3 Issues around Romantic Relationships in the Church

Closeup of sad young woman in living room with man after an argument
Photo Cred: African Sweetheart 

I’ve recently become aware of certain behaviour amongst the youth in my faith as a Christian. You know, when I decided to become serious again about my faith and about being an active member of my Church, I believed that the people I would interact with would all be seeking the same things that I was. What a wrong mentality that was. The truth is that the Church is a clinic. A hospital. We’re all congregating with different ailments, needs and wants and there is no way we will all require the same treatment or medication. Thus, I have come to quickly recognize a difference in thinking in terms of different issues including that of dating or romantic relationships amongst people at Church.

I have been fellowshipping at my Church for about 6-and-a-half years now and in that time, I have not entered a romantic relationship with any guy there. Yes I have naturally crushed some gents there but for various reasons, nothing has materialized into a full-blown relationship. That truly frustrated me for a good 4-and-a-half to 5 years! I’d watch those close to (and not-so-close) to me start dating, get engaged, have bridal showers, get married, and now we’re on baby showers. And it just felt like God had put some sort of cover over me so that no guy even SAW me. Over time though, and in the last year or so I’ve actually grown grateful for my situation. I’ve realized that God was protecting me – from entering hurtful relationships and most importantly, protecting me from myself. I had NO clue on how to recognize the right partner and listen to His counsel on it. And I was certainly not ready to love one of His Princes the way He requires me to. It has also given me time to observe and pick up on the things that we young people do right as well as do wrong in picking our life partners – myself included.

There are several patterns that I’ve picked up on in how we young people go about dating in the Church:

  1. Easy Come, Easy Go – I’ve watched people quickly fall for one another and in the space of a month or a couple of weeks of acknowledging these feelings, they are dating and in a full-blown relationship. They talk all the time; spend each opportunity together; and just move from point A to Z in record time! It’s natural to feel such great euphoria when you first meet someone and are getting to know them. They’re a sort of mystery and you tend to pick up on all their great qualities and breeze over the more unflattering ones. I think though, in rushing into love we miss out on actually getting to know the person without our rose-coloured glasses on. We don’t take the time to observe their character and how they respond when someone makes them angry; or when bad things happen to them; or when they fail at a task; or how they treat those closest to them (because that is a sign of how they will treat us). Then, as time passes and we start to see their true colours, we’re quick to say that they’ve changed when the truth is that we never actually knew them (James Michael Sama). I believe that we need to be careful about how quickly and blindly we enter into relationships because that which comes easy tends to go just as easily.
  1. God Spoke to Me – We’re all encouraged to have a personal and close walk with God. We’re told that God still speaks to us today as a collective and individually. We just need to take the time to get to know Him and listen. This is beautiful and it’s the absolute truth. We ought to always seek to hear from God so that we do what He purposes for our lives. However, I have issues when we misuse this blessing (whether knowingly or unknowingly) for our own personal gain. Most recently, I’ve heard this statement being used in getting romantic relationships going in the Church. More especially from the gents. A gentleman will approach a lady and tell her that he’s been praying to God either for a life partner or about that specific lady and he believes God is directing them into a relationship. What is a higher authority on relationships to a Christian than God Himself? And so, the lady willingly and happily obliges. Not many months down the line, things have gone sour.

This makes one wonder whether God really spoke or what He said. It’s a dangerous thing to use the name of God when you’re not even sure that it was Him speaking. I must say though, that it’s not just the gentlemen’s fault.  We are commanded in the Bible to test everything and all spirits to ensure that they are from God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). We can never take as gospel that which someone comes and tells us God told them. And so even if a gentleman approaches you and tells you God has spoken to him about you, it is your duty as a lady to take the time to return to this same God to hear whether it is in fact true. I think we just get so caught up in the beauty of it and our strong desire for love and relationships that we quickly hold on to what appears good and right. It seems like such a godly approach after all. But we need to learn to be cautious and speak to God about what someone else claims to have spoken to Him about.

