A Dating Obsessed Culture
Laura Hays, instagram.com/laurachays/
Let’s be honest. Dating is hard, especially in church culture. Dating! That six-letter word can either induce anxiety or evoke confidence because it’s something you’re good at. As for me, I find myself somewhere in the middle. And if you’re only looking in the church world the dating pool can be small.
But first, let me talk about healthy dating in a dating obsessed church culture. Everyone wants you to be married by a certain age and if you’re not then the follow-up questions that you get are: Are you trying? Who do you think is attractive? And my favorite one is: Why are you waiting? As if I personally have decided that I’m not going to date. When the truth is it is actually harder to date in the church especially in a bigger church. I have learned through these years that during your single/dating season patience is going to be your best friend! There are going to be moments when you are excited, frustrated, connected, hurt, and overwhelmed about the perfect timing and the “is he the one?” question.
Patience in this season will be the reason why you view this journey as hopeful, fun, and a fine-tuning season. Before I decided I wanted to love myself more than anyone else, I dated A LOT! I had a boyfriend all through middle school and high school. I so desperately wanted to be loved. After high school, I felt I needed to take a break from dating and focus on myself and my self-worth. Fast forward to now and I have only been on three dates. Don’t be fooled! I totally could be married and living that lifestyle right now, but I knew I would have been settling versus choosing the best for myself.
I have also learned through the importance of waiting and preparing for “that person I choose to say yes to”. It’s better to know what you believe and who you are before dating and getting serious with someone. What I have learned through friends, family members and walking through this process is that if you don’t know what you believe or who you are, then those tough moments and fights will bring out those beliefs or lack thereof. You will realize that you aren’t able to stand up for yourself and it will backfire in the relationship.
It’s not only about being able to stand up for yourself – it’s about knowing what your “non-negotiables” are versus your negotiables. For me, a non-negotiable is that God has to come first in a potential love interest life. I know that when we have good and bad days, if God is first then we have a solid foundation to stand on. A negotiable would be if he is messy and a little bit younger than me (that used to be in my non-negotiable… lol).
Ultimately, enjoy this season of dating. Even when it gets hard, remember that you are worth the best. And while you are waiting for whoever you choose to say yes to, don’t stop living! Do things that excite you; travel, eat all the food, laugh, and learn something new. You’re worth it!