Saturday, July 16, 2005
Dear Miss Modesty
Dear Miss Modesty,
I've seen your past letters and am very impressed with your ability to discern the heart of a problem even when hearing only one side of the story, in very few words, from someone you've never met. I hope you can help me.
For the past five months, I've been courted by a young man of excellent and Godly character. I'll call him "Joel." My parents approve of him highly. Since Joel lives across the country, we haven't been in one another's company very much, but when he visits, we discuss our weaknesses and expectations. I've grown to enjoy his letters to me, which we read as a family after supper.
A week ago, Joel and my dad discerned that the time had come to initiate the steps toward marriage. He proposed to me on my birthday, surrounded by my family, and I accepted his offer with gratitude. But one thing went wrong, and that's why I'm writing to you.
When I said "surrounded by my family," I unfortunately cannot include my father. Being an ER doctor, my father was called to the hospital only ten minutes before Joel planned to propose. Because Joel was already wrapped up in the big box that my brothers delivered to my feet, he decided to go ahead with the proposal without my father there.
This decision was a wrong choice, it turns out. My father was very displeased to find us engaged. Joel explained that he assumed he had my father's blessing already. But my father says that I am still under his authority, and that the engagement is not valid since he was not present. My mother pointed out that our selfishness robbed my father of the great blessing of seeing his daughter become engaged. Right now, Joel is still in town but can't come to see me unless he admits that we are not engaged; and possibly allowing bitterness to take root, Joel hasn't submitted yet.
So now I'm confused. I don't know if I'm engaged or not, so I don't know whether I'm able to fall in love with Joel yet. Please help me!
From your letter, I am tempted to think that your father may have overstated his case. Many Godly marriages began between the couple in private, and are perfectly valid. However, it is not your place -- or Joel's -- to correct your father. Leave that to God!
You did not mention whether you attempted an appeal to your father. If your appeal is rejected, you can accept it joyfully as an important lesson about submission before you get married. Another blessing you gain is the opportunity to suggest a creative alternative. Have you considered re-gathering the family, possibly after your father's favorite dinner, and letting Joel re-propose?
If Joel refuses to accept this solution, perhaps God is indicating that Joel is not His best for you, but merely a decoy of Satan's to bring you to ruin. By staying under your parents' authority, you can be protected from this possible danger. Until then, by no means should you commit "emotional adultery" and give your heart to this young man.
-- Miss Modesty