Finding a partner - your questions answered

Many single Christians would like to find a partner. Over 400 people told us their key questions about finding love as a believer. We offer some pointers. (This is also a available as a print flyer.)

How can I meet single Christians?

Many single Christians struggle to meet potential partners. This is partly because the percentage of churchgoers who are single is lower than in wider society. They’re also scattered across many churches, so tend not to encounter each other, and some single Christians don’t attend church regularly. There are fewer single men than women across the church.

So you can’t just wait for someone to come into your life – you need to be proactive about meeting people. Expand your social circle and go where other single Christians may be found. Show yourself to be sociable and open to meeting people.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Find or form local Christian groups, beyond your own church
  • Attend social events – find them linked from the SFC website, or create them yourself
  • Make a habit of accepting social invitations
  • Attend Christian festivals and talk to people
  • Engage in your interests and hobbies
  • Use dating websites and apps, such as Christian Connection (see our Online Dating guide)

Do they share my faith?

People have different ideas of what makes a ‘genuine’ Christian. Some want their future spouse to share their denomination or tradition, or pray in the same way as themselves. It’s easy to make casual judgements about another person’s church background or beliefs, but people come from different traditions and express their faith in a variety of ways. Different approaches to faith can even be a strength in a relationship.

Being open and non-judgemental about the people you might meet will create greater opportunities to get to know other Christians

You might want to explore together:

  • Willingness to follow Christ, whatever past or present church background
  • Manifesting the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22)
  • Shared values and how you live out your faith
  • Learning to understand each other’s traditions and church backgrounds

    Is it ‘OK’ for Christians to date?

The idea of ‘not dating’ comes from the USA, where dating widely was and still is common. Church leaders were encouraging people to think through their faith when seeking a partner. The idea was picked up by some leaders in the UK without recognising our different culture, where dating is relatively rare among Christians according to our surveys. However, dating is an important step in building a new relationship.

Dating a potential partner will help you:

  • Develop relationship skills
  • Learn what works for you and what doesn’t
  • Increase social contact with other singles (if not that person, maybe someone they know)
  • Discover what kind of person you want to be with (see Look beyond your type)
  • See the other person in a variety of settings, including with each other’s friends

Get dating and then be appreciative and grateful for every person and every date on your journey.

How do I find the One?

The idea of ‘The One’ comes from a pre-Christian Greek story. It describes how the gods made humans with four arms, four legs and two faces. But humans became too powerful so the gods cut them in half, leading people to spend their lives seeking their ‘other half’ or ‘soulmate’. (See the The Myth of 'The One'.)

This couldn’t be further from the Judaeo-Christian version of love. In this story, man needed woman because he couldn’t cope alone. Generally, the narrative around love in the Bible is about choice, commitment and development of character – just as in our relationship with God.

The person you choose to commit to, and with whom you develop love through the joys and trials of life, becomes The One. They don’t pre-exist for you.

How to deal with disappointment?

You may face disappointments on your dating journey – not being shown interest, not receiving a reply, experiencing ghosting (the other person going silent), not getting a second date, or the other person breaking it off after a period of dating.

It’s helpful to own and express your disappointment and hurt, but to then move on. Remind yourself that your identity and value is found in God and not what others think of you. He made you with your unique qualities, and you should be with someone who recognises and appreciates them. Trust God and look for the positives in the rest of your life. Then find ways to meet other single Christians, which will increase your likelihood of connecting with someone who is right for you.

Should I wait or get out there?

Singles are often encouraged to wait on the Lord for a partner. However, the word ‘wait’ has changed its meaning over time. In the Bible, it means to be eagerly attentive (for example Psalm 5:3, Isaiah 8:17, Romans 8:25) and responsive to what is happening without fretting (Psalm 37:7).

It is exactly the opposite of being passive! Waiting is being vigilant, alert and active in looking attentively to what is happening, and then responding. You don’t sit at home ‘waiting’; you are out and about, looking to see where God is at work – out on the boundaries where you can see (Psalm 130), at the doorposts of God’s dwellings (Proverbs 8:34), looking for opportunities.

Along with this eager attentiveness, you might consider making something happen by being proactive (The Book of Ruth is a good example). This may include developing the skill of chatting to everyone you meet, or inviting someone to join you for a coffee or to see a film. It might mean joining an online dating service – and online, there are no rules about who approaches who, so women and men can both initiate conversations. 

So pray, ‘wait’ eagerly and respond with hope. 

 

David Pullinger 30 September 2019