When I was about twelve years old I took a course at the local YMCA on how to be a good babysitter. I believe it was a weekly class, if I remember correctly, maybe six weeks long or so, and at the end of it each participate received a certificate proving that he or she was now a safe, qualified babysitter.
Of course the course covered all the basics you would expect including safety and what to do in emergencies. I loved every minute of it and was so proud to tell the parents whom I babysat for that I was now “qualified”.
Being qualified as a babysitter of children is something to brag about, but being qualified as a babysitter of adults – in this case adult men – is not something to brag about.
Unfortunately during my years as a single woman I was qualified in both.
Last week one of the pastors at our church and his wife gave an excellent talk on marriage and relationships and the importance of living a “shared story”. My pastor’s wife made a comment, addressing single adults, that they do not want to be spiritual babysitters.
Why couldn’t I have heard it described that way ten years ago?
Basically a spiritual babysitter is someone who has to babysit someone else to make sure he or she is doing what needs to be done spiritually.
Did you go to church? Did you pray today? How often do you read your Bible? Do you tithe? Do you serve others? Are you involved in the church?
You get the idea.
For years in my dating relationships I was a spiritual babysitter. Why? I don’t know. Well, I kind of know – because I liked the person and cared about him on some level.
But now looking back I see how futile those attempts were.
First of all, never did it produce the results I desired. It just left me spending a lot of effort doing something that only God can do.
Secondly, in dating relationships it is wise to date men who are “equally yoked”. I used to think that being equally yoked was just a check box with “Are you a Christian?” out beside it. Later I learned that the closer you are in spiritual maturity the healthier and easier marriage will be later.
So what do you do if you are a spiritual babysitter and you’re married?
Many women and men find themselves in this situation. They tie the knot and then realize, “Hey, this person isn’t exactly who I thought he or she was!” Maybe this is because the person was putting the best foot forward during your dating relationship. Or maybe you just chose to look the other way until it mattered – and now it matters. Everything matters in marriage.
If you find yourself in this situation, lead by example.
“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
You know the Proverb, “Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse” (Proverb 25:24, MSG).
So instead of nagging, lead by example and of course, pray! A lot!
But what if you’re a spiritual babysitter in a dating relationship?
This, friends, is a red flag. I big red flag. As you know, men are called to be the leaders of their homes and their families. A man cannot lead if he is not already disciplined in with relationship with God.
When you’re dating, you turn your head, think it’s not a big deal, or that he will change. My friends, he’s not going to change. Well, not overnight. Every problem, issue, or concern that you have about yourself or your boyfriend before marriage will double, maybe many times over, after marriage. That is the nature of marriage. It is the mirror that shows us a truer reality of ourselves and our spouse.
So today, let’s lead by example and pray for our spouses. And single friends, pray that God gives you the courage to make the hard decisions and walk away if you’re not spiritually yoked.
What is your experience with being a spiritual babysitter in a relationship or observing spiritual babysitters in other relationships?
This week I’m linked up with: