The over-spiritualization of dating

I’ve mainly seen this from Evangelicals, although some from others as well. Christian men and women generally want to know or believe that:

  1. God “hand picked” their spouse for them
  2. You need confirmation from God before dating your spouse

Let’s look at these two concepts.

  • Regarding God “hand picking” their spouse I believe that’s false, but God allows or possibly gives opportunities for us to take action.

I’ve know a couple cases where “God” tells someone that someone is going to be their spouse and it happened. On the other hand, I’ve also known many more cases where “God” told someone that someone was going to be their spouse, and it didn’t happen which led to tons of heart break on both sides. Some people didn’t discern whether it was God or not (1 John 4).

We have free will. We can pick and choose who to ask out or decide to marry, even if God gives us hints that someone might be good (or even bad) for us for some Christians.

There is no “one” or soulmate or anything like that. Who you marry is your “one.” Soulmates are a myth as there is no marriage is heaven.

  • Regarding confirmation from God I believe that’s all false. I think there’s over-spiritualizing of the ‘asking out’ and ‘dating’ process, especially with the Evangelical crowd. It puts a large amount of impediments in your way before even going on a date.

Why do you need to pray to ‘get to know someone better’? Just ask them out (or accept a date) and see if they like you and get to know their personality and character. Pray and decide from there.

I did pray during the relationship and before engagement and marriage starting I decide she was a good girlfriend candidate because that’s when there’s at least some form of ‘commitment’ish behavior where you’re headed toward marriage and you want your potential spouse to be growing with you to be like Christ in action and character.

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9 Responses to The over-spiritualization of dating

  1. Jack says:

    The Bible is rather silent concerning mate selection, and many people attempt to “fill in the blanks” in an effort to provide themselves the comforts of having structure and method in their task of choosing a spouse. I don’t see anything wrong with developing a system of personal requirements, but many of these beliefs, such as the two you pointed out, do not actually help one identify a suitable spouse.

    Personally, I believe spiritual discernment, and spiritual maturity, are the very best tools one can have in the selection of a spouse. Unfortunately, these are always the last methods to be considered. Instead, young people get wound up on their fantasies and subjective experiences, and fail to see things clearly. They don’t really know what they’re doing, and there’s no practical guidance being offered by the church.

  2. donalgraeme says:

    Most of this used to be handled by families and communities, but since we have done our best in the last two centuries to destroy both, that level of protection and aid is gone. Hooray for individualism.

  3. Jack says:

    Maybe this is the blank that young people are trying to fill in – an absent family and community.

  4. Anything that is female-centric will find a way to impart non-responsibility on the actions at hand. What’s the core of Christianity? Personal responsibility for your sins. The point is to muddle decision making so one isn’t responsible for it.

  5. @ LG

    I also think it’s not only trying to foist of responsibility, but also subtly buying into the “one” or “happily ever after” mentality.

    People have a false impression that when you meet the “one” everything magically becomes easier or that you “just know” that you’re supposed to be with them… and perhaps that God is just that magical matchmaker who orchestrated it.

  6. Lexet Blog says:

    The “everything is magical,” which is untrue, wouldn’t be an indication of god’s approval either.

    God regularly uses hardship for spiritual growth.

  7. @DS:

    People like their illusions, but it’s also a tempting illusion. That’s why it’s pretty easy to “sell” that one. The core desire is to remove responsibility, but the means to it will always be in relation to what is trying to be avoided. Making something “magical” inherently removes personal agency and, thus, responsibility.

    It also helps keep hidden the instinctual desires that drive most people. Women love to feel they’re in control while also never taking responsibility. (See Genesis 3 for “why”.) Yet their desires constantly overcome them. Funny, that.

    Men can “buy in” because of mass-scale propaganda and the reality that “sweet lies” are very tempting. It’s a lot easier to believe in looking for your “soulmate” rather than accepting the truth that Women are always mercenary in their acquisition of social capital & resources, viewing Men as a means to an end. What keeps a Wife attached to a Husband is a combination of Sunk Costs, Fear of Making Change (that they think about), Faith, Inherited Personality Traits and, if a Man married a virgin, Physiological Bonding that can never be broken.

    Though the “soulmate” stuff has a secondary purpose for Women to ignore that what a Man values in a Woman is: Looks, How She Treats Him & How She Treats His Stuff. Pretty much always in that exact order. Cuts against the “Princess” narrative pretty hard, but it also highlights why it’s so tempting for Women of all ages.

  8. squid_hunt says:

    Excellent. Could have written this my self. I cringe at preaching or talk about finding “the one God picked for you”. It puts a lot of unnecessary strain on a relationship and continuous second guessing.

    Whether they are “the one” or not, the point is that once you voluntarily say “I do.” you are married and you are obligated to them for the rest of your life whether you love them or not.

  9. Pingback: The Demise of Marriage: Cause and Effect | Christianity and masculinity

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