there is a trend that happens specifically in christian contexts (altho i am sure there are equivalent secular contexts that promote the same thing – like actors making a movie together for example) which contributes to a lot of debris in relationships WHICH COULD EASILY BE AVOIDED

the mathematical equation reads something like ‘bunch of christian guys’ + ‘bunch of christian girls’ added to short-term intense spiritual space [holiday club, weekend camp, mission trip] = ‘he/she is the one’alism’ = ‘relationship’

i’ve been there. it happens. because you are ‘forced together’ with a bunch of people in a situation which highlights their positive side [playing with kids, leading a small group, reaching out to the poor] it is VERY EASY TO BE ATTRACTED to someone in the group, altho in a lot of case the attraction is purely context-related and not person-related

and so you see an attractive girl and spend as much of the mission trip trying to spend time alongside her and you feel like you’ve found ‘the one’ and you have to be with her and so at the end of the weekend or week you ask her out and SUDDENLY YOU’RE DATING… and a few weeks goes by and the butterflies head north for the summer and suddenly you realise actually you don’t know this person…

[a spanner is thrown into the works if you have rushed into PHYSICAL STUFF (whatever level – holding hands, kissing, more) because then you might decide actually this person is not the one for you, but you have already entered A LEVEL OF INTIMACY on some level (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and it becomes much harder to break up with them]

now this doesn’t only occur on the weekend or week trips/event but they often intensify or speed up the process – i think ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS with the dating system we currently use is that we rush into relationships WITH PEOPLE WE DON’T REALLY KNOW AT ALL.

and yes, a huge part of being in a relationship with someone is getting to know them, but IT MAKES A LOT MORE SENSE TO SPEND SOME TIME (possibly in group situations so there is less pressure on the two of you) WITH THE PERSON GETTING TO KNOW THEM before asking them out. what this will do in some cases is eliminate a bunch of people as possibilities simply by taking the step of getting to know them – not necessarily cos they are bad people, but purely because you will be able to pick up that you are NOT WELL SUITED AS A COUPLE.

for example, if i am a complete outdoors nut – surfing, climbing, jet skiing – and i meet a girl and she is a complete indoors person – computer geek, playstation province champion, crochet fundi – then there is a strong possibility we WON’T BE WELL SUITED because we are PASSIONATE ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS – and so just by spending a little bit of time getting to know each other we can pick that up and be saved even entering a relationship that is in all likelihood not going to go anywhere

– both as an individual and in group settings – and at least get some idea of possibility of compatability – BEFORE YOU RUSH INTO A RELATIONSHIP blind simply based on some attraction that may be based on the context or your loneliness and ‘need’ for a person…

[click here to read the next partย on vision and values]