There never seems to be a shortage of Christian dating philosophies floating around.
There’s the classic “wait it out.” A theory where God reveals to young men their future wife and boom! He’s off into a fiery blaze of holy pursuit of his new beloved. Ladies just need to sit back and wait.
There’s the popular “intentional friendships” method. Befriend guys in your community and engage in safe, “intentional friendships” (the intention of potentially courting), get emotionally intimate(ish) with a few honorable fellows, reach the inevitably terrifying “DTR,” and the right one is sure to rear his beautiful head.
Then there’s the often treacherous “dating app fishing.” Swipe right on some decent guys, go on some decent dates. Love will find a way over one of those shrimp scampi platters… eventually. After all, God works through those who work for themselves!
There are enough theories, opinions and “proven methods” to make my head spin right off my single, 25-year-old shoulders.
The modern dating scene is one of the most fascinating—and frustrating— experiences to tackle with faith. I’ll skip the lessons on knowing that your value is not in your relationships but in God, that marriage, while beautiful, is not everyone’s call. But for those dating to marry someday, I’d like to address this tricky bit… dating.
Do I let “love come find me?” Use apps? Date too seriously? Too casually? Should I just buy a pug and call it a day?
What’s God’s way? Is God a matchmaker?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in my quarter-century existence, it’s this: God’s stillness brings profound clarity to the unclear.
Here are a few simple truths I’ve learned on dating:
1. The Journey. You are unique. No one can dictate your dating path.
Photo by Nadia Sobchuk/Shutterstock.com
Singles are used to receiving piles of advice (solicited or not). While well-intended, it can sometimes bring about insecurities. We begin to rate our experience against others: our successes, age, history. The advice becomes the rule. When we rationalize what could be as what should be, we find trouble.
Your journey is exactly that, yours. If you asked random couples to retell their “Harry Met Sally,” you’ll be hard-pressed to find two remotely identical. Furthermore, advances in technology have only created more nuances that have changed the “meet-cute” game. I’ve known couples who met via dating app, studying abroad, even some who were practically strangers when God told them to marry in 3 weeks!
Your life is handwritten by God. Taking pages from other books will do you no good. You’re intended to walk out your story. Don’t get bogged down by comparison. Take the pressure off and enjoy the ride.
2. The Destination. To appreciate dating, appreciate marriage.
Dating can be fun, but let’s be honest—it’s also incredibly stressful! The awkward silences, the “risky texts” and the uncertainty of it all. Why go through it?
To better appreciate dating, keep in mind the destination… marriage.
Marriage is a symbol of profound sacrifice. It’s a covenant promise representing God’s unconditional love for us. Pretty big deal.
Premarital dating is still a remarkably recent chapter in western history. Until 200 years ago, marriage was strictly arranged by parents as a means of financial gain. It’s no wonder there’s no mention of dating in the Bible—it didn’t exist!
With dating, we have now the freedom of choice in whom we marry. God’s free will gives us room to surrender to Him in loving trust. Use this season to grow. On this journey, whether exciting or weary, the destination can motivate you to see it through.
3. The Matchmaker. God knows where you’re going.
Photo by Nadia Sobchuk/Shutterstock.com
Lastly, remember God has you.
In life’s toughest seasons, we’re taught that our immediate reality is not God’s reality. It’s this kingdom perspective that gets us through unspeakable tragedies, keeps us humble and focused.
Sometimes this concept is easier to apply to careers and hardships than to whether or not to swipe right, but it still holds true. Maybe we need to focus less on God the “Matchmaker,” but God the “Mapmaker.”
God knows your journey and your destination before you even set foot.
Seek Him at every step; you’ll never lose. It doesn’t mean you’ll be spared from heartbreak in your relationships. Lasting resilience is born out of confidence in knowing God knows you and has you.
Whether you’re on apps or praying for a “one and done,” always seek God’s stillness in uncertainty. There’s no single “way” amongst this endless sea of dating methodologies. Just relax, date and keep your eyes fixed on the “Mapmaker.”