There’s something that I’ve become acutely aware of here recently. As I’ve gone through my life and encountered different experiences, I’ve realize that a lot of things haven’t gone the way that I had been lead to expect they would. One of those areas is certainly the area of love and relationships (and/or lack thereof). Not only do I feel that I’ve been given the wrong idea about many things, I have also noticed the seeming lack of good and clear guidance as to how to navigate through these waters. Sure, many have tried to provide good and clear guidance, but the fact is that there are so many different versions of it out there, that may or may not gel with either the bible or real life. The romantic relationship thing is a hard channel to navigate in our culture in general, but is made even that much harder for the single who is trying to follow Christ.
Should you be content being single or want to marry? Should Jesus fulfill all your desires (implied directly)? What if you desire to marry? Are you not spiritually sound? Is it o.k. to date or is courting the way to go? What is dating? Courting? If you’re in a relationship, what are the boundaries? What should it or shouldn’t it look like? What are the criteria we use in choosing a significant other? What if those don’t line up with our feelings? Do/Should feelings even have a role? Is there a right and wrong time to get married? Is there a right or wrong person to marry? What is God’s will (i.e. does he have it all planned out for us, and we just have to figure it out)? What about baggage? What if I’ve made mistakes before? Is the way I feel normal, or is there something wrong with me? Do I have issues keeping me from being in a relationship? Does God want me to get married (or do I have the “gift” of singleness)? Should I just wait until he brings someone to me, or do I need to be proactive? Is it o.k. to flirt? What’s the line? What’s the deal with guys who act interested but never take initiative (or who just want to be friends, and I’ve known girls who’ve done that too)? What are guys supposed to be like anyway? What about women? How should we dress?
All of these questions just came straight off the top of my head in a couple of minutes, which should be an indication of my point. They’re mostly all things I’ve wondered, and many I certainly still don’t have figured out. The thing is, as I said, there is no general consensus as to the answers to these questions. Some will adamantly defend one position or another, and it may sound very holy and upright, but it may be completely wrong at the same time. There are also a lot of answers out there that just seem cliche and really have little connection to the real life experiences.
I’ve been wrestling with some questions for a good two and a half years now, and I think just now coming to some terms with them. I think that I’ve had to suffer through this at least partially due to the lack of good advice. All along I could see a couple of ways at looking at things, but I couldn’t tell which was correct. I honesty it’s not that easy. There was probably some truth to both, and I could choose (to a degree) which way to go. I don’t know, maybe it wouldn’t have helped at all, but I wonder if I would have been able to handle it better had I a source to help me clarify my question and make the picture of the situation clearer. Even now I believe I could still benefit from some wise guidance.
So why does it seem that there are so few people people who have this, at least who are sharing it? I’m sure there probably are some, but they probably get lost amidst all of the other people who are talking. We need to have the people who don’t really know what they’re talking about, the people who just give old fashioned (for that reason only) rules, who just say cliches, and who promote reality detached ideals to sit down, and have some people who are wise, have an understanding of the realities of living in our culture and a solid handle on theology, stand up and help give us a clearer picture of what we’re going to (or may) run into and how to handle it all.