Question:

Hi! I'm in my early twenties, and I grew up in a Christian home. I met my boyfriend when he was not a Christian because we work in the same place. He was divorced about ten years ago. Until then, my parents, who are strong Christians, told me they would disown me as their daughter if I continue my relationship with him because he wasn't a Christian. By the way, my father is a pastor in the Philippines, so he couldn't accept the fact I was having a relationship with a divorced man and to top it all, a non-believer. Things happened and I made my decision, a tough one, and I broke up with my boyfriend, the love of my life, after six months of being together because I didn't want to dishonor and disrespect my parents.

But after a few days, I felt really miserable. I love this man so much that I was just thinking about him and praying to God about us and the situation. He's almost perfect, but the mere fact that he wasn't a Christian really made me want to isolate myself from him. I had this strong desire and hope that God would introduce Himself in my boyfriend's life. Then one day, he told me he wanted to go to see the pastor in my church for counselling. The same day, praise God, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He told me he did it not because of me but because he wanted to follow God.

We got back together as a couple. It's been a month now since we got back. After a few weeks, I told my mom that he has become a Christian, and we've been spending time together to pray. But my mom is totally against it. She doesn't want me to be with him. Her explanation is that we should seek God first and be mature as Christians. To top it all, she told me if you and he are really meant for each other, God would make a way and bring you back together, which for me sounds so conservative. I totally agree with being mature and to focus on God. But does it mean we should cut off our communication and not see each other? It would be really hard for me and for him. I think we can study the Bible together, in public areas so that there's no temptation, and he could join the men's ministry in the church to strengthen his Christian faith. Please do help me. I would really appreciate your advice.


Answer:

I have a feeling that there is more to your story than what you are relating because the things I would think that your parents would object to are not what you mention. There are things you left out that I know about your country that would enter into any serious advice to you.

  • In your country the minimum age to marry without parental consent is 26. You can get married after the age of 21, but you must have a letter of advice from your parents or wait three months before applying for the license. This tells me that the man you are interested in is much older than you are, besides the fact that he has been divorced for ten years.
  • In your country there is essentially no divorce. There are some rare exceptions, but they are so difficult that they are basically non-existent. So that raises the question of how your boyfriend managed to get divorced.
  • Then you avoided the reason why he ended up divorced. That makes a difference to Christians since there is only one reason for divorce that allows for a remarriage (Matthew 19:9).

There are other issues as well. "Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior" to be saved isn't a biblical doctrine. See: Are You a Born Again Christian? Your mother's idea that if you don't do anything that God will make it happen if He wants it is basically individual predestination, which is also not found in the Bible.

I can't advise you one way or another about whether it is good to marry this man or not. I don't know him, I don't know you, and you left too many important questions unanswered.

Thank you for your immediate response.

My boyfriend is now a born again Christian. He is 40 years old. There's definitely a huge age gap there; but that doesn't matter to me. He got divorced because his ex-wife was unfaithful to him. By the way, his ex-wife had different political views, so they always had arguments. They're both from a different country than mine. To make the long story short, his ex-wife began to be distant from him and she was disloyal to their marriage. They have a child living in their home country.

In my country (Philippines), it is definitely illegal to divorce. Only annulment is accepted. And teenagers there could marry as soon as they reach the age of 18 with the consent of parents (that's right), but my parents' concern is I really have to pray for this man. Before we get together, we have to be strong Christians especially my boyfriend because he just started his journey as a Christian.

According to my mom, I am disobeying God, and I'm going to have consequences in the future because I'm trying to work it my own way.

What my boyfriend and I do is seek God together. We pray together and we study His words together. He's a man of dignity, and I don't want to lose him. I see my future with this man.

As aforementioned, my mom said God would bring me back to him even when we separate ourselves from each other while focusing on God alone. And when she said being separated, it means no texting, no telephone calls, she even wants me to quit from my current job and work in a different place just not to see him anymore.

And I should mention that we both are living in a country that is not our native countries.

Now things make more sense.

The age gap is a concern, not at the moment but come twenty to thirty years from now. You need to consider that he'll be in his declining years, assuming he lives to the average age, while you will still be going strong. Another thing to consider is that you will probably have children in their preteens or teenage years when he does pass from this life. If he does have a very long and healthy life, he will still be more of a grandfather to your children. This is not to say it will definitely be this way or that you cannot make it work. I just want you to be aware of the difficulties ahead of you so you accept the situation for what it is. I have no problems with a difference in ages so long as those considering such a marriage are being realistic. After all in the Bible both Sarah and Ruth married older men.

I suspect that your mother is more concerned about the age difference and the national differences. But she knows she won't be able to persuade you on that ground, so she is trying to use God as a club to separate you two. She is trying to claim that God wants you two not to communicate, knowing that the lack of contact will make you two drift apart. She then can blame God for things not working out between the two of you. I doubt God will be pleased with your mother's manipulations.

God has never been pleased with people who claim to speak in the name of God when He did not give them a message. ""Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," says the LORD, "and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all," says the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:32). Since God said prophecy has ceased (I Corinthians 13:8-10) and that we have His message delivered (Jude 3), we already know there is no further revelation from God. What God wants us to know is in His Book. If your mom wants to claim you are disobeying God, then she must first show from God's Word what you are doing wrong.

There is a problem that since he is older than you and comes from a different background that his moral standards might not be as solidly in place as your own. The fact that you describe him as a man of dignity gives me some peace in this regard, but keep in mind that even though you want to marry him, until the wedding takes place you are not to move in with him or have sex with him. The two of you must always behave properly as Christians, setting a good example for others.

Whether you two marry is up to you. There will be consequences, both good and bad, to any decision that you make, but this is a decision that you have to make on your own. Others can give you advice and point out things you might not have considered, but in the end the choice and its results are your own responsibility.