Currently, I am single. I don't know whether it's because spring is in the air or I'm rapidly ageing, but a lot of my friends have taken a sudden interest in my love life. This has led to a lot of interesting conversations with some of my non-Christian friends. What I've noticed is that sometimes they feel uncomfortable with my 'dating criteria'.
You know the type of dating criteria I'm thinking of. They have to be shorter/taller than me, with brown/blue/hazel eyes and they have to like swimming/reading/walking (delete as appropriate). I know one person who would look at a guy's shoes when she went on a date with them to figure out if she liked him on not. So, everybody asks "What kind of girl are you looking for?"
If I was to respond, "Well, I love Doctor Who, so they have to be a massive Doctor Who fan," then I would probably get a few raised eyebrows and jokes made at my expense but people would probably be fine with that. However, when I say, "They have to be a Christian," people often seem a bit shocked. Friends ask, "What if they are accepting of your faith?" or, "What if they are agnostic and open to the idea?"
There is no way round it. It is a non-negotiable. If I was to start dating someone they have to be a Christian. Not just a believe-in-God-and-goes-to-church-at-Christmas Christian either. They'd have to be a Jesus loving, Bible-reading, God-seeking Christian.
|Not my first reason...|
First, my faith matters in my life more than anything. It is what I think about during the day. It is what determines how I spend my time, or how I respond to problems, or how I spend my money. Therefore, I would like the most important person in my life to share in the most important aspect in my life.
Having other criteria in a girlfriend is all well and good, but it isn't going to cut the mustard when problems come our way. If we are to face things in a unified manner, it's helpful to be on the same page. This is especially true the deeper the relationship gets. If we're having financial problems and have to consider what options we are going to take, a common interest in sci-fi isn't going to help. When considering what the key responsibilities of being a parent are, my partner's height isn't going to be important. When thinking about how to use our salaries wisely, her hair colour isn't going to make a difference.
However, being a Christian makes a difference in how I would make all those decisions. I would look at what the Bible says about money, loans and savings, or what to do as a parent and see what it talks about giving advice to your children. It will inform our priorities in our marriage; it will determine our outlook for the future.
Basically, if it's between Genesis 1:1 and Revelations 22:21, that's what is going to decide what happens. If she can't agree with that, then that relationship is not going anywhere fast. It may look fine on the outside, but for me, a relationship without God in the centre of it is going to be like a car with no engine. The driving force behind it will be gone. The questions will be left unresolved and the problems will go unanswered. I can't see a future in a relationship where my partner doesn't believe that God's way is the right way to do it.
Finally, it's also ridiculously unfair on a non-Christian to be expected to put up with the demands of Christian life. There is the dangerous possibility that my faith my lead me to do crazy things (like I might sell the hypothetical house and move to a mud hut in a less economically developed country proclaiming the gospel). Those are the sort of things where you want your other half to join in the adventure with you. They're going to have be as up for it as I am, otherwise the consequences will be devastating. In short, my girlfriend is going to need to know what she's letting herself in for.
- Do/did you have a dating criteria?
- Do you have any dating advice?