It’s Week 4, and as we continue to delve into #TheChroniclesOfBae, I wanted to kill two birds with one stone (or feed two birds with one scone, for all my Vegan Warriors out there
I know it wasn’t just me who read that story last year…. # PETAAreDoingTheMostInLife by combining a book shout-out with a common dating faux pas that a lot of us ladies have made (that is, if you think it is a faux pas…..maybe it’s not…different strokes and all that)
First let me begin with a story, and it is a common scenario that seems to crop up way too often with single ladies…
I remember talking to a friend of mine about a guy that she was dating. We were on a long journey to a mutual friend’s wedding and her story had begun with an Awkward Auntie.
You see my friend’s cousin (the Aunties’s daughter) was getting married and my friend was getting ‘The Questions“.
You know the sort because you know them Awkward Aunties have absolutely zero chill. They love to bring the Inquisition lol. If you are a woman, it sort of begins once you hit 25 or 26 and goes something like this…
(Insert any accent of your choice here)
“Soooo, is there someone?”
“Are you seeing anyone?”
“Should I tie my gele?”
“Who is the Bruddah?”
Not gonna lie, my parents/Aunts/Uncles know me too well to test me with this line of enquiry but I have Aunties in church who don’t know me well enough, one of whom can’t help but grab my left hand in search of a Harry Winston whenever she sees me *face palm* I also have friends, and my friends have stories, so back to this one…
My friend seemed overjoyed to be speaking to someone, because she had been faithfully waiting on God, and lo and behold, it paid off – to finally have someone to mention when the Aunties came calling, and boy did they call often.
But in between the description of her new beau, she was gushing about how they were from the same tribe in Nigeria, how he really swept her off her feet when they first met, and, oh gosh, did I mention how handsome?
After some minutes, I cut in with the only question I ever ask when one of my girlfriends starts monologing about New Babes:
“Is he a Christian?”
OOOOOhhhh so religious right? Lemme explain.
Last month I finished a wonderful book entitled ‘The Sacred Search” by Gary Thomas, and it basically turns Christian dating on its head by asking the reader to shift focus from the person we seek to marry (the “Who”) to the reason we desire marriage (the “Why”). Now Uncle Gary came for everyone in his book and he used the principle of Matthew 6:33:
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
– Matthew 6 v 33
Uncle Gary talks about marrying someone you can fulfil God’s purpose with, rather than someone who ticks each box on your list. He is so clear in emphasising that it doesn’t mean preferences and standards are redundant, but the idea is we should be choosing partners based on shared values and mission, rather than shared ethnicity or even their (or our own) attractiveness. The goal in marriage should be holiness, rather than happiness.
Oooh that hurt, I know – it hurt me too when I read it.
Now today I was reflecting on the question I asked my friend all those months ago, having finished this book recently.
I legit know that it sounds so religious. I mean, who asks thattttt? Yeah. Cold water moves, no Justin Bieber.
But it was, and still remains so pertinent and it’s actually the most relevant question when talking to a friend who has been able to describe everything about this dude for 15 minutes except for his spirituality.
Because nothing can be assumed.
You’d think that being a Believer would be the first thing ticked off when contemplating the next guy you are gonna parade to your family and friends. But I have to ask.
I ask because Christ has to be our starting point. I don’t think you can achieve a Christ-centred relationship outside of Christ, and without partnering with someone submitted to the authority of the scriptures, how can one replicate a godly marriage? What are we building if we are not rooted firmly in Him?
It’s a curious thing, because my conversation with my friend reminded me of the compromises we too often make in order to escape singleness. Sorry, did I say escape? I didn’t mean “escape”, I meant
run away from, avoid, avert, to cast off through prayer and fasting escape.
If I asked you straight off the bat, “would you ever marry a non-Christian?“, 99.9% of the people reading this would say a straight up “no“.
And they would say it with their chest.
Not shouting, not reeling in disgust, but with a clear assertive confidence.
But if I asked you “would you ever date a non-Christian?“, a few of us would pause to think.
A few of us would be thinking about the last guy we dated who wasn’t reeeeeeaaaaally a Christian but believed in God.
A few of us would be thinking about that guy we were crushing on who is sooooo lovelyyyy and with whom we have so much chemistry with, except when it comes to God cos he’s kinda on a journey.
Lemme not lie, a few of us would be thinking about the guy who is currently trying to toast us, who is nowhere near interested with God, but we just feel like, you know, feelings.
Ok, so let’s do this in order.
1. That “I believe In God” Guy
So depending on where you both met, there may come a point when you have to ask “Are you a Christian?/Do you have a faith?/What’s your view on God?/insert variant here“.
No shade, but I have come to learn that everyone and anyone is a Christian when it suits them. You know the type – filling out forms, ticking the box that says Christian because they were raised by Christian parents and they go to church when they’re not busy doing something else. It’s 2019 and Christianity seems to be worn like a badge on an oversized ripped denim jacket.
Forget about relationship with God; it’s just a token, and if it means an opportunity to date from a pool of fine church babes, dudes are ready to claim Christianity TODAY. Because the “I believe in God” guy is exactly that, no more, no less. He believes in God – he just hasn’t made up his mind about Jesus, and don’t even get him started about the Holy Spirit. What’s that all about?
So what Stephanie, I should just drop them because they’re not Christian?
Don’t drop them, just don’t date them. It comes down to this – what is more important – you dating or Homeboy’s soul? Genuine question, because that is kinda what it will come down to in the end and once you get an indication that the person you are speaking to is not saved, you will have to decide in the moment where to go next.
