This will probably not be the first, nor will it be the last time that I write on this (because sadly we malign the topic daily) but there is a weird Christian dating culture. The Christian dating culture introduced us to concepts like “date only in group settings”; “Holy Spirit hugs (you know, don’t hug too tight; leave room for the Holy Spirit)”; “dating is worldly”; “courtship is king” and of course “Date to marry”.
I’m not going to bore you (or myself) by delving into all the bizarre practices but I am going to focus on what I consider to be the most problematic doctrine to hail from said culture – date to marry.
I’m pretty sure we’re all quite familiar with the practise. Believers are to have marriage at the forefront of their minds, be intentional and purposeful about the process. FYI, I’ve come to despise the words “intention” and purpose” purely because they’re used to garnish sermons on dating ( like sesame on chicken) but never really mean anything but I digress. Believers aren’t supposed to just date, it’s erroneous and supposedly takes away from the weight of marriage.
My retort to all this rigmarole is, “Did Jesus email you?”
The Bible is explicit on many things, dating isn’t one of them. We can credit that to the fact that people didn’t date during Biblical times. Adam and Eve had no time to date. Isaac never dated Rebecca. Jacob flexed for Rachel – he didn’t date her though. Hosea and Gomer most definitely didn’t date. I could throw in a few more examples but the point is, “dating” as a concept didn’t exist, meaning the rules that you’ve heard in your Christian circles specifically on dating do not apply. Yet, here we are pushing the “date to marry” so aggressively.
You have to date to marry or be damned is erroneous and strange. You have Christian singles so focused on marriage and marriageable checklists that they don’t even recognise the red flags. As long as party b satisfies the checklist on the first date then its fine. No it’s not fine. In extreme cases it reeks of desperation.
Date to marry also puts unnecessary pressure on all the parties involved. The guy isn’t himself for fear of coming across unintentional or being labelled a douche. The lady treats the date like a performance – one slipup could result in her losing the opportunity to strut down the aisle in all white. Having incredibly high expectations for marriage from the onset is overly ambitious. Two strangers, confined to two chairs in a coffee shop, for less than two hours (if the date doesn’t go well or 4 hours if it does) thinking about marriage….
Dating to marry leaves little room for flexibility. People can be complex and because of that our timeframes often clash. If party A “dated to marry” but it actually ended up in disaster, did she date to marry at all? Formulas do not work where people are involved, whether you’re Christian or not.
Marriage is a great desire and something to desire together as time goes on. Dating is something to be enjoyed now.
Dating (the kind that temporarily abandons marriage) should be enjoyed freely. It’s all about gauging interest, living in the present, being wined and dined and doing the wining and dining. It’s about building a solid friendship, which truly is the bedrock of marriage, after God.
I get that we’re scared and I get that we want to do things to glorify and honour God but dating dating (I had to repeat it for emphasis) can be just as honourable. You can still take someone very seriously by getting to know them without necessarily thinking about marriage yet. If that dating relationship develops into marriage great, if it doesn’t that’s great too and you would have learnt something about yourself. As cliché as the latter part of that sentence sounds, dating is an opportunity to learn about yourself. Dating to marry (often) accelerates everything. You’re not given the same time to truly asses your character and/or character defects.
I just think we should take the edge off dating a little. The intense nature of Christian dating is not getting you any closer to marriage anyway. If it were, you would not be reading this post.
So can we start dating like normal people? Normal people who treat coffee like coffee, brunch like brunch and not wedding rehearsals?
And because the “church dating culture” can be so awkward, I’ve created a brand, Blagapé (pronounced Bla – ga – pay) to combat this.
We’re launching on the 26th May 2019. It’s going to be pretty spectacular.
The event will take place in a private bar, guests will be serenaded with music and the host will be there to ensure maximum comfort levels.
No weird Christianese. No strange chat-up lines. Just like-minded people getting to know more about each other in the most relaxed, non-pressured way possible.
Get your tickets before they go https://reevotickets.com/search/?keywords=blagape
Follow us on Twitter @BlagapeUK
Follow us on Instagram @BlagapeUK
P.S Happy New Year
Love Cris x