  1. All Out of Fight – A great mentor of mine remarked how our generation no longer fights for things especially relationships. It’s as though we’ve come to believe that if something comes to us and happens without much of a struggle, then it’s meant to be. It should be natural and effortless. That is the lie of the devil. If we look at all the great Bible characters and their stories, their journeys were far from easy! They had to at some point put up a fight – either with others, themselves or the devil himself. Some had to exercise patience for years (Abraham). Others had to run and fight for their life until they became what God had promised them they would be (David). Still others had to work 14 years to marry the love of their life after being deceived (Jacob). The list is endless.

One of my favourite quotes says, “The couples that are ‘meant to be’ are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger than they were before.”  ­That is a powerful statement! Truly, anything worthwhile does not come easy. It is through the difficulties and fighting to be with the other person that your bond is strengthened. I think the issue is that we are a generation that is used to getting things at the click of our fingers. We’ve sadly translated this into every area of our lives including relationships. But this is false. It’s an illusion. For you to value your partner, you must have had to face and overcome some challenges together. A person more readily appreciates a fairly pricey bag that they’ve been eyeing and have worked hard to save up for and buy, than an even more expensive bag that someone just gives to them. It’s in the labour of your hands that you value what you get. So, let’s not give up too easily and let’s put up a fight to keep the relationships we believe we’ve been given.

There is so much more that could be said, but I just wanted to point out those 3 issues that stand out the most for me at this point in time. All relationships are complicated, but if we take the time to better understand them and each other we can have beautiful, God-ordained unions.

What are your thoughts around romantic relationships in the Church? What lessons can we learn in engaging in these? Let’s share and grow together!

Remember, I’m praying for you!

Love,

Sonia Dee

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7 thoughts on “3 Issues around Romantic Relationships in the Church

  1. thank you for this Sonie. What happens in your dating life is what will happen in your marriage. Things don’t suddenly change cause you are married. We are a generation that’s used to quick things and get easily bored so it becomes very easy to move on to the next…

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  2. The couples that are ‘meant to be’ are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger than they were before.” ­ I really like this quote, but let me play devils advocate, how do you draw the line between meant to be and the guy is not right for you. Cause you could be forcing the issue

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    1. Thanks for that very valid question Nyarie. It’s one I’ve often asked too because as you rightfully said, sometimes we’re trying to make something work that is not meant to be. I personally think that that quote is referring to fighting “external” wars. You find some of the most inspiring couples have had to fight these but persevered and remembered that theirs is a relationship from God. So it could be struggling with family interference/distance/third parties trying to get in the mix etc.

      I think where it may be an issue of “forcing” is where both or one of you is unhealthy for the other person and the relationship between just the two of you is toxic. This has nothing to do with other people but inherent character and behavoural qualities – things that only the person can change in themself. More importantly, despite the struggles you may face as a couple, I believe that if it is meant to be, the peace of God will be with you and without you having to do much (if anything at all) you see Him work things out on your behalf. That is my very humble opinion but it would be great if anyone else has something else to say or add on.

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  3. I love your analysis. I have been a member of two churches and I feel like there is little teaching going on for the single women. I have a calling for Single Ladies and I have looked around and heard stories of people not knowing what they need to do. One of the reasons people get into a relationship and get from point A to Z so quickly is because they do not know any better. They need to learn the dos and dont’s of relationships. They need to create boundaries way before the relationship begins. They need to know who they are in Christ, what their values are and on this basis, create healthy boundaries that keeps the bad out and the good in. You are right when you say if a man says God told him, it is the duty of the woman to go and ask the same God. One should be able to hear from the same God and until God speaks, don’t enter into that relationship. This is determined on how much one talks to God. Therefore, it is important to have a growing relationship with God. The man can wait. Thanks for this blog. I enjoyed reading it.

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    1. Hi Martha

      Thanks so much for that wonderful and honest feedback. I am so glad to know there are other sisters out there who are passionate about women especially the single woman. It’s also heart-warming to know that you enjoyed reading the blog and you make such a valid point – people are in the relationships they are in because they do not know better. I actually want to do a follow-up post on how to learn to guard yourself as a single woman so we enter the right relationships.

      Take care and stay blessed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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