hey anonymous friend

thankx for the email and the sharing and the questions – some hectic and hardcore and challenging questions indeed and i don’t want to patronise you in the slightest by assuming i have the answers to all of them, if any of them, but i do have some thorts and i hope you will find them helpful and instructive.

One of my main issues that I have with dating in the church is that instead of discussing at why people shouldn’t date non-christians, maybe we should look at why they do? What is it about dating in the church that is driving people to look elsewhere for partners?

i hear this. and while it my be true in terms of helping us understand why they do so, i DON’T THINK IT’S GOOD ENUFF AS A REASON for doing so. if the thing is wrong, then it’s wrong because it’s wrong, not because the alternative is not working or looking so lekker. However, one message that seems to be echoing quite loudly and clearly amongst Christ-following women is that CHRIST-FOLLOWING BOYS/MEN NEED TO UP THEIR GAME. i strongly suspect this to be true and usually challenge the guys on it when asked to do relationship talks at schools and camps.

Here’s my take on it. I think that people in the church, especially boys, want to date the perfect girl.

Hm, I’m just not sure of this anon. i think you are right when talking about a bunch of guys, but i think maybe the answer to that statement is that you are HANGING OUT WITH THE WRONG GUYS. if that is the mindset of the guys you hang out with then you really don’t want to end up with one of them. a guy who dates for looks for example – fine at the beginning perhaps but at some stage the looks are going to run out/wear away/sag and if there is nothing else there, the relationship is going to follow the same path (as often happens inside and outside the church i imagine) – so you really are wanting to find some guys who are more INTERESTED IN GIRLS BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE and not simply what they look like. and if moving church is too extreme a solution for you, then it may come down to something like PUTTING YOURSELF IN OTHER SPACES where you know there will be DIFFERENT CHRISTIAN GUYS from the ones you are used to – like maybe a small group from another church or hanging out with groups of friends of people you know from other churches.

But if Jesus is my number one and that is the main and most important thing, clearly there must be some other factor to me being excluded.

i think the “other factor” is STUPID BOYS, especially knowing who you are. and the reason this topic is so close to my heart is i have a few friends my age (which is apparently a bit older if you are a woman for various reasons) who are incredible women and yet they are still single and not desiring to be. so i ‘get’ it, and it sucks. and as a guy who was 35 and not looking like ever finding someone, i definitely speak from a lot of experience (altho i did have a few girlfriends along the way).

i do think one thing needs to be said though and it may be a bit of a tough one, but it’s like you stated that JESUS IS YOUR NUMBER ONE. In the world and maybe even more so in the church we have elevated marriage to this place of being THE END POINT – so your whole life is kind of aimed at that time when you have found the right person and MADE IT and ARRIVED. And MARRIAGE IS THE FINISH LINE. But that is NOT TRUE AT ALL. In fact in many places the Bible lifts up and honours singleness and says it is the better way in many regards. So as the church WE NEED TO LEARN TO HONOUR BOTH MARRIAGE AND SINGLENESS and as Paul teaches, for us to BE CONTENT WHEREVER WE FIND OURSELVES.

However, the fact that you are desiring relationship changes it i think and that is NOT A WRONG THING AT ALL. i am not saying you must settle for being single if you don’t desire it. But – and i really think i learnt this just before i met Val so it’s not a formula but it does help – LEARNING TO BE CONTENT IN YOUR SINGLENSS WHILE YOU ARE THERE (while still letting God know as often as you want or need to that you would really like someone in your life) is a key to a joy-filled life. And often being content in your singleness is the very thing that attracts you to other people [as being desperate to not be single sometimes detracts if people pick it up].

Oh and my point being THE END POINT IS RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS. That must always be our number one focus and if we manage to get that right then He will take care of you with regards to the other stuff and give us the strength to keep going (when we don’t have it) and do it right (when we do). Identity must always be found in God and not in any relationship. [very easy to type and again, mucho difficult in real life, but still true.] That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will end up in a happy relationship, but that even if we don’t we will still be able to find peace and contentment. If marriage is the end goal, then if you don’t get it you will be devastated, but if God is the end goal then if you don’t get marriage you will still be able to LIVE TO THE FULL.

[to be continued by clicking here…]