – be firm and clear in your reasons. Regardless if things go south be GRACEFUL, never use the bs line I knew you two wouldn’t work.

  7. Chris says:

    It may be that they are doing exactly what they believe God wants them to do.

    Sometimes new Christians are more sensitive to God than the old ones.

    A marriage is based on faithfulness and love, not the amount of time spent getting to know each other before marriage, even though that extra time can be very helpful. It seems that Isaac and Rebecca knew each other for maybe a few minutes before they got married.

    You also didn’t mention the parents in this equation. Are they on board? Have they given their blessing? I think this is important. It seems hard to get officially engaged, especially among Christians, without some parental involvement. If the parents have given their blessing, then it seems that outsiders have less reason to worry or meddle.

    I also agree with Sharideth’s comment about purity of motives.

    We can always pray for those we care about, and that might be the wisest thing to do right now.

  8. Larry Hehn says:

    I’m probably not the right one to ask. I proposed after three weeks. My wife and I just celebrated our 21st anniversary. I definitely wouldn’t suggest it for most, but sometimes when you know, you know.

  9. Lynne says:

    My parents got engaged after dating three months and they got married a month after that. Things eventually deteriorated to divorce.

    So no, I don’t recommended the quick weddings.

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