Many couples in church date in secret to avoid gossip and pressure from others in the congregation. Here, presenter Cassandra Maria, explains how forcing people to hide their dating creates a dangerous environment for players to thrive.
Depending on the church you go to or grew up in, the rules on dating differ but virtually everyone has been in an environment where dating isn’t really discussed. The church I was baptised in had a rule that from the minute you publicly announced that you were dating someone you had to marry them within six months. Because of this dating happened in secret as no one had the means to marry and more wanted to explore their options before being forced into settling down. They did this because they didn’t want to encourage gossip or “people hopping” and because it seemed like the proper thing to do.
The Bible encourages courtship so why don’t we embrace it? Why do we keep it hidden away and act as though it’s seedy? The moment you force people to date in the dark it becomes dirty and something people gossip about.
Trying to find your person should and can be a beautiful journey, full of Christ and love. Marriage can be full of joy and peace. It’s something Christians encourage each other to do (as soon as possible no less) but we don’t want to talk about the process of finding the person you want to marry. It’s as if they expect your partner to drop out the sky with a ring and bouquet. It’s ridiculous.
The moment you force people to date in the dark it becomes dirty and something people gossip about.
We should share our dating stories openly and honestly, bring Christ back into the courtship process and not be ashamed to be on the journey that every married couple has taken. Part of the shame may come from people thinking you’re having sex or “getting a name for yourself” as the person who’s dated many people in the church but if people want to think that that’s honestly their problem and they should check their hearts before projecting their thoughts on to you.
We’re also selling people short because the dating process is difficult at times; meeting person after person, or even not meeting anyone can both be emotionally draining. We’re part of the church and that is supposed to be a place of comfort, solace and restoration. But if were made to feel ashamed about dating because it’s never spoken about, we won’t want to tell people what’s wrong and we won’t get that support we so desperately need.
I remember many times I was sat looking at the guy who just broke my heart in two pieces worship a few seats ahead of me, but because it was all done in private there was no help from the church to get through it, and I felt ashamed to even say we’d dated as they made it seem so wrong to date. That’s not okay and damaging.
We need to bring Christ back into the courtship process and not be ashamed to be on the journey that every married couple has taken.
Plus, without transparency some men in church (maybe women too) date multiple people at once. They go from one to the next leaving a string of broken hearts without accountability as no one ever knew about the hidden dating. New women that come to the church would wonder why they were still single, not knowing that they’d already had relationships with the five women at the back and the usher and he wasn’t serious about settling down at all. If we were able to discuss dating we’d know more about the people who may not be serious. This should make it less likely that people will fall foul to their games and it would save everyone a LOT of tears.
Dating is a such a huge part of life, and we really should be in it together, not feel ashamed of the relationships that don’t work out and involve the church in the journey. We all do it, have done it or will do it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, so be free, go and date the brother at the back and don’t feel as though it’s a bad thing to do.