After the disappointment of a broken engagement, a relationship with a cheater and years of no prospects at all, I discovered that much of what we learned in church about dating, men and marriage wasn’t really helpful.
And though there were scriptures used to enforce these teachings, most of it was simply opinions. They were opinions that were delivered with authority in a space where we were taught that people who are leadership should be obeyed—even if we disagree with them.
Here are the three common dating fallacies preachers often teach, and here’s why they’re keeping you single.
1. “He That Findeth”
When I ask many sisters why they’re not dating when they really want a husband, they tell me, “but the Bible says, “He that finds a wife finds a good thing. Men are supposed to look!” These women are referring to Proverbs chapter 18, verse 3, which has been used in many singles conferences to admonish women into thinking that:
they shouldn’t look for a husbandthey should already be a wife when he finds them, which basically means they should know how to cook, clean, submit and be a man’s helpmate
The reality is, the “he that findeth” dating advice is based on improper exegesis. Preachers use it as though it was a prescription for how one should get married; instead, it’s a description of how God wanted men to treat their wives. They were to value them and see them as a sign of God’s favor instead of property (the way many women were treated in Biblical times). There’s nothing in this scripture prohibiting women from actively dating for the purpose of finding a husband.
Furthermore, the original audience for the Proverbs was men. Somehow, someone turned them around and used them to instruct women on how to behave. My point is, we’ve projected our own cultural and gender norms on this scripture to provide an impossible standard for women to live up to, and it was originally intended to be a celebration of how amazing women already are.
2. Unequally Yoked
Real talk: You’ve probably heard preaching that you shouldn’t marry anyone whose spiritual life isn’t exactly like yours because he wouldn’t be the spiritual head of the home. So you look for a man who is in church multiple times per week, who heads up ministries and who is more “spiritually mature” than you are. let’s just say that you’re putting a lot of pressure on the brothers and could even be passing up men who want to marry you because of this inaccurate teaching.
One man put it to me this way: “I want a God-fearing wife, but I want her to understand that she’s not marrying Jesus’ cousin.” A marriage doesn’t automatically work just because you both have the same spiritual beliefs. A marriage works, in part, because you can both accept one another’s flaws!
I’m not suggesting you compromise your Christian values and morals, but you should open your eyes to measure a man’s character and spirit—and not by how many times he skipped Bible study
3. Prepare’ For Marriage
Another reason why some church girls tell me they won’t date is because they’re focusing on “preparing.” This looks like reading their Bibles, praying, going to conferences, volunteering their time and giving their money to the church. And, implicitly, their pastors have told them that if they do this, God will “bless” them with a husband.
The problem is, many women have been doing this for 10, 20, 30 years, and they haven’t received a blessing. When they ask their spiritual leaders about why their husband’s haven’t manifested, they’re told, “God must not think you’re ready yet,” or “maybe it’s not His will for your life.”
This teaching has created a performance-based salvation for singles: God will only give you a husband if you’re good enough.
Don’t know how to cook? Sorry, no husband for you.Can’t balance your checkbook? Oops, you missed out!Had sex before marriage? God is not pleased, and will punish you by giving that man to someone else!
The truth is, this teaching goes directly against the very foundations of Christianity, which says that we were saved by grace, through faith, not by any good works of our own. So if we received eternal salvation without having to prove ourselves, why would God then require you to act right to get a husband?
Listen. If you’re still single as a black Christian woman, it’s not because God doesn’t hear your prayers because you have hidden sin in your life; it’s not because God is punishing you because you tried online dating behind your pastors’ back. It’s not because you’re on a higher spiritual level than most men. There are many factors affecting why black women don’t have as many available partners as their white counterparts, but you can defy the odds and attract a husband. You have to, though, begin to put feet to your faith and take action.
If you want to have a mate, you must date, unless you’re going to have an arranged marriage!