This is the last of our ongoing discussion on faith and dating. And I thought I’d conclude with the practical application of it all –
HOW to date someone who shares your beliefs
…or, if you don’t care about that – how to avoid those of us who do.
The question, especially with online dating, is HOW/WHEN to open this subject up. There’s a level of privacy in talking about faith…and yet…it matters so much for compatibility that, at least for me, it needs to be brought up pretty so0n. I haven’t always been the best at this… perhaps there was a subconscious measure of “don’t ask so you won’t be disappointed” mentality at work, but I’m buckling down now.
So, for my part,
I’ve resolved in 2013 to be even more circumspect in this category – so much so that I’m not going to meet a guy unless I’ve somehow at least confirmed that he is a Christian and that it’s a real part of his life. Yikes! This is going to be tricky. Why, you ask? Because asking these questions can often send the wrong message. It can make it sound like the faith issue is ALL I think about. It can sound like I’m a big fat prude. It can sound like I’m super picky (which I am,….but they don’t need to know that JUST yet). No matter how you slice it, letting someone know from the get-go that it’s a deal-maker/breaker CAN come off sounding like I’m not particularly fun.
But, guess what? Oh WELL!
I know I’m fun, and if they’re the one for me, they’ll investigate long enough to see that too.
I’m done going out with “he MAY be a Christian…hard to say” guy. It’s not because they’re not great… heck, half of my guy friends ARE that guy.
It’s that I open myself up to falling in love…or at least in lust…. with someone who I know isn’t who I really want. Sigh…
So – my plan?
Ask the guy, before we meet. Either on the site’s messaging system or by text or on the phone.
And sometimes the answer is IN the profile.
- If, under “religion/faith,” he has NOTHING, I’m not interested. I used to give these guys the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they were Christians who just didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into the stereotypically unfortunate characteristics our society has assigned (or that many Christians have assigned ourselves). But, so far, 10 outta 10 of these are simply not spiritually-minded at all. Moving on.
- If they list “Christian,” but under “My match,” they choose “no preference” or they click all the religions, then we’re not going to see eye-to-eye either.
(side note: at the risk of losing readers here… this is not the way I select friends. I have some of the most amazing people in my life who range all over the spiritual spectrum from Atheist to Buddhist to Agnostic to generically spiritual-but-not-religious to die-hard conservative Christians to licensed Witch Doctors (ok, well that guy is self-titled, but still…). I love engaging with and befriending people of all faiths. I just want to MARRY someone who believes fundamentally what I do.)
- If they list “Christian,” but then say hateful or close-minded or overly-crass things in their profile, then I’m not interested. That just screams ‘hypocrite.’
But, if they list “Christian,” and there’s not indication that that’s NOT the case, then I have to ask.
Now, I’m not going to just sidle up and say, “Hi! Are you a Christian for REELZ?” But, I can ask questions like:
1. “So, where do you worship?” (by the way, NO – I do not think that going to church makes you a Christian, but most people who are serious about their faith DO believe that corporate worship is a part of that. But, then, there are also believers who are hurt or angry at the church/organized religion or for some other reason don’t attend worship…..whew…it’s confusing.
I feel like a venn diagram is in order here.
*scurries over to whip one up and insert here:
2. “Your profile says ‘Christian, Other’… what exactly does that mean to you?”
Again… this might stun someone. But, honestly, the kind of guy I’m really looking for (really looking for means, not the guy you’d settle for at 9:00 on a Friday night when all your friends are unavailable and you’re feeling lonely and maybe you’ll go on a second date with that guy who smelled funny…) – no, the kind of guy I REALLY want – won’t be scared by this question. He’ll be intrigued – maybe even GLAD. Because HE will be looking for someone who could answer that question too.
I’m sure there are multiple other ways to ask the question, but these are a start. I’ll let you know how it goes…
So – I’m sure there’s much more to be said about faith and dating, but for now, we’ll close this chapter on the blog.
In the next couple of weeks, here are some teasers for what you have to look forward to:
– “Ask Sarah” – how to reject someone…. even if it’s just because he’s a bad kisser…
– A discussion about the good guys… great profiles, fantastic dates… proof that they’re still out there.
– Speed Dating, a la Match.com…