Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

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Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby datinganexcocgirl » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:24 am

I hope I am in the right place. I need some help. I am a middle aged widower. I met the most fantastic woman and fell deeply in love. She is the same age. I grew up Lutheran and I am very comfortable there, but very accepting of any other denominations. Our pas history has been very different. During college she got involved with her campus ministries, left with a large group to join the Kip McKean group in Boston. She of course dated and married a church member. The a long time later left the church and moved closer to home. Years later they divorced. We met shortly after the divorce. We are fantastic together. When she is around it is almost like there is no-one else there. I have not felt as complete as I do when I am with her for a very long time. We are both Christian and have started looking for a church. We think we found one in a Evangelical Lutheran Church. We have kept God as a centerpiece to our relationship. This is someone I want to spend the rest of my life with.

So whats the problem? Her parents approval in what she does is very important to her. They are still VERY active in the Church of Christ. It took her a long time to introduce us. When we did it was stiff and formal. They were noticeably keeping their distance. Another time before her fathers Birthday Dinner it was mentioned that her father was uncomfortable with my being there because it would appear he was "endorsing" me. That word has come up quite a bit. Her mother has told her "You shouldn't rush into anything, there are a lot of nice men out there" She was going to watch a football game at their house and wanted me to attend. Her mother was going to ask her father if it was ok. There was no immediate answer. I eventually tried to decline, but it was important to her so if she wanted I would go. She called me the morning of and said if I didn't want to I didn't have to. The gut feeling was they told her they didn't really want me there. I do not want to go into anyones house where I am not welcomed and wanted. It kind messed up our weekend plans.

Is the parental approval anything I could hope to get?
If not is it something we as a couple can work around?
Is it going to affect her and she will eventually end our relationship?
What are the things I need to do to make this work?
She acts VERY differently in their presence. Why?
Will their long and continual pressure eventually get to her and end our relationship?

Obviously I am deeply in love with this woman and want the best. I am a good person and don't want to change who I am to make these people happy.
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Re: Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby agricola » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:24 am

How old is this woman?
Does she live with her parents?
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Re: Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby teresa » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:39 am

Is the parental approval anything I could hope to get?
If not is it something we as a couple can work around?
Is it going to affect her and she will eventually end our relationship?
What are the things I need to do to make this work?
She acts VERY differently in their presence. Why?
Will their long and continual pressure eventually get to her and end our relationship?


Those are all good questions. And unfortunately, the only ones who can answer them are your girlfriend and her parents.

Hardline CoC folks differ in how they react to a family member who has married someone they regard as a non-Christian. They also differ in how they react to a family member who has left what they regard as the one true church. Some hardline CoC folks will "withdraw" from such family members -- they won't socialize or eat with them. Others will continue their family get togethers.

If it comes down to being shunned by her family, would your girlfriend be willing to have that happen for the sake of your relationship?

There isn't anything you can do that would make you acceptable to her parents, I think, other than to get baptized for the forgiveness of sins and attend the CoC. However, it's possible they may come to tolerate you.
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Re: Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby Math Dork » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:30 am

A grownup does not defer to family on romantic decisions.

What you need to decide is if you want to keep dating someone who will not grow up, or marry a grown woman.

What you need to understand about hardliners is that they are not just stout believers in a set of precepts. Being a Church of Christ hardliner is an attitude, and it is a phenomenon unique to the Churches of Christ. Hardliners:
A ) believe outside Christians are moral reprobates who believe `denominational' precepts to justify sinful living,
B ) hold personal disdain and malice for outside Christians,
C ) encourage this among each other,
D ) turn on Church of Christ adherents who reject such hostility,
E ) base your value as a human, and worthiness of basic civility, by their appraisal of your likelihood of becoming like them.
F ) believe that `rightness' exempts them from Scripture's directives on how to treat people.
Outside Christians who go among hardliners cannot imagine such a phenomenon among a `Bible-believing' people. Most have a hard time believing what they are seeing and hearing, and realizing the significance. If the hardliners in her family have decided you will never agree `enough' with them, they will hate you for it. Further, I recommend you consider the likelihood of an invisible `clock' doing a `countdown' in her mind too, given her behavior towards you around them.

"Is the parental approval anything I could hope to get?"
-- No. As hardliners, they hate you for being a church person who will not affirm their `rightness.'

