If you are in the business of vetting what a God-centric romantic relationship is (i.e. whatever socially correct Christian dating term you’d like to call it) and you want to really discern where someone’s priorities are, invite them to church with you. (If you want the less all or nothing method, you should do a bible study together)
This method is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. But if you own your faith and really wear it obviously, that will save you from a lot of miserable moments if that is the thing you most cherish in the world.
Several things could happen:
- The person you think is cute says yes and you can observe how they worship and relate to God. There is no better way to figure out where someone’s heart is then watch or listen to how they communicate with God. Seriously.
- They could say no, in which case, oh well. I don’t think God believes in ultimatums he doesn’t fulfill and I certainly think they can be dangerous for humans who can’t fulfill much of anything, but you can pray on that with him.
- They could say nothing and be awkward for a while and never give you a full response. Lukewarm isn’t the route you really want to take, regardless. You can wait and see what happens if you ask other questions, but if you really love God, you probably want to share that with your partner, and hypocrisy kills that.
It’s a pretty hit or miss thing, I know. But so is love, and life, and happiness. No one ever said Love was easy, but it generally helps to know where you stand.
It’s just my opinion, but I think people who try to stick to people who are too similar to them miss out on the whole point of falling in love, which is risk (for better or for worse). You don’t have perfect odds, and given statistics of couple’s today, your chances are probably progressively worse. But that is also not true, because statistics are for a group of people, and we’re talking you, and God has a very specific plan for you that you may or may not be aware of yet.
In my opinion, the most attractive things in the world have to do being consistent, kind, and self-less. That definition doesn’t change, even when we all fall short. However, to really value any one characteristic in a person or in yourself, you have to know why you appreciate it. I don’t think it’s necessarily always helpful to date around (because often, I have seen that correlate with Love becoming less meaningful), but I do think it is good to know yourself well enough to understand what bothers you and what is attractive, and then work your way down into more specific stuff. I don’t date because I’m introspective and all over the place enough to know pretty well where I’m at in most moments, and to know if I’m wrong (I usually don’t admit to it until it’s led to a disaster, but baby steps, lol). I may not always know why I’m wrong, but in my experience, I nearly always know if I am wrong. Seriously. Trusting that God knows best and doesn’t care if I’m wrong so long as I’m listening, now that is the 50 billion dollar challenge.
That doesn’t change when you apply it to Love, it gets harder. Not only are you totally wrong, but there is a person that will say it to your face, and whose feelings are very tied up in how you choose to demonstrate how terribly wrong you are. Or worse, the person you love will not say it to your face, and you’ll keep on being just as stupid. God help us all.
But, from what I can guess, there are many benefits of having pretty consistent guidelines for how you treat people so long as they come from a true reverence of God and the ever struggle-is-real attempt to become more humble. And apart from that, no one knows what they’re talking about, really. Most of the self-help romance muck manuals I’ve ever read are not something I’d read again, not because I have chosen to cast my opinion in words that seem judgmental and alliterate, but because self-help books are written to fix, and not to give. The danger of giving advice printed with your bio photo and name in 300 pages is that your advice is assumed to be the same for every relationship, every person, and every behavior that humans have. Unfortunately, not everything can be so keenly small. There are warning signs Christians have to pay attention, but apart from that, it’s life-preserver rental business.
Overall, that is designed to be in everyone’s best interests, but not if we use the life-preserver as a centerpiece on an inflatable kitchen table than as the thing that is made to ensure that we are still safe and relatively sound. If we put one chain of thought on Christian dating on top of that table and stare at it as we drown, not only have we just made our table a pedestal, we’ve drowned.
I don’t really believe in proper procedure for most things, but when it comes to human emotions and kindness, I think it matters. I think it matters to be very clear where you stand, and very clear with the people that may take a romantic interest in you where your boundaries are, BUT KINDLY. You don’t often have to say anything, if you do it carefully, you won’t have to. But the younger you are and/or the more insecure your peers are, the more damage you can inflict by being insensitive and unkind. There are some things that are worth it to be direct, and Love and matters of the heart definitely qualify, especially if someone asks.