Post written by Danica Hughes, Young Adult & Singles Director at Church of the Rock
I’ve been on a lot of dates with a lot of men. If I had to put a number to it, I’ve been asked out roughly 60 times in the last 7 years by about 40 men. That’s a disgusting amount of coffee dates for a lady who doesn’t drink coffee. Most, approximately 95%, were solid, Christian men building deeper relationships with God. I don’t say this to brag, but to prove a point: even with those impressive statistics, not one of those dates bloomed into a relationship. Why? Because dating isn’t so simplistic.
It wasn’t until I began to go on dates that I discovered Christian dating wasn’t as rosy and innocent that it appeared from the outside. Values and morals were confused, purity was optional, strangely intense pressures to marry came from every direction, and struggles with substance and sexual addictions all suddenly became issues that I had never considered would be points of conflict.
I went to a Christian school, and the extent of our sex-ed was: “don’t have sex”. As long as two people had a relationship with God and were virgins, there was no reasons why they couldn’t get married. If my Christian influences weren’t willing to get real about relationships, where was I going to learn it?
I remember we had a question box during our sex-ed class way back in high school. But early in the year, our teachers removed the box because we asked too many questions on sex and they weren’t comfortable answering them. I think that’s pretty standard of how Christians deal with these questions & issues: we pretend they don’t exist.
I didn’t learn healthy boundaries, things to look for in a potential spouse, what masturbation was, or how widespread pornography addiction is, just to name a few. By the time I started dating at 18 years old, I had no idea what I was in for. It’s only by God’s grace that I didn’t start relationships then and make mistakes I could never take back.
I point to the lack of information and mentoring on Christian dating as a main source of the relationship disasters that are rampant today (the unspoken, taboo issues too). The amount of conflicting or straight-up bad advice is overwhelming in Christian circles, yes, even by beloved pastors and godly married couples.
Little Timmy can hardly believe it either!! But I’m sure we all have had some bad advice we’ve received in the past – give me some of your “best” ones in the comments!
It’s hard to lay all the blame on one group though. Dating itself is a relatively new social construct: it’s only been around 100 years, but even since then, the dating scene has shifted dramatically. Online dating sites, apps, and a widespread hookup culture are just a few reasons the playing field has changed so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up. But the reality of the matter is that Christian dating calls us to a much higher standard than a Tinder hookup, for example, and with peer pressures and socially acceptable promiscuity, by the time we start to figure out what Christian dating should look like, we’ve already made serious blunders with serious consequences.
The solution many Christians have resorted to is marrying quickly (I’m talking a couple months) so as not to stumble into sexual sin. While this may help the couple uphold their sexual purity, I would argue that they don’t even know each other yet, driven to the marriage altar by infatuation and lust with the intent of figuring everything else out later. What a dangerous way to start a marriage.
I want to offer you a different solution: biblical and applicable information to help you have the best relationships you’ve ever had and to date in a way that honours God. My intent is to equip you with practical tools for your relationships and wrestle with challenging topics to achieve a higher standard in your dating life. By applying biblical wisdom, we will achieve greater relationships with others, and ultimately, a greater relationship with Christ.
In other words, let’s have a date with God. Dating, marriage, and relationships are the most important areas of our life; it only makes sense to consult and prepare with God to do them well. So I think He would have an important question for you:
“Would you like to grab a coffee?’
Looking to tackle the unique problems singles deal with, Danica outlines the struggles and confusion she has observed in her ministries and lived as a single. Her hope is to equip singles with biblical tools to have better relationships with others and Christ, as well as to live a more exciting and fulfilling life as a single.