Can I be honest? The evangelist in me would swerve the conversation so quickly and just start witnessing – like you already have an inroad. You can still encourage Homeboy in their faith, but just not on a Friday night at 8pm over Tagliatelle and Tiramisu. Just saying, and I love Tagliatelle, don’t get me twisted for a minute…
Jokes aside, I am not trying to impose an obligation for people to share Jesus to the next suitor that comes your way (these times we have the Holy Spirit and a great commission but heyyyy lol) but I do feel like we really have to learn to listen to people when they speak. Especially when you first meet someone, and it is clear that they are not in a relationship with God, why are we so willing to ignore that? Is the desire to date that strong? Nah boo. For me it’s both a red flag and a white flag.
2. That “I’m On A Journey” Guy
Ok, again no shade to the people who are ACTUALLY on journeys with God – I love Prodigal Son Testimonies, don’t play me – but journeys imply movement. Like, can we talk? The expectation of a journey is that it can be documented and it will have an end destination.
I’m not saying that you should not encourage the guy to find faith – please do, and see the above point – but why do we meet Bruddas who are on journeys and then imagine that we will be the shortcut that takes them to their destination?
Bruhh. Homeboy has been on a journey for 4 years
and these times, the journey has been going backwards – but you think that you’re gonna break that chain. Wow. The force is strong with you young one, but you are not a Jedi yet.
Seriously, why? Is. Your. Middle. Name. Holy. Spirit? No? ok sit down.
Steph, it’s not that deep….
Ok guys, you know I write how I speak, so there’s gonna be an inflection of humour, but I am actually being serious. I think it’s different when you have someone who may not be spiritually mature, but by dating a firebrand Christian, the Spirit inside them is stirred, they go deeper in their Word and really mature in their faith. Oh no, I love those cases. Those Hebrews 10:24, that holy provocation to greater works for Christ. Love ittttt. When deep calls unto deep. Love. It.
But I’m talking about someone who is on a break with God, not interested at the moment and living YOLO lifestyles, cos, why not?
Sis, I have been there. These are the people you are up praying for early morning prayers, asking that God would save them by force or by fire because if they could only give their life to Christ, you’ve already begun planning the wedding.
Sis, that’s a dangerous tightrope you walking. Take it from me, you will fall from that height Sis. The last guy I was begging God to save never wanted to be saved. No joke. I invited him to church and he only ever came to pick me up from service or drop me at a meeting. I still remember when I asked him if he wanted to pray about something that was happening and he retorted “Stephanie you pray enough for the both of us”. Real talk, he wasn’t even being sarcastic. Sis, you’ve been warned.
3. That “Nowhere Near God” Guy
Ok please read this slowly: the Nowhere Near God Guy should be nowhere near your life. End. Full stop. Shift key down and leave the page.
I don’t think this needs any elaboration. You already know what I mean, so please take this in love but I am throwing all the shade I can find – this is a fail.
Grade U. Unclassified marking.
These types of guys come with warnings. We call it “caveat emptor” – buyer beware.
That’s not fair Steph. I feel like…
Again, take this with love, but I’m not here for your feelings – Lol I’m not even here for my feelings because 90% of my feelings are fuelled by lust, and you don’t have to read too much of James chapter 1 before finding out that lust leads to sin and sin leads to death.
But I will put one caveat disclaimer: Mate, go with your Holy Spirit.
Listen, you know them videos you get on WhatsApp of people who have died and gone to Heaven and then come back to earth with a deep conviction to preach? You better have that level of conviction to be marrying a non-Believer! That one is between you and God. If you have the Holy Spirit’s approval, what more do you need?
But I need you to come like Paul in 2 Corinthians and say that you were taken up to the third heavens where God revealed to you in an open vision that the person who currently is nowhere near God will be your spouse. Tell me that and I will shut up shop right here, right now.
All I’m saying is UNLESS God has told you, in a way that you know is God speaking to you, what are you doing? But if not, leave it alone.
As Christians how are we comfortable dating people who are at odds with God?
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Why do we say that our faith is the most important thing in our lives and yet it becomes the first thing that goes out of the window when we start dating?
Why do we ask God for men that we can build with and yet entertain fantasies of relationships with men who have not yet chosen a firm foundation?
Why do we compromise on Christ?
Why do we
ignorantly, foolishly, unintentionally usurp the place of the Holy Spirit?
Final disclaimer: I am writing this as someone who has in the past TRIED to make relationships work with guys who fit into the top two categories, only to discover that some of them were in the third and were never on a page with God.
And I have not quoted scriptures at you, because I know you know the scriptures. Don’t be unequally yoked, can two walk together unless they agree, flee sexual immorality, marriage is honourable in all – yes, I knew the scriptures well well and I still tried to make wrong relationships right, asking God to co-sign my disobedience. Can we talk?
So as a default, I tend to go back to my one simple question: Is he a Christian?
That question, if answered in the affirmative can preclude so many others.
Such as, what direction is the relationship going? When you share the same Spirit, you can trust that you will be able to walk in agreement.
Such as, is God part of this relationship? When you both are submitted to His Will, and Christ is your foundation, it’s a given.
Such as, what is your intention in dating? When you are dealing with a man who is conformed to the image of Christ, he’s not going to be here for games. We are not in year 4 and this is not wet play during break time.
Such as, is this a relationship that God will honour? If not, you may need to think about going your separate ways.
Because trust, honesty and clarity in a relationship are basics.
You don’t have to barter for it, you don’t have to beg for it, or fight for it.
It is a basic.
Ladies, we deserve better. YOU deserve better. Don’t undervalue yourself by accepting less than this.
Until next week…