Iíve reached the age in life where I can look back over roughly two decades of "adulthood" and ponder what went right and what went wrong. Often the things that went wrong had to do with false assumptions. In fact, I have inducted at least two of my most false assumptions into a sort of "False Assumption Hall of Fame". These are assumptions that not only were wrong, but spent many years of my life telling me they were right. For example, one of these assumptions was "Hard work alone will bring success." It is hard to succeed (in the worldly sense) without hard work, but I have found that hard work in and of itself is not enough.
This strip deals with another of my "Hall of Fame" false assumptions. This one was, "Dating is easier within a Christian organization." Itís no coincidence that I am publishing this a day before Valentineís Day.
Somewhere in my late teens I decided that marrying a non-Christian was unthinkable. I was in my early twenties before I found myself with the all the necessary prerequisites for "Christian dating"; those prerequisites being a car, money, and access to single Christian women. The access the single Christian women was made possible through a large church with a large Christian singles group.
Once I became a member of this church, I naively thought that the "dating game" would somehow be different within a Christian context. I assumed the whole "game" would be played in a more "humane" manner. For example, since we were all Christians we should treat each other better, or at least be more polite. We should trust each other more and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Inward qualities should count more and external things should count less. A woman should at least try to understand who I am before rejecting me, especially since we may be "doing church" at the same place for years to come.
Well, to summarize a very romantically mundane decade, dating in the church seemed for the most part to follow the pattern of the world (only with less immorality and no alcohol). As in the world, nothing succeeds like physical attractiveness. The most handsome and beautiful have it as easy in the church dating game as they do in the dating games of high school, college, and "young professionalism".
One way a man (and typically only a man) can gain a trump card in the church dating game is to become a preacher intern. Single men who are on the fast track to becoming CEO/Preachers have an advantage over all the other single men. They are held up by the church leaders as being spiritual supermen (they wouldnít be preacher interns if they werenít, right?). The preacher intern offers any potential mate both a "safe bet" for spirituality and the bright future of being at the center of whatever church he eventually becomes the leader of.
However, cynicism aside, I certainly donít believe that dating in the church context is worse than in the world. Far from it. If you are a single Christian and you want to marry a Christian, it sure helps to be where single Christians are. Just be prepared for the long haul. If itís a Christian husband/wife you want, you may have to keep trying and praying for a long time. Donít expect it to be easy, and donít be easily discouraged.
And, if you are a failure in the Christian singles scene, donít despair. I was as abysmal a failure as there ever was, but as the saying goes "it's not over until it's over". Back in the mid 1990ís I did three things almost simultaneously. First, I decided that I definitely wanted to find a wife. I renounced my "single guy" selfishness and committed to be ready to change. Second, I renounced Christian singles groups as a means of meeting women. Third, I asked God to find me a wife and committed to serve Him whether He provided one or not.
Three months later, through a friend in my church, I met the woman who is now my wife. She is everything I wanted: Christian, kind, gentle, funny, smart, adorableÖwell, I could go on, but you get the idea. I lost the "Christian dating game", but God won the "find a wife" game for me in the end. Praise the Lord, and happy Valentineís Day.