I really need some advice. I have a unique situation that I haven't been able to get answers on. I'm a 34-year-old woman who has been dating a wonderful man for two years. I have waited a long time to meet someone like him and we have recently talked about getting married. Before I met him, I joined the military and when I got out, I thought about moving closer to family (they are 1000 miles away on the East coast). I met my boyfriend in the middle of this decision. At that time, I prayed about it and decided that this was the right guy to date seriously. My boyfriend has a young son that he wants to be around and cannot move anywhere for 11 years, which is understandable. He says he wouldn't mind moving but needs to be close to his son until he graduates high school. Now, he may not move to my hometown but anywhere we go where I could drive to see family would be great. So I am thinking if we get married, I will be here for a while. For the most part, I don't think of home a lot, but I'm usually sad when I go to visit my family and have to leave them. At my age, I feel as if I shouldn't get homesick. I am not dependent on my family but we are very close.
My question is, should I stay here with him or move back? If I were married, there would be no question where I should be, but for right now we are just dating. I want to be with him, but I think about my parents. I know I need to live my life, but I think about how my parents are in their 60's and 70's and would love to have me around. They don't have much money and visit when they can, which is on average once every three to four years. I visit two times a year, so as long as I’m saving money, I can get back to see them. Seeing them for a week or two twice a year just doesn’t seem to be enough to cure my homesickness, and if we get married, I could be seeing them less than that. One day I’m happy to be here with my boyfriend, and the next day I miss my family. People I have gotten advice from tell me getting married means to leave my mother and father, and then some say to me, “How could you just leave your aging parents?” I feel torn. I don't know if I am struggling with this because I will be a step-mother and a wife all at the same time, or because I know I will have to be far from family, possibly for good. It's just a lot of change. Maybe I just need to grow up, but I'm struggling with it all. I have prayed about it and have no idea what God wants me to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Homesick and in Love
It’s understandable that you feel torn between wanting to live closer to your parents and yet wanting to be with your boyfriend (and possible future husband) who needs to live closer to his family. The people who try to advise you on what you should do mean well, but they do not know what is right and best for you, so don’t let their comments make you feel guilty. You are wise in seeking God’s will in this matter, and I pray that you receive His answer soon. Here are some things to consider when you pray for guidance:
Are you sure that God wants you to marry this man? If so, when does God want you to marry him? I think that this needs to be settled first, because the question of where to live seems to hinge on whether you marry him. If you decide to marry, your priority should be to your husband. There will be times when you will feel torn between wanting to be nearer to your aging parents and needing to maintain your marriage and the family that you are making with him. Are you prepared to place your husband first, even if that could mean that you may not be able to do everything for your parents that you would like to do?
If you decide to put your parents first rather than marrying, consider that God did not intend for the parent-child relationship to be the primary focus when children become adults. That is why He instituted marriage and it is in our best interest to establish our own families, separate from our parents (Genesis 2: 18-25). Also, you will likely live for decades after your parents have passed on. It’s much easier to cope with the loss of your parents if you have a loving, supportive spouse (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12).
I don’t think there is anything unusual about your homesickness. You love your parents and you miss them. That is why you become sad when you visit them and then have to leave. Those feelings will never change, no matter how old you are. Your parents most likely feel sad when your visits are over, and they probably wish you were living closer to them. They love you and they miss you. However, most parents want whatever is best for their children, even if it means that they must live 500, 1000, 2000 or more miles apart. Parents want their children to be well and happy, regardless of how far apart they are or how often they get to see them. Your parents want you to be happy, so if you have a husband who loves you, who treats you well, and you are happy living with him, your parents will adjust to your living far away.