I am 16 and my boyfriend, "Johnny," is 17. He will be going on a religious mission in two years. Johnny has proposed to me and wants us to be married in his church. For that to happen, we would both have to be his religion. My problem is, I don't know if his religion is right for me.
I love Johnny with all my heart, but we have very different outlooks on life, religion and raising a family. I respect him and his beliefs, but I am a very independent person and I don't think it's fair that I have to change everything about myself. I'm losing sleep over this. I think that Johnny respects that I want to live life to the fullest, but he thinks his beliefs are more "right" than mine. He is also mad that my parents didn't raise me to be particularly religious -- although I have been baptized.
I don't want to hurt Johnny, but I don't think I could live the way he wants me to for the rest of my life. I want to go to college, get a good job and have a career before I start a family. If I marry Johnny, I'll be expected to stay home, be a homemaker and take care of the children.
Please, Abby, any advice you could offer would be appreciated.
Made for Better Things in Idaho
You appear to be a sensible young woman. Your concerns about your future are legitimate. The debate you are having with yourself is healthy and intelligent. Do not allow yourself to be stampeded into making a commitment. You and Johnny may love each other, but your value systems are polar opposites. Johnny should go on his mission and you should complete your education. After that, you will both be in a better position to judge whether you are meant to marry.
My sister, who is now out of high school and about to go to college, has never had a job. She has turned in a couple of job applications, but it's been two years and she's still unemployed. Our parents are frustrated with her.
Every time I look at the classifieds for a job for her, she yells at me and tells me I'm exactly like our parents. How can I get her to find a job without making her angry?
You cannot -- nor should you -- get your sister a job. It's clear she doesn't want one, and until she's motivated, she won't find one. Who is paying for her college education? Who is giving her spending money? Perhaps when the well runs dry, your sister will get her shovel and start digging.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate