Ever have a series of “bad” dates? As a Christian with an open mind and heart, you will undeniably encounter people of all walks of life as you look for God’s match for you, but there won’t always be that romantic spark we crave.
Worse, some of us will date people who may hurt or harm us because they are not appropriate long term partners. Was your last partner demeaning? Did they indulge in unhealthy habits like drug use or excessive drinking? Or, were they a person who does not share your Christian values, making it difficult to share a life together? If your last relationship resembles any of these situations, you may want to consider taking a dating sabbatical before getting into your next relationship.
What is a dating sabbatical? It’s a brief break from dating in order to focus on your relationship with yourself and with God. There might be many reasons to take some time away from dating. For example, it’s important to take a reasonable amount of time to heal after a breakup. This is especially important after a particularly tough breakup. Let the Word of God lead you to a healthy and healing space, so that you may fully enjoy new love again.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. —Psalms 32:8
While a breakup is an obvious impetus to take a dating sabbatical, there are plenty of other life events that require your spiritual and emotional attention as well. These might include a death of a loved one, an illness, a family crisis, a new job or a change in living or financial situations. Although a healthy partnership can carry you through these stressful times, if you are in the midst of one of them, it might not be the time to meet someone new.
You should also take a pause in your love life if you are in a dangerous loop of consistently choosing partners who aren’t appropriate for you. It’s a wonderful idea to meet lots of different people when first looking to meet someone special, but that doesn’t mean that you should necessarily go on dates with people that don’t share your faith, or have habits that aren’t a match to your lifestyle. That’s why people date, to get to know one another in a fun, friendly setting.
Some of us put too much pressure on finding the perfect match though; and when we don’t find that perfect person right away, we may venture a little too far down other paths towards a unhealthy relationship.
But What Will I Do on My Sabbatical!?
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. —Matthew 6:33
According to Matthew 6:33, you will receive everything you could ever want by putting God first and all other desires second. That includes dating.
Depending upon your reasons for taking time off from dating, this is a time to tend to your family, your health, your finances, but most importantly, a time to tend to your relationship with God. Remember that the Lord has a special plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes, it is WE who fall away from that path. The Lord is always by our side, but we may not recognize that.
And so, when we are having difficulty with dating, it may be time to get our hearts, minds, bodies and soul in alignment with God’s plan for US. And the only way to do that is to consciously nurture that relationship through prayer, reading scripture, attending church services and perhaps seeking out wise counsel from a minister or trusted elder.
It’s also a good time to get involved with service work at your place of worship. By spending more time within your Christian community, you are reminding yourself that you are not alone, but instead, a part of God’s great and beautiful mosaic. There is nothing like being of service to the higher calling of the Lord to strengthen your heart and renew your faith in life and love. Plus, this may be a nice way to meet a new Christian partner down the line when you are ready to date again.
When Is a Good Time to Start Dating Again?
You may need more time off from dating if you are asking yourself questions like “Why haven’t I met the one?” or “What’s wrong with me?” If this is the case, return to the Bible, to prayer, and through your own heart and joy, God will let you know when it is time to date again.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. —James 1:5
If you have been renewing your commitments to your church, it’s likely you will eventually meet fellow singles, or fellow Christians who will say things like, “Would you ever be interested in meeting someone? I know someone who might be just right for you!” Of course, that won’t always be the case and it’s important that you are tending to your Christian life, not solely focusing on meeting someone, but these things naturally happen when you are in the joyful work of Christian life!
Even if you don’t meet new potential mates through your church life, after some time and serious nurturing of your heart through conscious contact with God, you will eventually begin to feel whole, happy and ready to share your life with another person. When you feel that you have a lot to offer another person, this is how you will know you are ready to date again. If you feel that way now, consider looking for love online on sites like ChristianMingle.com.
ChristianMingle.com will help to make your search for “The One” that much easier thanks to a large numbers of active members who all share your Christian faith, values and beliefs!
Remember, God has a special plan for each and every one of us. Have faith and soon you will be back on the road to healthy and happy partnerships.