In the world, young people go to bars to meet people. I go to a church full of young people but haven't met anyone really worthwhile, as far as husband material. Other than the bar scene, where can young adults go to meet people? What are your suggestions? I also work evenings, which doesn't help. But even on my nights off, I'm stumped as to where to go. I do hang out with my church friends, but it seems like it's always the same people with no new prospects.
I am 26, have dated one guy and never been kissed. I agree with what you say about marriage, and that's truly the desire of my heart. It's just getting there that's difficult.
Thanks for writing. I'm encouraged by your desire to marry and your hunch that bars aren't the best place to meet potential mates. You're right about that. Bars and other potentially seedy places carry too high a risk that the men you meet won't be interested in — or even capable of — anything long-term. Even more unlikely would be meeting a Christian man in search of a godly wife.
Think of it like deciding to set up a tropical fish tank. You might find the fish to fill it by going to the ocean. But that would take a lot of money and a long time. Best to visit a tropical fish store where you know you'll reach your goal effectively and efficiently. For relationships, it's best to go where you're more likely to meet someone with whom you can be equally yoked.
So what's the equivalent of the fish store for a young woman who wants to marry well?
You might think I'd recommend the Internet. Given the high number of Christian dating sites, it's tempting to think finding love online is a sure thing. But the explosion of technological matchmaking still falls short of real people. According to research by The Marriage Project, "The most likely way to find a future marriage partner is through an introduction by family, friends or acquaintances." They found that "despite the romantic notion that people meet and fall in love through chance or fate, the evidence suggests that social networks are important in bringing together individuals of similar interests and backgrounds, especially when it comes to selecting a marriage partner. According to a large-scale national survey of sexuality, almost 60 percent of married people were introduced by family, friends, co-workers or other acquaintances."
That said, the most obvious place to start is church. But you say the men in your church aren't "worthwhile" or "husband material." While it's possible there aren't any strong candidates for marriage among those in your congregation, your description of the men makes me wonder about your expectations. What characteristics do you consider worthwhile? What makes for good husband material? It's important to weigh your answers against the standards of Scripture. What does God consider "husband material?" Traits like integrity, honesty and maturity come to mind; also willingness to leave father and mother in order to form a new family; ability to work hard and provide for a wife and children; openness to babies; and willingness to sacrifice for wife and children — the very thing Christ modeled in His sacrifice for our sin.
As to your church, is it an environment that encourages and celebrates marriage? If so, even a lack of single men may not be reason enough to leave it. What about the older members? They may have sons, nephews, grandsons, etc., they could introduce you to.
In the end, it's not so much "where you go" to find a mate, but who you know and what they know about you.
Consider how you present yourself. Do the people in your life know you desire marriage? Do they know the qualities you're seeking in a mate? They might be willing accomplices in the search — and even helpful ones at that. Start to pray for and seek out mentors. Ideally your parents would fill that role. If that's not possible look for older married couples you can spend time with. Ask them to pray with and for you about your desire for marriage. They might surprise you by the introductions they can arrange. And even if they don't know any eligible bachelors right now, their discipleship will benefit your spiritual maturity. Further, they may be able to give candid advice about other improvements you can work on to make yourself more marriable.
Just because they don't know any candidates now, doesn't mean they won't meet one in the future. Granted, this kind of "help" carries certain risks, and you wouldn't want to be introduced to just anyone. That's why it's so important to pray about whom you approach for mentoring.
Which brings me to the most important thing you can do: pray. I've talked about this at length in another Boundless article called "Pray Boldly."
While you're at it, consider praying about a change of locale. I did. When I was 25, I moved from my small hometown to a larger city where I attended a Christian graduate school. I was hoping to meet someone of like heart and mind. Thankfully, I did. Being in a new place afforded lots of opportunities to meet new people. And to meet men while pursuing something I loved helped increase the odds that I'd have a lot in common with them.
Whether it's pursuing an advanced degree or developing a hobby, focus on activities you enjoy. You're more likely to find someone with similar interests if you're engaged in an activity you both enjoy when you meet.
If you're a true homebody and settling in a new city or even planning a night on the town sounds dreadful, host some events in your home. Consider inviting a few single friends over for a dinner party or a game night or to help you paint your living room a new color. The added bonus is that by playing hostess, you'll get to display some of your unique talents in a very obvious and complimentary way. It's a lot harder to let a guy know you're a great chef if you always meet at restaurants. Challenge everyone to bring one person of the opposite sex that will be new to the group. That way everyone has the chance to meet someone new.
When you do meet someone special, make a point to spend time as a couple with your mentors. Getting input from a seasoned married couple will help keep your dating relationship on the right track, and if he's not a good fit, spare you a lot of heartache and wasted time. If what you're after is a strong healthy marriage relationship, strong healthy relationships within your Christian community are the best way to get there.
Copyright 2009 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.