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Expert advice on love and relationships: doctor Joyce answers your questions

Q Why is being a Christian and dating so hard? I am a saved African-American woman who is truly living life as a Christian, and I have been for the past two years. It seems that meeting a gentleman with the same values and morals is virtually impossible. As soon as the SEX topic comes up and I explain that sex is not happening until I get married, then I immediately get the cold shoulder. And these are men who are in the church. What is the issue? Is being saved a strike against me?

Single and Saved in St. Louis

Dear Single and Saved:

Being saved means being patient and believing. Being a Christian while dating does not have to be difficult if you relate and interact with others who are truly Christians and share your beliefs, morals and values. Be patient and believe that your prayers will be answered when the time is right. I do not believe that being saved is a strike against you. Is sex being discussed before you have developed a relationship with the man in question? If so, being or not being a Christian is not relevant. A relationship with mutual admiration, respect and shared interests should exist before sex is discussed in any relationship. If interactions immediately cease after you express your views on the subject, there really wasn't much of a relationship after all.

Q I'm an attractive 42-year-old woman. After a short courtship four years ago, I married a man with two children. His children liked me while we dated, but now that we are married, they do not. My husband is not what I expected him to be either. He rarely talks to me. When he does, he is generally complaining or speaking to me as though I'm a child. I used to take all this in, but when I started standing up for myself, things got worse. Now we barely speak to each other. We have not been intimate in years. We don't spend time together nor does he want me to spend time with anyone else. If I have dinner with co-workers and attend a social or business gathering after hours, it is greatly frowned upon. He does not want to attend nor does he want me to attend. If I force him, he becomes antisocial. I end up making excuses to my friends, co-workers and associates for his behavior. We have a beautiful house together. He will not buy any furniture or food or anything to make it a home. If I want these things I must buy and pay for them on my own. I don't mind contributing, but he likes to keep everything separate. His excuse in the past was "I have child support." Now it is "I have college to pay for." For those who are outside looking in, I have it all. But I do not have it all. I have asked him to leave. He will not. And if I leave, I must continue to pay half the mortgage. I feel lonely, unloved and stuck.

Lonely and Unloved in Texas

Dear Lonely and Unloved:

The question you must answer is: What are you getting out of the marriage? Marriage consists of (among other components) intimacy, respect, love, sharing and mutual interests. Your description of your marriage does not indicate that any of these elements are present. From what you write, it seems that all you have is a beautiful house and a facade of a marriage. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney about what your rights and obligations would be if you dissolved this marriage. I also recommend that you consult a mental health professional who will assist you in sorting through the many issues and help you to decide the path you can take to resolve your marital problems. I gather that you care very much for your husband, but apparently your caring is not appreciated nor reciprocated. Stop feeling lonely, unloved and stuck; you deserve more. And with help, you can get it.

11/24/2007
About Author
Joyce Hamilton Berry, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with offices in Washington, D.C., and Columbia, Md.

Send questions or comments for this column to Talk To EBONY at www.ebonyjet.com, or mail them to ADVISOR, EBONY, 820 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605. Answers to all questions are checked with a relationship specialist. This information is not intended as a substitute for individual, professional counseling. Due to the volume of mail received, we cannot give personal replies.

COPYRIGHT 2007 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group
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