Written by Taylor Satchell Bentliff
Exciting, exhausting, or just confusing - dating in the UK can be a challenge. Without a ‘Dating 101’, it can be hard to know which elements to commit to and which to just ‘swipe left’. Everyone has a different experience and nobody has an answer - but there are definitely Disney-style rumours that spread, causing unhealthy expectations!
We’re busting 4 common dating myths to make 'the search' less stressful…
MYTH 1: THE ONE
The One becomes the one when you are married and continue to be married. Before that, there are many! Now we know what you're thinking, does that give us permission to date anyone and everyone!? We’ll get on to that later. But we need to acknowledge that are many people on this Earth we can choose from, and who may want to choose us. And it's ultimately a choice and response that leads to a ‘One’. The first dynamic duo we see in the Bible are Adam and Eve, and while we could argue that because Eve was created from Adam, she must have been ‘the one’ for him, God still presented Eve to Adam after she was created. He presented her! God brought the woman to Adam. And it was Adam's choice to receive her. So, it's important to make sure you keep your heart secure, without giving it away recklessly to someone who is yet to choose you. Love freely, but guard wisely! And don't presume you are entitled to someone just because you are developing feelings for them - because that can hurt a lot! After all, as we look at this thread further into time, we see that the choice element is still as relevant today. The Bible continues to describe a wife as something to find, not something assigned.
MYTH 2: SINGLENESS IS LONELY
While we agree that it is ‘not good for man to be alone', sometimes we can fall into the trap of panic-picking a partner to make sure we have a ‘someone'. However, this scripture, as well as psychological evidence, is also about us being designed to be in community and relationship, not just finding a date. According to Harvard, and the University of York, having fewer friendships and less social interaction can increase risk of health and specifically heart issues by around 25%. Meanwhile, relationships with friends, family and our community teach and build us up! Plus, meeting friends for a coffee, being open with peers and praying together, while also being free to chase your own dreams, sounds like a win-win to us! However, if a romantic relationship is something you desire, it can feel like a long and a painful process. If you feel like patience and self-control is being cultivated in you, then you couldn't be less alone! The Spirit is at work! Patience is a fruit of the spirit and while we can take steps to make new connections, let's not force and rush ahead of how God wants to work in us during this time.
MYTH 3: IT JUST TAKES TWO
Humans aren't great at getting everything right, let alone when two of them are put together! But thankfully, we know someone who is. Listening, cooperating and sharing good news is key for maintaining healthy relationships, according to relationship counsellor Christine Northam, and they're also taught by God in the Bible Figures! He is a relationship expert and wants to be at the centre of ours. God's very nature is love, so He's a pretty awesome person to draw from to keep relationships full. After all, a relationship without love just becomes all about instant highs. It becomes lust, it becomes convenience, it becomes rushed. If you're starting or maintaining a relationship we would suggest keeping God in the room, in your discussion, and in your prayer life together. That way, the relationship can run on something consistent rather than on the unpredictability of human nature!
MYTH 4 DATING IS BIBLICAL
Nope, it’s cultural! That's why we can see such a huge range of boy-meets girl scenarios across history and the globe. From dating age limits, to arranged marriage, friendships first, and online meets. In a study of 2,000 Brits, women had, on average, seven romantic relationships, including two long-term ones, before finding someone they could be with forever. If these are the numbers, perhaps we need to take a closer look at how we guard our hearts, intentions and actions to protect both ourselves and those we connect with. There isn't a Biblical guideline for dating or falling ‘in love'. In fact, love is a lot more about choice than feeling. But what we do have are guidelines for how we approach all situations; doing all things to the glory of God, patiently trusting in God, enjoying the good things, fleeing from sexual immorality, praying at all times, being an example to others, and being single, or married. That doesn't mean we can't invest extra time and attention to a potential spouse, but it does mean holding things loosely, and doing the best we can to love those around us and build authentic and safe relationships. Having agreed boundaries, agreed priorities and seeking advice from couples you look up to is a fab start!
Written by Taylor Satchell Bentliff