Adventists + Dating // Why go there?
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