Infatuation...

Question:

The following answer pertains to a question from a young man regarding infatuation. Because of the sensitive nature of so much personal detail, I have omitted the question. I am addressing in this answer some ideas on what to do when one suffers from an infatuation that just won't go away. In this circumstance neither he nor she are married, so it is not complicated in that way. It is simply the case of a man being haunted by an attraction to a woman who he knows at a distance, but not well enough to have ever entered into a real relationship with her. He is an active Christian, in his early twenties, upholding the virtue of chastity in his life and unsure of how to get this one woman off his mind. . . .

 

Questions...

 

 

Dear James,

You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers much these past few weeks. I have been very busy with family life, but in all honesty, I have to admit to having a hard time in forming an answer to your question. Without knowing you or this woman personally, I am really at a loss to give you direct advice. What I have to offer you are some general ideas and advice, and hopefully you’ll find it helpful. And of course, I offer you my prayers!

It seems to me that you are a Christ-focused man, with a heart for the truth and a sincere desire to live according to God’s will. I think you need to trust that God is capable of bringing into your life the right woman at the right time! We are told in Jeremiah 29:11:

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

God has a perfect plan for you! This woman you are so intent on may or may not be the woman God has intended for you. The other question remains as to whether or not this is the right time in your life or hers to pursue a courtship.

So, how do you discern whether or not she is the one and what do you do while you wait?

You obviously need to pray and it seems that you have been doing that. And you need to be prepared to surrender your will to God’s and to allow His peace to fill you. It seems that if you are so tormented over this woman that perhaps there is something disordered in your infatuation. As you indicated, perhaps you have created an imaginary woman that does not even exist. It could be that if you got to really know this woman, she would not even measure up to “herself” – as you imagine her to be.

You need to train yourself through discipline not to allow yourself to fall into the trap of fantasizing a romantic relationship that does not exist. Even if you are not falling into the sin of sexual/lustful fantasies, dwelling in thoughts about a relationship that is not even real is not healthy and it can lead you into sin. It can cause you to separate yourself from reality and not to be offering to God your time and talents as you should. It can cut you off from those around you whom God has placed in your life to love and to serve: family, friends and acquaintances with whom you are really and truly in relationship. And it can certainly be closing your eyes to the woman God has chosen for you, if this woman is not the one.

Through self-discipline you need to train yourself so that every thought and word and action is brought under the authority of Jesus Christ!

I’m not suggesting that this is easy. This is, in fact, the life-long struggle of every Christian as we journey in our faith. Because we are all sinful and inclined toward sin, due to our fallen nature, we need a constant vigilance in our spiritual life.

So what do I suggest in practical terms?

I think you need to decide if your intentions are sincere with this woman and if the time in your life is appropriate to consider a courtship relationship. If not, then you need to consciously put her out of your mind. You need to turn to Christ for the strength to resist the temptation to fantasize about this woman. It will take a deliberate, conscious and consistent effort. But each time she comes to mind, stop and pray, and refuse to allow your mind to indulge in thoughts of her.

If you are ready to consider a courtship in your life right now, then I agree with you that perhaps contacting her father is a good idea. But be prepared to honour his advice. He knows his daughter and will have her best interest at heart. If he suggests you contact her yourself, then take his lead and go from there. If he suggests she is not interested in you or this is not the right time in her life to pursue romance, then respect his decision and let it go.

In the end, I believe you have to determine to be self-disciplined in your feelings . . . whether you pursue a relationship with her or not. Self-mastery and self-discipline are highly valued and honourable virtues in a man. This is a perfect opportunity in your life for you to form yourself in these virtues. And I do believe that as you are faithful in this matter of self-discipline, God will reveal what His will is for you.

I hope that these ideas will give you some support in this area and encouragement to live out God’s will in your life. You have been very much in my prayers and I will continue to pray for you to have discernment, wisdom, strength and self-discipline in this situation.

I ask that you would remember me, my family and this ministry of promoting purity in your prayers as well.

Blessings,

In His Most Holy Name,
Carmen Marcoux