John Knox Statue

Is Christian teaching stopping you from finding love?

‘I just don’t get it, HopefulGirl,’ said a friend over coffee after church one Sunday. ‘My non-Christian friends are all happily falling in love, getting married and having kids. Meanwhile, many of my Christian friends seem stuck in perpetual singledom. What’s going on?’

It set me thinking. I know so many lovely, eligible Christian men and women who rarely go on a date, let alone have an actual relationship, despite meeting plenty of potential partners. It suggests there may be things peculiar to Christians that inhibit our dating and mating.

There are certain beliefs we absorb from church teaching that have a nice, spiritual ring to them, but actually contain little Biblical truth. And they can hold us back from finding the love we desire.

Here’s one thought: in church, we’re taught that God has a perfect plan for our lives, and we shouldn’t settle for anything less. So far, so good. But I fear that we sometimes confuse God’s idea of ‘perfect’ for our own, and end up believing we should never compromise. Instead, we keep holding out for that dream partner.

‘Christian women have their heads in the clouds – they expect perfection,’ one man told me. ‘I can’t live up to their expectations, so I don’t try anymore.’

‘I’ve found Christian men more fussy than men in the world,’ reported a woman in a Christian chatroom. ‘I get asked out all the time by non-believers, but Christian men only want someone very young, very slim and very beautiful.’

Oh dear. The truth is, we may be very happy with someone who is flawed, or attractive in less obvious ways. But we’ll miss them if we’re holding out for our fantasy partner, who probably doesn’t even exist – and if they do, probably wouldn’t look twice at us! 🙂

There’s also this idea that God will guide the partner He’s chosen for us (perfect in every way, naturally) straight to our doors, without us doing anything to make it happen. In fact, actively looking for love is sometimes seen as demonstrating a lack of faith.

Now, there are certainly times in life when we need to get out of the way and let God do His thing. But the suggestion that in all things we should ‘Let go and let God’ is often an excuse to be lazy. It means we can avoid taking the initiative or putting ourselves in challenging situations. Not something I see too many examples of in the Bible!

It’s much easier to sit at home, believing God is biding His time before delivering Mr/Ms Right into our laps (perhaps he’ll drop them down the chimney like some divine Santa Claus?). And yes, we’ve all heard stories of people meeting their future spouses in miraculous ways. But for most of us, it doesn’t work like that – and the Bible promises no such thing.

If we need a new job, we pray about it, but we also apply for suitable posts. If the car breaks down, we don’t just sit by the road trusting that help will show up – we call a breakdown service.

Likewise, if we believe we’re meant to be married, I’d suggest we prayerfully put ourselves in situations where we meet new people, develop friendships and go on dates. Otherwise, we may realise too late that God expected us to take positive action and partner with Him in finding our future beloved.

And let’s all consider whether we need that reality check. After all, we don’t want to miss the person who is perfect *for us* when he or she finally shows up.

What Christian beliefs and teaching do you think make it harder to find and develop a relationship?

Next month from HopefulGirl – Part 2: How church life can interfere with your dating and relationships, and what you can do about it.

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