If you’re a single Christian woman, chances are you’ve been taught that you should wait on God to send you a mate.
According to this teaching, waiting looks like going to church, volunteering, serving, giving, reading your Bible and praying for God to send your husband to you. You may have also been taught to avoid being “worldly” by dressing modestly, avoiding places where secular music is being played and opting out of the modern dating process and instead pray that you’ll meet your future husband at church.
However, if you look around on any given Sunday, most churches are filled with 80 to 90 women. And of the 10 men who may attend your church, TWO of them might be single (and they are probably not eligible). Chances are, most Christian singles will not meet their future spouses at a church.
So how do you navigate the modern dating world when you’re a Christian who wants to please God? Do you need to become worldly in order to be dateable? Or should you be content and wait on God to send you a spouse to your Wednesday night Bible study?
As a matchmaker and dating coach who specializes in working with Christian singles, I can help you gain clarity about how to maintain your values and still be dateable at the same time. My clients have followed these principles, and they are all either now married, in long-term relationships or actively dating. So here are thre major keys:
1. Release your either/or approach to life
Much of the teachings to Christian singles make dating an either/or, holiness or hell issue:
- Either you are flirtatious or you are honoring God and your body.
- Either you are approachable and open to meeting different types of men or you are living by “standards.”
- Either you trust God to send you a mate or you are doing things on your own and risking stepping outside His will for your life.
- Either you hold traditional Christian values or you use modern dating tools like online dating or going out to meet men.
With this type of thinking, the problem isn’t whether or not you should go out to a club or use online dating to meet a potential spouse. The problem is the way you’re defining the problem. Let me show you what I mean.
In some areas of your life as a woman of faith, things ARE black or white. Either you believe that Jesus is the son of God and you are a faithful follower of Christ or you don’t. You’ve probably also been taught that God hates lukewarm Christians. You have to be cold or hot, or He’ll reject you.
If you grew up in the kinds of churches I went to as a child, you’ve also heard statements like, “It’s holiness or hell!”
But these teachings are problematic because they can make you feel like God is mad at you when it comes to dating and relationships. You begin to feel like you have to rely upon your own righteousness to prove to God that you deserve a spouse.
So, you try to follow the rules you’ve been given, but these rules don’t always work for every situation you encounter, especially gray areas of life, like which college you should apply to or what you should wear to work tomorrow or whether you should use online dating, because there aren’t explicit commandments about what to do about those daily life situations.
So what’s the solution?
2) Live by identity, not by rules.
In other words, make choices about your life based on who you are in God, not by what someone else has decided you can and cannot do.
For example, I remember growing up in churches that taught us we were being worldly if we wanted to wear makeup, paint our fingernails, dress in the color red, wear pants in the sanctuary, color your hair or arch your eyebrows, among other things.
I’ve heard stories from my parents that they were taught that straightening your hair was wrong because the Bible said God would make every crooked place straight and that included ones’ hair. They were also taught that playing marbles was wrong because the Bible said, “Marvel not, you must be born again.” Going to the movies was out because they were told they couldn’t “sit in the seat of the scornful.”
Through the years, however, church leaders began to see that these rules were based on traditions of men instead of theologies that lined up with the Word of God, and they relaxed on many of the rules.
Rules don’t make you a believer. You are a Christian because of who you are in God. The Bible says you have His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and that you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). This means you have the power and the mindset to make the right choices in every situation.
It’s not about dos or dont’s. It’s about who you choose to be wherever you go. Whether you use online dating to meet singles, bump into someone at the grocery store or go to an upscale jazz lounge to meet someone, you know that you can carry yourself as a Christian who honors God with your decisions, words and your life.
3) Understand the Gray Scale
Dating is a gray area to Christian singles because there’s no direct instruction in the Bible about what to do, simply because marriages were arranged in biblical times.
If you were to use the gray scale, you could have a framework on how to make decisions about relationships that feel good to you and that honor God.
For example, the color white is the reflection of light. The color black is the absence of light. So gray areas can be understood as different levels of light being present or absent. As Christians, we understand that the light is God’s Word: “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
To let the light shine on the grey areas of life like dating, look for wisdom from God’s Word. For example, I love reading Proverbs because it’s full of wisdom for daily living that you can apply to all situations. Also, look for direction from the presence of God. That means you often have to ask the Holy Spirit for His wisdom and counsel on a specific matter in your life. He is faithful, and He will answer you!
For example, before I even started dating my cheating ex, I prayed. My ex asked me to go for a walk as a first date, and I told him I need to pray about it. I heard this Scripture cross my mind after I said “Amen.”
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3)
What I would come to realize later on is that God was giving me insight into this man’s heart through this scripture. He was speaking to my heart about more than going a 20-minute walk with a man. It was about walking through life with him. I understood that I needed to pay attention whether or not we would be headed in the same direction.
Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to this instruction because I thought I was being “too deep” by praying about a first date. As a result, I experienced relationship drama and unnecessary pain because I ignored God’s spiritual direction. And I found out later that there were serious issues that would prevent us from having a healthy relationship.
So let me bring this on home.
Resolving the conflicts about dating as a Christian single means you have to break out of the either/or way of thinking. You have to embrace walking in the freedom and confidence that you can use tools like online dating or go out to fun singles’ meetups WITHOUT it meaning you’re “worldly.”
You can walk in the freedom that Christ died for you to have, enjoy an abundant life and still enjoy life. Understand there are multiple approaches to the grey areas in life, and God wants to give you customized wisdom to fit YOUR life to navigate those areas. Break free from the rules and walk in the freedom that Christ died to give you, so that you can properly prepare and position yourself to meet your future spouse.
BMWK, married Christian couples provide our single readers with some encourage and insight into how you met your spouse?