Dating Advice for Singles & Married People Too

I had the wonderful privilege to have a conversation with Lisa Anderson from Boundless, the young adults ministry of Focus on the Family. We’re dishing out dating advice that is pure gold. If you’re single and looking for a long lasting relationship, you’re gonna want to tune in. Lisa and I touch on the idea of the church pushing marriage on singles, how it feels for singles to get advice from married people, and we discuss what it means to be “marriageable” and who is truly ready to step into marriage.


The Gift of Singleness

Sometimes it may seem like the church’s dating advice is all about pushing singles to get married and start a family. There’s a lot of great things about being single and a lot of hard things about being single. We can learn a lot about life in both seasons and support each other in both seasons. 85% of people will be married by the time they reach their 30s, but it’s important that we realize not everyone is “called to be married.” There are many who have the gift of singleness, and we need to champion, encourage, and support these people more. Marriage is not the end all be all. Married people who give singles dating advice need to remember this.

Dating and Marriage Advice from the Married

When it comes to married people giving singles dating advice, it “depends on the advice and the way it’s delivered,” Lisa says. “I always tell singles, ‘Don't act like the married are some other species that you don't want them in your life. I mean, it only benefits us all to have people speaking to us and relaying their experience and marriage advice.’”

Lisa continues, "That said, when it comes to saying like, ‘Okay, let me tell you, single person why your life is so easy or why you have it better than I do . . . I hear from so many marrieds, unfortunately, many in the church, who talk about marriage like it is completely the ball and chain. I mean, it's like the worst thing that they could ever do, and I'm like you should be champions of marriage and walking through it and giving encouragement and confidence to the singles coming up behind you. I think a good amount of grace on either side is helpful for having the conversation, for encouraging one another. 

In fact, I always tell people, especially married, when you want to approach that with a single friend, the best thing to start as you wade into that conversation is to say, you know what, 'What's going on in your life? and ‘How can I best pray for you?’ Because then it gives that single person the opportunity to open up as much or as little as they'd like and to enter into prayer on behalf of a friend who truly desires a relationship and desires marriage.”


Are you Marriageable?

Being marriageable can be defined as being a person who is single and available to be married, Lisa explains. It’s about people who are in a  position to be married. They are an adult, they are contributing to society, they are plugged into a local church. Some questions you can ask are Do you have a job? Are you a person that has worked on other relationships in your life? Do you honor your parents? Do you keep your commitments? Have you dealt with that baggage in your past that is going to creep into your marriage whether you want it to or not?

Lisa adds, “People say they love Boundless so much because it's their people and they're like, I just want to listen to Boundless. And I'm like, that's fantastic. But here's what you really need to do. You need to get into a church in your town that is going to be up in your grill, real eyes on you, to be in your business and help you move towards maturity in Christ. And so to go after that and be the person who wants to serve and wants to be spoken into and poured into is the person who can move towards marriage and become a viable part of a God honoring couple.”

Finding your Special Person God Designed for You

If you look in scripture, people did some crazy things to get a spouse. They didn't sit around waiting for God to mystically show a sign for this person. I mean, they enlisted other people to help them find a spouse. Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife, finds what is good, and finds favor with the Lord,” not he who sits around assuming that there's one person out there that he has to elusively run into at some point, and then it'll just be magical. 

Lisa continues, “So I think, conservatively speaking, and the way that God has designed us to be in relationship with other people, is put in some good parameters for what this person is. Are they a disciple of Jesus Christ? What's their deal? Who are they in the things that matter? And then you pick one and that person becomes your one. So when you've done that, you put on the blinders and you become a student of that person, you become a servant of that person, you're mutually submitting to one another, loving one another, walking in faith together, sharpening one another, and that person becomes your one. And then you can breathe a sigh of relief because you don't have to worry about what all these other people are doing. You don't have to be frantically searching for that one person. 

Be sure to listen to the complete episode to hear how Lisa’s dating advice affects married people too. We can all grow from the timeless truths of how to do relationships right.



Links Mentioned in this Episode

Hear Lisa on her show: The Boundless Podcast

Get Lisa’s Book: The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Guide for Dating with Purpose

Hear Dana Che on the Boundless Podcast: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting Married



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