Recently I told a friend I was going to join E-Harmony; she was not unsupportive, but she wondered why I wasn’t finding anyone in the local church. And, to be totally honest, I have always thought that someday the man for me would show up at church, and we would get to know each other in the context of service and Christian community. But alas it has been 35 active years in the church and no such blessing has been bestowed upon me. So, at some point this year I am joining a dating site.
My dear friend was not going to take this sitting down, so out came her phone, and she texted a single guy she knew. He was open to meeting someone and so was I, so we met at church and went out to lunch with our mutual married couple friends.
He was a total gentleman, fully committed to the Lord, and active in his church—a church I love. I thought he was handsome and enjoyed our post-church lunch; it was a bit awkward, but in the good first date way. After lunch we exchanged numbers, he walked me to my car, opened the door and suggested we go out again. I said that I would love that.
He texted just the right amount. Over the course of that afternoon we were both involved in our Sunday afternoon plans, he was fishing, I was caffeinating. It was lovely getting to know bits of his life before our next outing; there was the right amount of disclosure without oversharing. And then I read the words I feared, “I come from a big family and someday I want a big family.”
I sighed; my hopes were dashed. We had been so transparent from the get-go that I knew I had to be honest with him; I had to break the post first meeting spell. “I do not want to shut down what could be, but I do not want kids.” My reply was the end of any future with this man.
I want to be clear: I would not want him to change his God-given desire for a family, just like I would not want someone to expect me to change my childfree desires. Neither is wrong and neither is right, they are simply different.
I know this conversation will happen again and again, but I did not expect it this quickly. We both wanted this to lead to more and yet our long term desires displaced the existing chemistry. And that is the Lord’s work in His children—there are missionaries the world over who choose singleness every day for the sake of the Gospel, there are men and women who part ways because of separate callings and desires.
Ultimately, this is what dating is all about: getting to know the ins and outs of another person’s desires, thoughts and plans. Seeing if things might grow together or if they are meant to be separate. You get to see the hope of something begin and end, over and over again. But one day there will be one that the hope only has room to grow—the desires match and the thoughts are valued and the plans are encouraged.
That day will be beautiful, but until then I am open to the adventure and the occasional set up.