Should I date somebody in my church?
Your church should, in theory, be the ideal place to meet your future spouse. And for those who meet and marry within their congregation, this does turn out to be the case. But for many others, the question is less straightforward. Dating, or falling for someone, within a close-knit or even wider community, can bring complications.
So how do you decide when to focus your search locally and when to explore further afield via online dating?
Let’s take a look at three questions to ask yourself first.
Is there anybody suitable?
This is likely to be the biggest factor in deciding whether to date somebody in your church. Congregations and opportunities vary massively. Not every church is teeming with singles of a suitable age – whatever that age may be. That doesn’t mean you should move to a different church where there’s more potential. Quite the opposite in fact. Church hopping to hunt for a mate is definitely not a good idea.
If you’re not currently meeting anyone suitable, then try and attend wider Christian events, as well as your own usual church gatherings and groups. You can also try internet dating to widen your scope of available Christians – near and far.
However, if there is somebody suitable, then it may well exactly the right thing to date somebody in your church…
Is the person you want to date, interested and available?
Much time and many tears are wasted on desired relationships that never materialise. If you’re asking the question about whether to date someone in your church with a specific person in mind, you’ll need to ascertain where they’re at.
Available doesn’t just mean single. Not everyone is in the right place to date, nor does everyone want to. But usually, the biggest question to overcome, is are they interested in you specifically?
Dating anyone is a risk for the heart – and sometimes pride. Life is full of risks though, so guard your heart carefully. If there’s mutual (rather than one way) interest there, the risk lessens slightly.
How will it impact your involvement at church, if things don’t work out?
We’re all different. Some of us can brush off rejection or disappointment relatively easily and move on. Others find it crushing. While building up emotional resilience is always important whatever happens, it’s good to know your own limits. If you do start dating someone in your church, consider how you’ll cope if it doesn’t work out, and you then have to watch them dating – and marrying – someone else within the same social circles?
It’s for this same reason many people don’t like to date someone from work (although many people meet a spouse at work, just like many churchgoers meet their wife or husband at church).
Ultimately it’s an entirely individual choice. But it should be based on both your circumstances and personality. If you cross paths with someone at church who has a good reputation, is eligible and you fall for one another, wonderful. It’s well worth dating that person and seeing where it goes – there’s every chance, it’ll be down the aisle. And you have the added benefit of existing shared friends and pastoral groups.
But fortunately, in the internet era, it’s not the be all and end all for Christian matches any more. So if the thought of having to try and proactively search for a mate every Sunday fills you with dread, or you’ve tried and it isn’t working out, or if it just doesn’t feel like the right move for you, know you have other options.