April 19, 2021
Throughout this past year, we have faced countless changes, but one thing that has not changed is our desire to be known. Although we have been introduced to new barriers to relationships because of the pandemic, we still have this strong desire to be known in a relationship. Relationships were one of the first covenants God made with mankind. He gave us community on this side of eternity that reflected His love for us, and the love He has for community.
As Christians, we can tend to think we have it all together, but what if I told you we have been getting aspects of dating wrong this whole time? What if I told you the world had been getting certain traits of dating right that we have been ignoring as believers? I mean we are called to walk in humility, and humility calls us to step down and listen to all people. So, what if there are things we still can learn from society, or being good Christians doesn’t always make you good spouse material? Here are a few lists of things I have learned from others that have helped me step out of the utopia of dating and back into reality.
Step one: Drop your list.
Growing up, we would fantasize about the perfect spouse. He or she would come into our lives and love us in a way that leaves us speechless. They would have the perfect body, the perfect personality, and then on top of that, they would love the Lord better than anyone else we know. The unfortunate reality is this perfect person just does not fully existence. I am not saying there are not great options and some people come close, but no one can check every box. I know I am guilty of this very thing. I tend to be a “Type A” personality, and I love my mental lists, but we have to remember that the beauty of loving someone is loving each other through the shortcomings… it’s what Jesus did for us. In Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age by Ben Stuart, he says it this way, “I have found that peoples’ descriptions of their ideal dates’ attributes are really just idealized versions of themselves. But you don’t want to date you… You want to date, and marry, someone who complements you.”
Step two: Find the one that complements you.
I have found that most single Christians struggle with this one. Talking with Jonathan Pokluda, a pastor and author in Texas, I asked him for advice in relationships. He told me, “Complementing each other is more important than having chemistry with each other”. He clarified and stated that you still want to have chemistry, but that can develop more as time goes on. Then on the other hand you cannot develop the way a person complements you. As young Christians we look for chemistry but that does not help because it really only narrows it down so much before you realize you can have chemistry with a lot of people. Let’s think twenty years down the road. The fun newness of chemistry has worn off, and you still feel unsupported in your passions and you are trying to raise a family while still honoring God with your life, but they could care less about complimenting the other skills and passions. This leads to a lot of issues. A lot of people out in the world have gotten this aspect right. They look for someone that will help their career, support their family well, love them for who they are, and they do the best to equip their spouse to be the best version of themselves. Find someone that compliments your traits in life. They should make a great life partner that will help affirm who you are in Christ, not question it.
Step Three: Look for a home, not a hobby.
The final step of advice that has been passed on to me was stop overthinking it. Many singles tend to get in their own way. All too often we look for good ministry partners while neglecting to look for good homes. We look for the person that can quote the most Scripture, wears the big smile, and has the nice paycheck that will be able to support our dreams and ministries. I know I have been guilty of these things, and people have come into my life to remind me it is much simpler. When we think of a spouse, we need to understand that they are not just a ministry partner they are a life partner. If you need Scripture that backs up this idea, then look back to the first relationship with Adam and Eve. God did not command them to be church planters or anything ministry related. God actually commands them to make a home. In Genesis 1:28 “God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…’”(ESV, 2011). God puts the home in high regard and in this life, it is important that you find someone that you can be yourself around. Find someone that you know you can build a home with while being who God created both of you to be in whatever beautiful or crazy way that might be.
When reading this please know that if you feel called to singleness there is nothing wrong with that. The Church has done a poor job of supporting singles in today’s churches but know that if you do feel drawn towards walking through this life with another person it is going to take work. We can trust God, and we should use the Bible to help us throughout this process but never neglect the wisdom you can learn for the people God has placed in your life.
Written by Riley Anderson
Riley is a junior majoring in Christian Leadership and Church Ministry with a minor in Biblical Studies.