ON MARRIAGE: THE ADVANTAGES OF DATING SOMEONE FROM YOUR CHURCH
Our singlehood is one of the most important periods of our lives. This stage has wonderful benefits if developed properly. For most of us, this is when we discover our self and our purpose in life. Singleness also gives us the necessary time to search within, we begin to know our self more, we become aware of our strengths and shortcomings, as well as our likes and dislikes with a view of becoming better individuals. Also, this chapter of our life is associated with giving our lives meaning and chasing our dreams. It is our moment of isolation, when we are passionately focused on ourselves. In fact, as Christians, our singlehood is a gift from God. For many, it is a stage when we reveal and utilize our God-given gifts.
This period of singleness is very beautiful. However, it is only a means to an end. It prepares us for the next stage. God’s will for us isn’t to remain single hence we seek companionship. As a Christian, going into a relationship is based purely on getting married and spending the rest of your life with your spouse. Knowing this, the process of selecting a lifetime partner becomes even more delicate for us.
As believers, we daily experience how incredible relationships between members of different churches can be. These relationships are responsible for building countless successful marriages and wonderful homes. Like many others, I also share this amazing testimony. I was a Pastor at Victory Christian Fellowship in Delaware, USA while my husband was a Pastor at Church of God Mission in Benin City, Nigeria. Our decision to get married is one that I always smile at.
Since we have freedom in Christ, it is also true that some Christians are not entirely open to the idea of dating someone in the same church they worship. This may be due to various reasons. For some, it is a way of avoiding the discomfort that may occur in the case of a breakup; others may see it as a form of distraction. That said, dating a member of your church is equally incredible. It definitely has its merits and it is some those benefits that I am going to explain.
In a conversation with Caitlin Nunez, a believer and also the founder of Kingdom Ambassadors on dating someone from the same church, she states that “there is a lot of benefits to it, in that you guys would be under the same leadership, you guys would be receiving the same doctrine, you are very aware of your partner’s immediate spiritual environment. So, there would be a lot of commonality there which I think will help to aid the relationship.” This leads to spiritual unity which is very important in building a successful Christian home.
As a relationship moves closer to marriage, for believers who don’t worship in the same church and are dedicated workers in their different churches, they are sometimes faced with the difficult choice of where to fellowship once they are married. If this situation is not handled with wisdom and patience, it could become unpleasant. On the other hand, for believers who fellowship in the same church, they need not worry about making such a decision.
One of the amazing qualities of a godly relationship is that it gives you peace and makes you feel secure. Dating someone from the same church also helps improve this. For example, to an extent, you can tell the level of seriousness and purpose of your could-be partner. By speaking to your pastors or leaders who are readily available to you about the situation, proper support that ensures you make the best decision can be gotten. Meanwhile, knowing the level of seriousness and purpose of your could-be partner may not be so easy to determine if they are a member of a different denomination or church.
Again, dating someone from the same church gives you the opportunity of knowing them and seeing them express their personality in some measure before making a decision to begin a relationship with them or not. This way, you could tell if their qualities are compatible with yours and if there is a possibility of spending the rest of your life with them. This helps to save precious time.
More so, there is a level of spiritual responsibility you get from dating someone from the same church. This further increases your spiritual growth. As believers, we understand that it is our standard to keep the bed undefied until marriage. So, by dating someone from the same church, where these spiritual teachings are constantly preached, the risk of crossing sexual boundaries, making sexual demands or having sexual pressures are seriously reduced.
Finally, it is important to mention that, for Christians, a successful relationship that leads to marriage cannot be based only on dating someone from the same church or otherwise. This is not a magic formula. There are several other reasons why a relationship may or may not lead to marriage. However, the most important thing about our relationship is to honour God with it and ensure we positively affect the lives of those we have chosen to spend this special moment with. Caitlin Nunez puts it quite beautifully “... but ultimately, I just think that in those moment we have to be Christ-like, we have to not make an idol out of a relationship working and leading to marriage so much so that it would drag us away from fellowshipping with believers and just being a true godly Christian towards someone who is still technically our brother or sister in the faith.”