Messages from Young Adults

Adventists + Dating // Why go there?

high school…check

undergrad…check

post-grad…check

marriage…uncheck

kids…double uncheck

As she scans the masses, it doesn’t take long before Church Girl notices for every one of him there’s three of her.  If only she had come to this point sooner rather than later… While she’s finally wrapped up the pursuit of  her academic career and is asking “what’s next?”, the elders, including mommy and daddy, start asking – when are we gonna get those grandkids?  There’s just one problem – she must hunt for a male counterpart first.  This is a phase of life she perhaps isn’t too fond of.

From the looks of things, what’s an SDA girl to do when she’s committed to seeking the benefits of religious homogamy in line with the principles of 2 Corinthians 6:14 when the logic of the numbers is glaringly disappointing?  Online dating, singles ministry, and all these other kosher-fied ‘hitch’ initiatives can be less than appealing to the non-aggressive type.  Maybe she doesn’t want it to be forced.  We got rid of arranged-marriages for a reason, so why resort to letting cross-checks between computer databases take Cupid’s reigns?  Desperation kind of settles in when scanning the pews Sabbath morning to see if there’s a new one on the shelf.

You can see how quickly the numbers turn women into crazy-for-love maniacs who fill the ranks of the unashamedly desperate.  Just as she steps off the stage with the post-grad diploma in hand, Church Girl begins to wonder whether she’ll join the 40-something club still an “eligible”.

So what’s the motivation for limiting yourself to the demographics of church membership?  When the difference between Christians and non-Christians getting a divorce these days is a mere 1%, there’s essentially no difference. 32% of us (Christians) and 33% of them (non-Christians) will eventually split up, meaning there really is no longer an us and them. Statistically, either you join the 4 in 5 who get married or the 1 in 5 who never get married.  In fact, 84% of Christians hook up as compared to people of non-Christian faiths (74%) and agnostics and atheists (65%).  So, it’s more likely than not that Church Girl will tie the knot with somebody and since there aren’t enough of him, Church Boy, sitting beside her Sabbath morning – she’s got to start searching beyond the church steps.  There are plenty good, fine, responsible, young, attractive guys out there. Maybe we can just start searching in the non-denominational crowds where men apparently are more likely involved in church. With the odds already as tough as they are in the broad spectrum of Christianity’s religious groups, the thought of further restrictions to the island nation of Adventist, Seventh-day even, brings on claustrophobia.

So church boys, don’t talk to me about the challenge of finding a mate in the church – you’ve got options.  Think you’ve got a good view on the Church Girl vantage point?  Maybe you can grasp the sentiment: it’s that feeling you get when you’re the last in line at potluck with only one corner piece of lasagna left and 2 visitors appear out of nowhere famished – you resonate?  It’s much harder for chica to swallow the command, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” A generalization, yes – we feel your pain, good guy stuck without a car in a rural city in that one peculiar church where men dominate, defying the numbers of congregational gender makeup.  But let’s get back to the more common reality…

So you’re a single young adult female who has done it all right. You’ve stayed close to your home church, finished school without babies, and found a job in the profession of your dreams.  You cook, you clean (even the baseboards), and you’ve maintained a near-perfect figure with above-average ratings on the attractability chart. Guess what? S O R R Y, you really aren’t one of kind.  The stats say, ‘take a number and get in line behind the other 8 million eligible bacholorettes.’

You wonder why we go there?  That’s why.  Put the male/female ratio alongside the divorce rate and the numbers tell you – this whole “compatible dating” thing really is next to impossible.  To be a single SDA girl committed to finding a mate in the church is to be irrationally dependent on the will of God and wrapped daily in the comfort of your faith.

Alright, so forget the stats, Church Girl.  They’re no good for your faith.  Maybe you have to roll your eyes a time or two when Mr. Church Boy complains that there’s no good women in the church today, and maybe you have to learn to knit, crochet, and balance a basket of water on your head while dicing onions.  You might even have to accept that God has plans for you in the ‘1 of 5’ group along with the other 22% who never experience marriage.

How do you deal with this on your down day?  You might try skipping a couple chapters back to numbers that really matter, 2 Corinthians 4 verse 18 is good when you don’t understand why, what, or when God will get to your princess fairy-tale dreams.  He knows you’ve had the wedding planned since you opened your first Barbie and Ken dolls. He knows you’ve got something to offer this world. Better yet, He knows just when and how He wants you to use it.  Take comfort in the verse you’ve heard at many a Sabbath, mid-week service, and camp meeting – “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Or take it from The Message:

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. “
– 2 Corinthians 4:18

When we find true joy in the one relationship where we really are His everything, who cares about the statistics?  If  He isn’t enough, Church Girl, who is? Why dare go where He told us not to?  Delete 2 Corinthians  6:14 in exchange for certain heartbreak? I think not.  Just keep your eyes open for that equal yoke, and take it easy on Mr. Church Boy – he might just be the one.