"If not is it something we as a couple can work around?"
-- Only if your girlfriend loves you enough to grow up.
-- Only if your girlfriend does not hold some disdain for you because of your `denominational' beliefs.

"Is it going to affect her and she will eventually end our relationship?"
-- If she refuses to grow up, yes.
-- If she will ultimately judge your suitability based on your likelihood of becoming a `sound' member of the Churches of Christ, yes.

"What are the things I need to do to make this work?"
-- There is nothing you can do.

"She acts VERY differently in their presence. Why?"
-- Simple: she craves their approval, and you become unimportant in their presence.
-- Further: having been raised by hardliners, she was no doubt taught to have personal disdain and malice for anyone who will not agree `enough' with her within a timetable acceptable to her. To be fair, many refuse to adopt such ways. Others do, but pretend otherwise. It is possible that she is starting to change, and be more open with her real thoughts in her parents' presence.

"Will their long and continual pressure eventually get to her and end our relationship?"
-- If she refuses to grow up, yes.
-- If she decides a `denominational guy' is not worth it, yes,

IF YOU put her on notice that you are considering breaking up with her, it might be the impetus she needs to consider growing up. It might not, too.

When I was thirty, I recognized that I needed to become more judicious in my choice of pursuits. I needed to focus on women who had grown up.
A) No 20-something, or 30-something, is pretty enough,
B) No 20-something, or 30-something is `fun' enough,
to put up with for under-appreciation, inappropriate behavior to get others' approval, and irresponsible behavior for `fun.' At these ages, they know better, but too many see growing up as `boring' and `uncool.' Shortly after I rejected from consideration any gal holding on to adolescence, I met my wife.

It may not work out so well so quickly for you. However, I can tell you that if you are wanting marriage, you are wasting your time with this one under the current conditions.
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Re: Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby datinganexcocgirl » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:09 pm

All of this is very helpful. We saw each other virtually every day from Thursday through Sunday. We went Thursday to a Blues show at a beautiful setting. I took pictures of things and she surprised me when she asked to take a picture of us and post it with my facebook post and tag her. She has been reluctant to do that. When she does she puts it on a list that restricts/hides it from her parents. She took the picture of us and made it her profile picture and for the first time didn't hide it. She told her Mother that she has decided that it may be soon after her divorce, it may not be within the time her parents though she should wait, but it felt like God had put us in each others lives (I feel this too) and she was going to go with it.

Math Dork I tend to agree with a lot of what you said.

There is literally nothing I can do. SHE has to decide to live her own life. In Fact her daughter has told her on other issues she needs to be a Grown woman. Some of this comes from a domineering ex who controlled a lot of her life and what I perceive, please forgive me if I am wrong a church culture that makes woman a little more submissive. I will wait for now to see how she handles her parents and if she will be strong enough supporter of us to simply tell them to learn to live with it.

Your point on Hardliners is well put. It seems to me they will smile at you, be pleasant all while they are looking at you with disdain for not being a church member and use the "rightness" to mistreat. I do not disrespect at all Church of Christ beliefs. I have my own shaped by a Lutheran upbringing and more importantly my personal relationship with god. Will I become more like them? No, I wont. I do not know if there is a clock doing a countdown. I hope note. I am a firm believer in the quote "People will tell you anything, but what they do is always the truth" Her keeping things off Facebook from her parents (and who know who else) Led me to question how deeply she cared. Her recent moves will have to bear themselves out over time to see if she continues. She also refused to call me her Boyfriend and I was introduced as her Friend. I told her in a recent talk languages matters. Introducing me as her friend gave me no special status in her life, to parents, friends, family, or even other men. If it didn't change I planned to end things, but she said if it was important to me she would change. I think a lot of the behavior comes from trying to bridge the gap between us and the hardliners. If I understand you correctly there is no bridge that could be built.

I think I have come to accept that parental approval os not going to happen. Their son left the church and is now a deacon in the Baptist church and married to one. What I hope is that maybe given that they may never approve, but accept me based on prior experience. That is very sad to even write, but it is what it is.

