BY: KEZIA ROYER-BURKETT
Last week’s “Dating in the church gone wrong” was the most popular article I have written to date. Thank you so much to all the readers that took their time to read and send in their stories, opinions, and comments. It sparked a discussion surrounding what appears to be a controversial topic, dating in church. Many readers had questions about what exactly I meant by using the term “dating”. According to Wikipedia “dating” is a stage of a romantic relationship whereby two people meet socially with the aim of deciding whether they are a match for marriage, and that definition is the one I intended when I referred to “dating” in my last article.
A sad reminder that was apparent from my previous article is that many people are faced with the reality of influential people sharing their strong, overbearing opinions and dictating how other individuals should live their lives. Strong views, at times, can indeed override one’s thoughts and feelings and put you in a position where your thoughts and feelings are submissive to the influencers. I received many comments from readers telling me where the gentleman in the story went wrong, and how it wasn’t the church’s fault, and how I should go about finding a husband. In a day and age where there are dating apps, dating advice professionals, matchmaker consultants, pastors and family members telling individuals how to date, when do the people who are single have the opportunity to self-check what they want and desire in a life partner?
Where are the people and services teaching people how to be self-aware about who they are and the qualities they desire in a partner? Is there a formula for a successful relationship that will lead to a long happy marriage? Some cultures believe that arranged marriages are best and the parents should choose a life partner for their child. Various religions and cultures have practices that are intended to join two individuals in a successful, happy, holy, long, prosperous relationship. But the truth of the matter is, all of the qualities that make up a good connection are dependent upon the individuals and less on the actual practices themselves.
I have had many heartbreaks, breakups and sad, vulnerable moments with men and so have billions of other people in this world from different races, cultures, and religions. As humans we are all subject to pain and hard times, it’s the nature of life, also known as yin and yang. It doesn’t matter how hard we try to avoid heartache, and pain, it is inevitable. I believe that open, honest, dialogue can dispel the majority of difficulties that are associated with romantic relationships and also knowing when to check other’s opinions at the door respectfully.
Advice from family, friends and community leaders can be great, but connecting with yourself and determining what is best for you is always the best scenario. Outside advice can help you see another perspective but it should never overshadow your gut feeling and your ability to make decisions for yourself. The church is not the only place dating and relationships have ended in mishap; Where there are humans there are errors. The good thing about this thing we call life is that every day we are alive and well, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, make wiser decisions and evolve into better people. In the Bible in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 22 verse 6 it says: “Train your child up in the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn away from it.” I think this is a great verse to remind “elder meddlers” that if they did their job correctly with the children, there is no need to interfere with adult’s decision making unless help is requested and even then suggestions and guidance should be given not directives and ultimatums.
If you are looking for a resource to help improve your communication skills in any relationship check out the Love Languages test at 5lovelanguages.com. The Love Languages test is a good free resource I have used myself. The test is intended to help couples learn and gain understanding about the various ways in which people can show love and receive love. It helps disrupt the mindset that there is only one way to go about a relationship and it highlights the individuality and uniqueness of every relationship. As Always Love and Light!