Should I start a relationship when the feeling is not mutual?
Hello Ernest, I am a single Christian lady. I sense that I am getting into a season where the LORD is preparing me for marriage. There is a man who claims he loves me. We are both born again. He is mature in his faith and I like that. But I hold no feelings for him. He is a nice guy though. Should I just proceed with a relationship with him simply because he is a nice guy? Should I start a relationship when the feeling is not mutual?
Thank you for writing. In his book, The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller alludes to three levels of friendship and attraction that are necessary for any relationship to thrive.
- The supernatural friendship
- The natural friendship
- The romantic friendship
The longer I minister to couples, the more I see the vital need to honour these three levels of friendship. I believe they should not be ignored or downplayed because they involve our whole being (spirit, soul and body). I believe that people anticipating long term relationships should consider there three. Let us see what they are.
The supernatural friendship
As far as relationships are concerned, the supernatural friendship and attraction is a union between two people of the opposite sex based on their mutual spiritual journey. For a relationship to thrive, it is imperative that they have similar spiritual antennae. What does that mean?
That they are both committed to the same God. That they are both growing spiritually in the same faith. When this does not happen the Bible calls it being unequally yoked (See 2 Corinthians 6:14 and Amos 3:3). The Bible is replete with messages of devotion to God and it implies strongly that those who see no big deal in being unequally yoked have a low value for their faith.
The supernatural friendship in the Christian faith manifests itself in corporate spiritual activity. A supernatural friend is one to whom you can confess your sin to. A supernatural friend challenges you to cultivate a deeper obedient walk with God. A supernatural friend is one with whom you can engage in the spiritual disciplines of the faith corporately (prayer, fasting, giving, ministering).
A supernatural friends draws you closer to Christ. Do you and the person interested in you have a supernatural friendship? The supernatural friendship involves pursuing spiritual mission together. A supernatural friends is concerned about bringing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. This is someone who will help further this mission when you get married. Many a times, this is the only circle of friendship that some believers look at and believe it be enough. But there are two more. The natural and the romantic.
The natural friendship
As far as relationships as concerned, the natural friendship and attraction is a union between two people of the opposite sex based on mutual leisure and preferences. All it takes it to share or engage in similar natural activities.
These activities could range from the books you prefer to read to the hobbies or past time activities you like. While you may not necessarily have the same natural tastes, a relationship’s friendship is built when you enter into your partner’s world. You can develop a natural friendship with almost anyone. You can be natural friends with an atheist because of your mutual love for theatre. You could be natural friends with someone from a different religion because of your shared interests in classical music.
It is equally imperative that you develop a natural friendship with the person you plan to marry. From my observation, the fastest way to be someone’s friend is to go for their natural. Natural friendships are important for a couple to develop a deep bond that stands in the tough times of a relationship.
The romantic friendship
Finally, consider the romantic friendship. This involves a number of things. It includes the normal physical attraction you may have to your partner. It also involves the 5 love languages: Acts of service, Quality Time, Giving/receiving gifts, Quality Time, Words of affirmation. You can read more on the 5 love languages at www.5lovelanguages.com
Some believers downplay this friendship a lot, yet it is a gift from God. The culmination of this romantic friendship in marriage is in the act of sex. The best way to preserve a romantic friendship is to walk in sexual purity and emotional integrity as you relate with people of the opposite sex. The romantic friendship must be cultivated even more in marriage by examining specific gender-based needs such as the fantastic five by Shaunti Feldhan.