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Singles' stories

Lifestyle | Readers offer advice for young Christians on dating and marriage

Issue: "Tour d'America road rage," Feb. 11, 2012

"Christian Boy Meets Christian Girl" (WORLD, June 4, 2011) examined the confusion among Christian young men and women concerning relationships. It became the most-read article on worldmag.com last year, and many readers sent me letters based on their experiences. Here, for Valentine's Day, are excerpts from some:

"My college friends and I didn't date. ... Many had that fear in the back of our heads that if we didn't find the one during college, we never would. Then we found the perfect solution: We graduated. We and dozens of our friends found great Christian men who, outside of the pressures of the Christian college dating scene, confidently pursued us and asked us out, knowing that it might not work out. In most cases, it did, because we finally had a healthy perspective on dating-which was to follow God's leading, and not the long lists of expectations we discussed in 'dorm Bible studies.'... Perhaps the advice for these young Christians is: Don't think so hard (I know I needed the same advice) and don't read too many books on Christian dating. Let God take care of the orchestration in His perfect time."

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"How tricky it is to put any 'rules' on dating. Maybe we should instead be seeking to transform ourselves into Godly men and women, and then go from there. It's ironic the many parents from the Christian 'boomer' generation are very disillusioned with dating and enthusiastic about courtship, while many Christian young adults of the 'millennial' generation are very turned off by courtship, seeing it as legalistic and having a 'sheltered feeling.' Just from the girls' side, I think a lot of women are insecure and have difficulty seeing themselves as beautiful and valuable without being attached to a man. While God did design the woman to have her desire after her husband (Genesis 3:16), a girl is just as valued and honored by God when she is not on a man's arm. Relationships and marriage are best, but that doesn't mean that single is 'second-rate.'"

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"Looking at this as a Christian single man, 34 years of age, the problem is not being picky and waiting for someone better ... it is more a fear of not making a mistake that will end up with me being miserable or repeating the mistakes of the past-neglect, abandonment, divorce. Considering the statistics that show divorce so high among Christian marriages in America, we singles use caution in dating seriously. ... In my experience, churches don't know what to do with singles, especially when they hit the 30 mark. They either ignore them and hope they get married or push them to marriage quickly."

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"Young Christian women have a skewed, fantasized, idealized man that they desire. It is a man with the looks of Brad Pitt, as holy as Jesus, and who comes to her apartment wearing a stunning tuxedo while driving a shining BMW convertible with which to whisk her off to the dance. These girls need to turn off the movies, put down the romance novels, and wake up. They need to come back down to earth and start seeing the world for what it really is-sinful, and in desperate need of a redeemer. Christian men are NOT perfect. They are being redeemed by Christ daily. They struggle with many sins, just like Christian women. Many girls leave no room for these imperfections in their perception of men, and as a result, never open themselves up to any man because none of them is 'good enough.' ... Girls (not just guys) need to grow up and need to stop living in such fear. The truth of the Gospel is the only thing that can set us free (John 8:32), and it is to Christ that we must cleave: Only then will we grow and learn how to live fully, think clearly, and love whole-heartedly."

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"As a mother of three single daughters, all beautiful, in their mid 20's, early 30's, and still unmarried, I say it's time for the single Christian men to get off their duffs and start asking girls out as soon as possible. ... Date and date often. How are they ever going to know 'she's the one' without dating experience?"

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"When I was growing up, my father told me to go out a lot. Date lots of people and get to know what I liked and didn't like in men and ultimately in a future husband. But he prefaced it by saying, have fun! Go out in groups, double dates, and circumstances that allow you to talk in safe environments. I followed his advice some of the time, but I can now say as an adult woman that I agree with him completely. We do not have to pick our mate with the first date, but we also don't need to go out with just anyone because they are of the opposite sex. We should encourage one another to meet and mingle and not stir up feeling of competition between the sexes or even between our same sex."

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