A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a relationship event being held at a local church, a town over from where I live. A “Christian matchmaker” would be on-hand to speak to a group of men and women about how they could become more approachable and what they could do to approach the opposite sex with more ease and comfort. In all my years of writing books and articles about relationships and touring North America to speak to audiences about relationships, I have never heard of a “Christian matchmaker,” so I was instantly intrigued and made sure to attend.
Upon arrival, I sat down and really took in what he was saying, and I realized that his advice was not far different from what other matchmakers claim. The only noticeable difference was the fact that he used Bible scripture to reinforce his ideologies. In fact, the thing that was most unique about the event was the audience – a crowd full of grown, single, Seventh-Day Adventists, who were in the mood to talk frankly about dating, especially dating in the church. Please understand that these people were not preteens, teenagers, or even very young adults – we are talking about people age 30 and older.
Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I want to put it out there that I am an agnostic theist. I don’t think it’s vastly important, nor will it affect my ability to talk about the church in a fair and balanced manner. But let’s be honest, no one wants to see their faith being trashed, which makes us extra-sensitive about who’s seemingly challenging it. What I ultimately want to convey is that this piece is less about my individual opinion, and more about me reporting the actual feelings of the Christians I spoke with that night and throughout that week. After interviewing many devout Christians, and really listening to what they had to say, the results have been very clear, yet confusing at the same time: The church is the BEST and the WORST place to date.
One woman perfectly summed up what many people there told me in one sentence: “Everyone in the church wants to see you get married – but they don’t necessarily want to see you date.”
So let’s address the pros of dating in the church, and why these folks found it to be the best place to meet someone:
- You know that the person you’re dating shares your religious outlook or, at least, a very similar one
- The church is a much better alternative to lounges and clubs. (I would guess that’s a sentiment shared by most grown folks regardless of faith.)
- It’s easier to find someone with similar family values in your church, than randomly out in society.
- The church typically encourages and supports couples who want to eventually be married