In this blog post I would like to write about my personal conviction regarding “the two year thing”. For people who do not regularly follow this blog, what I mean by that is the idea of getting to know someone for a full two years before starting a romantic relationship with them.
I was discussing this issue with one of my sisters a few weeks ago, and she disagreed with this whole two year thing altogether. Reflecting on our discussion, it occurred to me that this “two year thing” is my own personal conviction. It is based on my own personal experiences with individuals and with churches. I am not saying that God cannot work differently for other people, to bring about a viable and powerful relationship after you have only known someone even for a matter of weeks, or months. I am not even saying that God might not work differently for me. In my own case it is entirely possible that God might inspire something between me and someone I have not known for up to two years. However, as things currently are, this “two year thing” is my default position. I am willing to consider alternative paths only if God very strongly and very unmistakably shows otherwise. Otherwise I am utterly committed to waiting a full two years before considering anyone romantically.
These are some of the thoughts that have occurred to me about this:
The period of two years is not just a random length of time I chose from nowhere. It was chosen because that is the length of time that is generally accepted as being long enough to reliably get to know someone. If you’ve only known someone for a single year, then it is entirely possible that you might be deceived by their character. Perhaps “deceived” is too strong a word – perhaps “mistaken” would be kinder. However, there are definitely some people – especially Christians – who go around pretending to be different from what they are. In fact, a little confession – I myself – very very deliberately – often go to different churches deliberately not revealing the intensity of my commitment to Christ, acting like a little mouse. This is not really for the sake of deceiving a future husband though, because I definitely plan to reveal who I am so that he would see the real me. (If he bothered to read my blogs, he would see the “real me” in a trice.) Rather, it is for the sake of assessing and evaluating the churches and the people within them, and how they treat people who they think are small, or how they act when they do not see any particular reason to try to impress someone. I flatter myself that I must be quite a good actress, because most people seem to fall for it – that is, the idea that I think of myself as being small or that I do not claim any deep commitment to Christ – which, frankly, they would not do if they were deeply plugged into the Spirit of God. When I finally stand to my full height and start roaring like the lioness I am, most people simply cannot believe it or accept that that is what I am, or even that I genuinely think of myself in that way. I could go on at great length…
Most people in the church, however, including so many apparently eligible Christian men, pretend in the opposite direction. They pretend to be prayerful, they talk about God all the time, they quote Bible scriptures all the time, they make themselves out to be people in desperate, impassioned pursuit of Christ. Please. When you get to know people very very well, then you get to know which people are simply lying, versus which people are genuinely making an effort for Christ, and genuinely striving. With everyone, there are ebbs and flows in our commitment to Christ. With even the most genuine of Christians, there will be times when we are blazing hot for Christ, and then times when we are…not so hot for Christ. However there is definitely a difference between people who are trying, and people who are pretending. Perhaps it also would be wise of me to acknowledge that there will also be times when otherwise genuine Christians pretend. That is, they know they haven’t read their Bible for weeks on end, or prayed, and yet they deliberately give this impression of being so deep in Christ,and being so close to Him, when actually they are feeling kind of dry and empty. Hello?! (Come on people, you know that we do this! Including me, you ask? Well, erm, ahem! Maybe sometimes!!) And yet this is the point of waiting two years. You get to know the people who on the whole are hot and fervent, versus the people who on the whole…are not.
I know I’ve made these points before, many times. They are so important that I don’t mind repeating myself about this many times.
Can’t afford to wait for two years?
When discussing with my sister, she made a very obvious point. Namely this: who after all, can afford to wait for two years, checking someone out, in case they might be suitable? Well this is the thing. If you’re in a church, and there are various eligible singles, then it’s not as if you would check one person out exclusively for two years, then angrily cross them off your list, and go on to check out the next person. Rather, in the day to day or week to week interaction of church life, you would be getting to know everyone at once. Unfortunately yes, some eligible people would inevitably get married within that time. However at the end of any two year period you would reasonably be at a point of knowing which singles within that church you could possibly consider romantically. Yes?
Furthermore, I was thinking that many relationships would reasonably last two years or even longer before progressing further into engagement and then eventually marriage, if they do last. Here is another thing – many of the things that you would do in the two year thing that I believe in, many people would do in their relationships anyway. That is, you get to know whether you like this person, you get to know whether you are spiritually compatible, you get to know whether you find their character outstanding. The only difference is that in a relationship you would already have opened yourself to vulnerability to this person, before discovering that actually, their character is quite poor, or your lives are quite obviously not moving in the same direction or you don’t particularly like them very much. Does it not make more sense to discover all these things before entering into a relationship with someone? The way many people seem to go about their relationships is that they go out with someone, often someone they barely know, based first on physical attraction, and then they proceed to try to draw out everything beautiful and excellent to be expected or wished for in relationships. However the whole thing was initially based on physical attraction which can in no way guarantee any of the other crucial elements of a relationship. How can this possibly be expected to work, to act as a solid foundation for a solid relationship?
And once you are actually in a relationship, and you’ve already been there for two years, the pressure? force of momentum? (I can’t quite think of the correct word right now) would be to keep you within that relationship. What I am trying to say is that for most people, after two years you would probably have invested so much time and effort into that particular relationship, that you might be reluctant to throw it away unless you absolutely had to. Your friends and relatives might also have become accustomed to seeing you with this person and might eagerly be expecting or encouraging “the next step” (especially if you are a bit older). In this way, you might find yourself progressing forward with someone who you know is not “all that”, or whom you do not like quite so much as you did when you first met them or who has turned out to be quite different from what you originally thought them to be or… a thousand different possibilities.
6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
But who can find a faithful man?
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