June 23, 2020 marked six months after I delivered my marriage resume.
At the beginning of 2020, I said to myself: I would find a girlfriend this year, prepared to marry, and then served God within the marriage. However, half a year has passed, I am still single.
The church where I serve treats marriage seriously and prohibits personal relationships between brothers and sisters. If they communicate a lot, they would become alien in the eyes of others. Therefore, many young people don't know each other's names. This can prevent brothers and sisters from chaotic relationships, and sustain the holiness of His name. But why does this have something to do with the blind date?
I am a pastor, know and communicate with many people, but my theology teacher has already told us not to talk too much with the opposite sex, so that we would not fall into temptation. This is a protection for fellow workers. But when it comes to a blind date, I still mindful of keeping a certain distance, maintaining my pastoral identity, and not occurring cross-border behaviors and words. It is these things that constrain me. I find that I don't know how to keep the conversation going when the elders introduce me to some sisters while on a blind date.
I also find the gaps and needs of marriage ministry in the church. We exhort young people to watch themselves and to look for a Christian spouse. However, no one has told them how to stay away from or escape from the temptations of passion, nor how to choose a spouse according to their own situation.
I have no intention of judging the church, just depicting the real situation of marriage ministry.
Regarding a blind date, another problem is the lack of competent workers who are responsible for marriage ministry. Some churches believe that marriage ministry is important so they find some workers who are involved part-time. But this results in a low rate of matchmaking if the workers do not have a clear understanding of marriage nor the skills of marriage counseling or how to make introductions.
This can also raise judgment. If a brother or sister has been on blind date several times and still cannot find the right one, the workers will then suggest "learning to be humble" or may say, "this person is picky so cannot find a suitable one."
I have not experienced this, but when I communicate with some brothers and sisters, many have this experience. Some sisters have even said: "Why should I force myself into build a relationship if the other person is not suitable? Do it just because of how other people will judge me?"
The workers in this ministry are the most important component in deciding success or failure.
Workers themselves are under tremendous pressure, too. There are few young people in many local churches, and even fewer are suitable for marriage. The choice is so limited that there is little chance to find a suitable spouse. If the church has a few cross-regional and cross-community interactions and communication with other churches, then the success of young people finding someone to marry will be greatly increased.
I have walked a long way in regard to the issue of blind dates and have thought about it for half a year. This has gradually helped my goal to become clearer.
Around the time of New Year's Day, I wanted to get into a marriage quickly because I had the idea that one had to first thrive and then get a wife. However, during the first half of this year, I have met sisters from Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Shanghai, and Beijing and have been exposed to different views towards life. The thought that impressed me the most is perfecting marriage ministry and thereby helping more family members be more successful in finding the right one.
My expectations towards marriage have gradually decreased. I am more willing to take the present seriously, never feeling overwhelmed by the past nor being afraid of the future. I should live out the value of myself. My thought now is: "If God wants me to be married, He will lead my footsteps. If He gives me the gift of singleness, this is also good, because I can focus more on ministry."
- Translated by Elaina Wu