Adventists + Dating // An Open Letter
Dear Brother Who is Eyeing the SDA Girl*,
I know it’s taken a lot of nerve and will-power to get to this point – the point at which you feel you can finally, after weeks of shy smiles, admiring glances, and small talk revolving around similar tastes in films and music, get up the nerve to ask SDA Girl out. She’s just the one you’ve been waiting to meet. She’s strong, intelligent, outgoing, compassionate, and fun (and, not to mention, lovely in every way). She’s the one that will complete the puzzle that is your life. That’s all you need to know, right?
Slow down a minute, Brother Who is Eyeing the SDA Girl, and pause before the dazzling stars blind you as you step out into oncoming traffic. Have you really thought this through? Thought what through, you ask. Well, those three upper-case letters in front of her name. “S.” “D.” “A.” Oh, you know what they stand for, do you? Ok, then, what do they mean? Ah, I see the panic beginning to rise in your eyes as you realize she’s not just another “Baptist who goes to church on Saturday”. Don’t despair – we’re going to figure this out in a quick minute. Are you ready?
Here goes. The most important thing you need to know about SDA Girl is that she’s probably in a relationship with someone else. I feel you jump back a bit – here’s more. If she’s not in a relationship with someone, she better get into one quick. Trust me – you want her to be in that relationship! You know why? The deeper into that relationship she is, the more genuine and real and, well, better she’s going to be. Here it is – SDA Girl is most likely in some sort of relationship with her Savior, Jesus Christ. The relationship spans the spectrum and may range from “mere acquaintance” to “closest companion”. And, as with any intimate relationship, certain characteristics begin to emerge in the individuals involved. You may have already noticed this in SDA Girl – perhaps that’s what attracted you to her. Her love for Jesus has impacted aspects of her life that she might not even be aware of. And that’s where you have to be careful and be aware.
Brother Who is Eyeing the SDA Girl, listen up. You may want to know the ins and outs of dating SDA Girl because those three letters in front of her name are so different to what you’re accustomed to. But, here’s the bottom line – you’re not starting a relationship with a rule book. You’re contemplating the beginning of a relationship with a human being. One who may be patterning her life after her First Love. This is not a warning so that you’ll back off His turf. It’s a little bit of a “Proceed With Caution” sign because all those “quirky” things that she does come from somewhere other than a list of rules and regulations.
Don’t let the spark die in your eyes. This is a great thing! For one, her lifestyle is shaped by her primary relationship. Rather than being governed by a list of “don’t”s and “thou shalt not”s, she’s taken her life to the next level and is striving to pattern it after her Savior’s. Why? She knows that to love Him is to keep His commandments. She’s discovered this is the way to a life more abundant. She’s also long figured out that an abundant life in Christ will outlast the dramas that this earth has to offer. To that end, she respects her body, and thus watches what she puts into it and how she displays it. She tries to guard her mind and only fill it with positive thoughts and media. She’s always on the lookout for how to lighten someone else’s load and spread joy in another person’s day. She’s mindful of how she treats others and respects her neighbors as people who were specially created. She’s there for her friends and family and is often the most dependable person in her group of peers. Most importantly, she makes an effort to put aside time for her First Love and delights in spending time with Him and others who are also in a relationship with Him.
Now, Brother Who is Eyeing the SDA Girl, lest you think that the damsel over by the potluck line is Mother Teresa, let it be known (again) that SDA Girl is a human being, just like yourself. She has struggles, doubts, and questions. She has bad days in which she feels as if the world is crashing in on her. She may snap, say unkind words, or cut someone off in traffic. Sometimes, she even wonders if the Love of her life has broken up with her or abandoned her. The difference between her and some other folks is that, ultimately, she clings to the hope that Christ is, in fact, a permanent fixture in her life. She has friends and family that are there to support her and who will drop everything to pray for her. She knows that her greatest strength is in the arms of others who will be there to help bear the storm clouds that roll her way.
So, if she’s so well adjusted, what could SDA Girl possibly need from you, Brother? What she needs is someone who is also willing to get into a genuine relationship with the Savior. She’s looking for a partner with whom she can marvel at creation, shout for joy, sob real tears, and exchange words of encouragement. She doesn’t need an accessory to impress her friends or someone to buy her fancy meals. She’s looking for a lasting relationship that will mirror the one she already has. Are you ready to fulfill such a tall order? I hope so.
* When appropriate, the reference can be modified to Sister Who is Eyeing the SDA Boy