Dating and finding the right person is something that can be very difficult in the best case scenario. When everything is stacked in your favor, and there’s no reason for it to be hard, still it can sometimes be very challenging to meet the right person and to have a long and happy relationship.
However certain factors can make this even more difficult, and if you are restricted or if you have particular views that create rules which apply to your relationships – then these are all new things for you to cope with and that can make it quite hard for you to meet the right person.
Take Christian dating for instance – here you are faced with a whole slew of problems that atheists don’t have to worry about and you can find that in some ways it’s more difficult to meet the right person. Here we will look at what some of those difficulties are, and what the solutions to those problems are as well. Fortunately, although Christian dating can be hard, there are a range of facilities in place and a supportive community that you can take advantage of and that can make matters a bit simpler.
First of all let’s take a look at some of the challenges of Christian dating, which include:
• A relatively smaller ‘pool’ of potential partners to choose from. If you are only willing to date other Christians then right away this is going to rule out a whole range of other potential partners who don’t have faith or who hold other beliefs. At the same time if you want to date only within your Christian denomination – be it Catholic, Protestant, Methodist etc – then you are going to further limit the number of potential partners. If that’s not the case for you though, and you are happy to date outside of Christianity, then this is going to bring challenges of its own – specifically it means you will have to try and find a partner who doesn’t mind that you are religious. Just as some Christians are not happy to date atheists, so too will you find that some atheists are unhappy to date Christians – because they foresee future arguments, or because they can’t come to terms with the beliefs that they hold.
• Then there are difficulties with compatibilities of beliefs. If you go out with someone who holds different beliefs to you then these are likely to become an issue in your relationship at some point. This might be when you discuss whether or not to have sex before marriage, or it might be when you discuss whether to send your children to church or not. This is something that exists as well even if you do look specifically for a religious partner – the reason being that even between religious people there are quite strong differences in views and interpretations. If you are Christian and you are dating someone Christian then you are likely to hold strong beliefs and so are they – and inevitably this can cause difficulties in your relationship. If you are quite a liberal Christian then you might find yourself torn between dating someone who is atheist and doesn’t share your views, or someone who takes their views further than you do and doesn’t believe in sex before marriage etc.
Finding the Right Person
The first issue then is finding the right person for you, and when you are limiting yourself somewhat in who you can go for this is more difficult. However in some ways it can also be an advantage. For instance, although there are fewer partners for you, that also means that there are fewer partners out there like you. In other words if you are looking for a Christian woman or man who has similar views to your own you may find there aren’t many out there. However by the same token there is also less competition when it comes to these women, and there are fewer guys/women like you out there for them. In other words though it can be hard to find the right person, you will find that when you do they are more likely to cling on to you tightly.
At the same time you will also find that you gravitate to the same events and groups. If you go to church for instance then this is a great place to meet many members of the opposite sex, all of whom will be looking for someone like you and finding it equally difficult to find the right person.
Of course churches tend to be rather small collections of people and you may well find that there isn’t anyone there who you are attracted to. What you mustn’t do is to ‘settle’ with someone just because you find it hard to meet Christian partners. Instead look to some of the other ways you can meet Christian singles. For instance:
- Christian dating websites
- Other local churches
- Christian events
- Concerts (religious music concerts and Christian rock bands particularly)
- Youth clubs
- Christian festivals/camps
These are just some suggestions for where you can find the right person.
Know Your Views
Important though before you start looking for a partner is to make sure that you know your views and that you are comfortable in your religion. If you do not know what it is you want out of a relationship, or if your views are prone to change, then this can create further difficulties. Are you looking to get married young? Do you believe in sex before marriage? Do you want your children to attend church? Are you happy with dating a non-Christian? All of this is important to work out before you commit yourself to someone.
Sex is a big issue in any relationship, but if you or your partner is Christian (or if both of you are), then it becomes an even more pressing concern. You need to decide first of all whether you are happy to have sex before marriage, or if you want to be more traditional and wait. Make sure you know this before you get into a relationship so you can be honest up front and never let your partner believe otherwise. If waiting is your decision then you need to find someone who is happy to do so and to respect your views, and that might mean you need to work harder at getting to know someone before you start dating.
Sex isn’t a black and white matter though, and just because you can’t have sex doesn’t mean you can’t be intimate or have fun. Intimacy is a very important part of a relationship, and if you don’t find ways to be more than just ‘friends who kiss’ then you won’t truly be testing yourself as a couple before you get married. Look into other ways you can pleasure your partner, and other ways you can be closer. This might mean just stroking each others’ bodies, just being naked together, or mutual masturbation. Again this is going to depend on your views and what you are comfortable with in the context of your religion.
Can You Date a Non-Christian?
The big question is: can you, and should you, try to date someone who doesn’t share your beliefs. This is a very complicated question and one that different people hold different views on. Again this is ultimately going to come down to personal preference, but you need to make sure that before you decide you understand the views of the other person and you know that they are comfortable with yours. Issues and disagreements will arise – and you might argue about whether to get married in a church for instance, or whether you should send your children to church.
The important thing here if it is going to work is respect. You need someone who respects your beliefs and who understands how important they are to you. But at the same time you need to show them the same courtesy and to show respect to their beliefs – everyone believes something and even if they are atheist this is a belief and a choice and something that they likely feel strongly about. What you mustn’t do is go into a relationship thinking you can change someone – as most often you simply cannot. Instead go into the relationship having visualized what life together will be like – are you happy to go to church on your own? Are you happy that they celebrate different holidays to you? Or that they are likely to blaspheme? Really imagine the realities of the situation and decide whether you are comfortable with them. If you are both respectful and understanding, and if neither of you tries to ‘force’ your beliefs on the other, then you are likely to find that your religions (or lack of) can indeed be compatible.