Stats taken from The Barna Group


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Comments

  • Kemi said:

    hmmmmmmmm

    i don’t know about this one

    So i have a relationship with Christ and that should be enough
    hmmmmm
    so how about in Genesis where he created woman specifically for man to have a helpmate

    how can i be complete without the other half that was ordained from the garden of Eden

    hmmmmm

  • Kat said:

    This article does hit very good points but I believe it has one flaw: it assumes that every girl is obsessed with marriage or so. I really dislikes the fact that says: “He knows you’ve had the wedding planned since you opened your first Barbie and Ken dolls.” Excuse me for my lack of maturity, but let me say this :EWW!! I COMPLETELY believe in marriage, I would never be with a guy if that event is not down the road, but that does not mean I desperately need to get married and be with someone. There are women out there with all the characteristics the article mentioned, that are 35 and not dying because they are not married. I am just saying that this article portrays women a little desperate. And I refuse to believe that. Plus it also mentions in the things women have that make them ready to be married “cooking and cleaning”. SERIOUSLY? Is this 1930’s? These days BOTH have to clean and BOTH have to cook. Especially if the women has that post grad degree the article mentioned. And just in case – I am happily married and never felt desperate not to be when I was single.

  • Janice A. Becca (Author) said:

    Praise God, Kat – you’re a living testimony of exactly what this article suggests we ought to be. You were able (by the grace of God) to keep the right focus & find a happy marriage. Perhaps you can shed some authentic light on how you were able to remain faithful, and maybe some struggles you faced as a single SDA female when dating.

    Why Go There? was meant to address the following 2 questions from an SDA girl’s perspective (not every girl):

    1) Why is it so seemingly hard to find a good match in the church?

    2) What drives people (particularly females) to look outside the church?

    The post attempts to illustrate one extreme compilation of thoughts & obstacles females may face during this hunt. Of course, not every girl envisions her wedding day, but many have at least thought about it. And again, the post does not endorse a list of requirements, but merely highlights one extreme (maybe even archaic) perspective that some guys just might prefer a girl who knows how to manage those things more domestic.

    Regardless, I’m sure you can agree that women and men often may come across desperate for someone or something other than God. This may lead them to do and believe some irrational things, all to make themselves more marketable in the dating circles. The post suggests longing for God to be your number 1 focus, and then the search for a mate should come w/in perspective.

    Lastly, the post does not suggest marriage is bad. Paul suggests in 1 Cor. 7 that some have the gift of marriage, while others may have the gift of being unhitched. Being single isn’t a curse. Either way you look at it, both the married and the single individuals must seek an intimate relationship first with God & ask for His wisdom (James 1:5) in all things. So yeah, we can and only find completeness in God. Phil 4:19 says it best, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

  • Rhonda said:

    I agree with Kemi. I’m not sure I can embrace this idea of Jesus being enough, ONLY because if we surrender our life fully and completely to God then He will gradually take over our desires and needs, and if in this state of surrender we have these desires for marriage and compianionship who’s to say they are not from him?

    Once committed to Him, doesn’t God place within us inclinations? Like the desire to bring others to Christ, isn’t that an inclination from him? The desire for food based on hunger, isn’t that’s God’s device for ensuring the health of our physical bodies. Therefore doesn’t it follow that the desire from companionship could be from Him? And while I agree with Kat that there is something unattractive about a desperation for marriage, at the same time let us not label negatively a woman’s desire for companionship.

  • Janice A. Becca (Author) said:

    i’m wondering…do women of faith desiring marriage ever die single? what keeps them going when they don’t make it to the alter? Jesus has to be enough.

    if we look at the math, there’s not enough for everyone. of course, that doesn’t mean we place limits on God – but we have to accept the possibility that God may want you single.

    a woman’s desire for marriage is a natural, God-made, and a beautiful thing. if He isn’t enough for you with or without the guy, however, the desire for marriage & companionship (once a Godly thing) may consume you. the desire may even outgrow our desperation/dependence on God. the desire may even lead you to compromise your relationship w/ Him when it comes to being equally yoked (the context of this post & our series).

  • Neema Okal said:

    wow, amazing piece of work…You go Miss Church girl….he might just be the one…

  • karen harris said:

    Interesting debate…
    Wanted to mention, that one can be unequally yoked with someone in the church.
    Maybe our young men in the church are being compared to the more glib, hard polished men on the outside. Not educated enough, smart enough, aggressive enough, dressed well enough etc etc. Yes I know that the pickings are slim but how approachable/friendly is the average ‘successful’ church girl.
    And the church boys.. how available do you make yourselves? After church, do you disappear until the following week? No phone calls, texting or invitations to starbucks?
    But all that speculation aside, it is quite possible that church boys may not want church girls & vice versa. In order to understand the true value of a true christian mate, one has to have a healthy relationship with God.

  • Benjamin said:

    Sorry to be a dissenting voice in what appears to be a discussion amongst women. I’ve found that there are precious few women who have a relationship with God that’s worth dying for. True, the opposite is true as well—but, I have yet to see God forsake one who holds Him above all else, whether that be by providing a life-mate or by giving him/her a lifework to complete as single. Doesn’t God know best anyways? Where’s the dependence on Him and His Word?

    On a different note, I understand, “Church Girl,” that you’re venting—in a way–the thoughts, feelings, and challenges that face many young women. I’m sure you’re not alone. This life is full of emotions. I know we’re both glad that there’s only One who has faced what we face that we might obtain strength as He did. (Heb. 4:14-16)

    -Blessings!

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