Your final point is that she needs to grow up. I fully agree. She has come out of almost thirty years of a restrictive marriage and restrictive church. I like to go out and do fun things, but any "wild" days are over for me. My priority in dating is finding a wonderful woman to share the rest of my life with and continually build on ur relationship. Some of her early dating with others suggest two things. First she was very inexperienced and naive in the dating world, second she wanted to "let loose" a little. When she talks to men I don't think she realizes some of her behavior as a single woman can and will be misinterpreted by men. A lot of this and her need for the parents approval and there strong influence in her life do suggest that she needs to be a little more grown up in these areas.

Your first two points resonate the most with me. "A grownup does not defer to family on romantic decisions." "What you need to decide is if you want to keep dating someone who will not grow up, or marry a grown woman." I have seen some progress the last few days, but also a few regressions. We were talking about a thing that happened at dinner with some of her friends who are also ex COC. She thought I was bothered by it. Quite frankly I wasn't. We discussed it. I thought it was over. She misheard something later and thought I said something completely different. I told her what I said, but it had been a long night and I guess I made a face. Her reaction was over the top. It took a while to calm her down. I am still not sure what made her go off so hard. There is an need to be a little more grown up there. The only person responsible for my life and its happiness and success is me. I do not need the approval of others or a church body. I do want to what is right, but it is my internal moral compass that guides that. I have been through more in this life than most, death of a spouse, single parenting and believe it or not much more. Through all of that I am a happy person and grateful to God for this life and what I have. I want someone at the same point in there life. They are happy with who they are. They do not need the approval of others to do what is right.

I had actually come to your final conclusion the week she decided to begin labelling me her friend. Three close friends when asked for advice told me to let her go if she can't identify you as in a relationship. I was actually going to do it, but stopped short. Her change with her parents seems a little tentative, her change on Facebook seems to be a back channel way to communicate to them and other family that we are in a relationship. Is this progress enough? I want to be more open. I am deeply in love with her. I think I am rambling, but I am very confused. This is a whole new world to me. Her friends seem to have some bitterness to the Church. I am oddly probably the most positive one about COC. I think bitterness only affects and consumes the person who is bitter.
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Re: Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby agricola2 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:22 pm

I think she is showing some progress. It takes some people a long time to separate from their parents if they were raised the way a fairly typical, controlling coc family raises kids, especially girls. Having spent years in a similarly controlling environment with her ex husband, I expect she is even more repressed and hesitant to trust her own ability to make decisions.

She may be over 40, but I would be willing to guess (based on my own life) that her social maturity is hovering around late teens/early twenties.
Fortunately for all of us, growing up can happen at any age!

Support and gentle encouragement is helpful; making demands or setting deadlines is not.
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Re: Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby datinganexcocgirl » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:23 am

agricola2 wrote:I think she is showing some progress. It takes some people a long time to separate from their parents if they were raised the way a fairly typical, controlling coc family raises kids, especially girls. Having spent years in a similarly controlling environment with her ex husband, I expect she is even more repressed and hesitant to trust her own ability to make decisions.

She may be over 40, but I would be willing to guess (based on my own life) that her social maturity is hovering around late teens/early twenties.
Fortunately for all of us, growing up can happen at any age!

Support and gentle encouragement is helpful; making demands or setting deadlines is not.


Update, She has shown some amazing progress. She and I can neither one believe how well we get along or seem suited for each other. She has told me this Holiday season she will respect her family's discomfort with her getting involved with someone so quickly after her split, but next year they are going to have to deal with it. This is her deadline, not mine. I have set know deadlines or made demands.

She did have a controlling and also very critical husband. She is finding her way and learning that I am complementary and supportive of her. Not critical. We had a little instance while entertaining some friends something she was cooking got burnt. I had her laughing and the night went on and was wonderful. The ex would've criticized. She is making a lot of her own decisions and I am so proud of her and support her. Definite progress.

I have read on about the Church and found topics on the one here in North Alabama. It has become apparent to me her parents probably will never be fully accepting of me. They accept her brothers wife and his activity in a different denomination largely I suspect because he is a man and not their business. Because she is a woman her father believes it is his business how she lives. This I suspect will never go away, but I honestly do not care. I love and care for this woman to much to let that be a factor. Their acceptance would be nice, but is not really necessary.
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Re: Dating a former Church of Christ Woman

Postby teresa » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:28 pm

I'm glad things are going better for you.
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