Can you learn to love someone with time?


Prayer and a sober approach to issues will help you make the right choice.

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Hi Pastor

I am 23, born again and thinking of marriage. My parents are encouraging me to find a good man but the ones I have been meeting are crooks. Most of them just want sex but I wish to wait until marriage. I would like to be married by a born again man so we can serve God together.

Recently, I met this man who says he loves me but I don’t have feelings for him. He is a teacher. He tells me that I will learn to love him with time. Should I go ahead and marry him, will it work?


At 23 years, I would not be overly worried about marriage. Still, I appreciate your logical approach to the kind of person you feel you desire to marry. As a young adult, you have so much to do such as pursuing a career and other hobbies. There is a lot of adventure and opportunities of service awaiting. This is how you will be exposed to a variety of people. Emerging from college and the pressure from parents can make you get this feeling of urgency. But, as you move on with life, you need to manage your anxiety towards dating.

I would suggest the following: First, get to define what you are looking for in a man. Put these ideas down and take time to pray before you go looking for him. Prayer and a sober approach to issues will help you make the right choice. For example, when you talk of involvement in serving, are you thinking about serving in church or helping people? What faith should they profess? Would you mind a man from another church that is not like yours?

Such questions help refine how you think and process ideas about the kind of life you want, the type of person you want to spend it with, and the values, and behaviour you will tolerate. These issues may look trivial but end up disturbing many later in marriage.

Second, what kind of man will be a father of your children? Looking for a churchgoer is not as the same as one who fit the profile you have for a Christian. I would suggest that a great Christian man is one who lets God take the first place in his life. Such man keeps God as his main inspiration, guide and model of character. You have to attend certain events together to see how he worships and prays. How he relates with others will tell you a lot about his values. In addition, his interactions with others will reveal his pure-heartedness, honesty and integrity.

Third, respect who you are. I am pleased by your choice to wait until marriage to have sex. You have not said much about the current man you are dating other than the fact that he loves you but you currently have no love for him. Whether you can marry him or not can never be my decision by yours. However, your decision would be based on a certain credible criterion. So long as your measuring rod as discussed earlier is right, leave the rest to prayer and the Holy Spirit to guide you. Additionally, you may need to define for yourself what you understand by the word ‘love.’

When you say that you do not love him, what does this mean? Is your assessment based on feelings or prayer and reason? Feelings come and go, but love remains foundational even in troubled times. Although attraction and feelings may be part in the initial stages of a relationship, knowing whether this man has the godly qualities you are seeking is most important.

 In healthy relationships, love is a choice and not just an instant thing we feel. As you get to know him more, you make a conscious choice to love him or not based on who they are. I have discovered that this is what holds partners together in times of doubt and testing. The truth is, if love is patient, kind, long suffering, persevering and enduring, then we discover that love is far from being just a feeling.

Finally, the choice of finding the right spouse is one of the most important personal decisions one can ever make. Although relationships are dynamic, and most times complicated and emotive, we have to remember to remain alert and sober-minded.

I encourage you to be emotionally and intellectually sober in evaluating the men you think have these qualities. Bruce Wilkinson reminds us that we are in an exciting adventure of learning, evaluation, challenge, and lasting life-change when we enter a relationship. This journey will challenge you to re-think and re-align your own life if your marriage is to conform to God’s Word. As a Christian, I pray for a great journey of discovery and challenge for you as you interrogate relationships in light of God’s word.

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