Late to Potluck: The dating predicament of 30+ year-old single Christians. And what to do about it.
Art by sevelletheartist.com
Part 4 of 5
We all have that friend who’s super picky both about food and who they date. They’re the ones who look over what’s being served for potluck, turn up their noses, and walk away saying “They don’t have anything I like.” Sometimes we’re at a potluck where our dietary preferences leave us with few, if any, options (and my fellow vegans said “Amen”).
Do They Have Good Potluck?
Churches are filled with frustrated romantics who say there are no potentials at their place of worship. Either they are members of a really small youth/young adult group, in a youth/young adult group where women vastly outnumber the men (that’s a good scenario for you men reading this!), or no one in their congregation has caught their eye.
If this is you, consider asking around about other churches to visit, being sure to ask “Do they have good potluck?” If you’re serious about finding someone to do life with, only visit churches that have “good potlucks,” where there are people you’d be interested in meeting for the purpose of dating.
Finding a spouse is not a mystical endeavor. “He who findeth a wife findeth a good thing” says Proverbs 18:22. That’s pretty straightforward: Guys, you need to do some pursuing. Gals, you need to put yourself in places where you can be found.
Much like a new person at school or work will get a lot of attention, the same social dynamic happens at church. Visiting gives you license to be unabashedly friendly. You can go up or sit next to anyone, introduce yourself, and strike up a conversation. The intrigue of a new face and a new story works in your favor. You know how churches typically invite visitors to be served first at potluck? Similarly, it’s not uncommon for the new girl or new guy at church to be romantically scooped up by someone rather quickly.
Maybe you’re like my friend Daniela who complained “But there are no men in this town!” She said she’d been to every church of her denomination in her city and insisted there was no one to her liking who was available.
“Move to another city,” I replied.
Think about it ladies. We’d move for a better job. We’d move to own the apartment, condo, or house of our dreams. We’d move to attend school to get a degree that will supposedly land us that better job. Why wouldn’t we also move to a location where we would have better odds of finding a spouse?
You’re Not Eating?
“Uuuugh. I wish people wouldn’t ask!” Maritza was likely to pull out her hair if one more person at church asked her questions like:
“So, when are you getting married?”
“Any love interests?”
“How ‘bout you? You with anybody?”
Handling the inquiries into your love life by church family can be tricky. If you’re at potluck and the only one not eating, you stick out like a sore thumb. Invariably, a well-meaning observer asks “You’re not eating?” not realizing that your romance fast is circumstantial, not intentional.
Maritza was less than receptive to my suggestion that people mean well. “They’re nosey is what they are,” she countered.
“Consider,” I replied, “that if they didn’t think you are a godly woman who is either intelligent, capable, good looking, or a combination of the three, they wouldn’t be asking. If they didn’t think you’d make a good wife, they wouldn’t inquire.”
I could see Maritza’s mental picture of the situation change and her scowl begin to transform into a smile.
It’s so easy for us to misinterpret this question because we may be embarrassed that we haven’t dated in months or even years. But others asking you about your love life is a compliment, not a dig! OK, granted there are individuals who are simply nosey, yet they are a minority in my opinion.
Give yourself permission to be vulnerable enough to reply “No, but that’s sweet of you to ask” and even be as bold as to probe “Why? Do you know anyone?”
Who knows? That conversation may lead to an introduction that would have never occurred otherwise!
Rocked My World
In his raw, honest, and hilarious book Being Found: A Christian Women’s Guide to Marriage, Pastor Mark Gungor lays out some refreshingly practical, albeit unconventional, ideas that singles of all ages can really chew on.
Reading this book totally rocked my world.
Here are three (of many!) takeaways that have challenged my expectations and rewired my thinking about singleness, dating, and marriage.
#1 God didn’t create husbands to fulfill all the emotional needs of his wife.
#2 We ladies need to initiate in order to be pursued.
Pastor Gungor opens the chapter entitled “Make a Move” with this:
#3 Biology couldn’t care less about our life plans.
And yes, guys also have a reproductive clock.
If you’re reading this for the first time and are anything like me, you most likely found such perspectives very new and perhaps even a bit hard to digest. Here again we can find comfort in the promise of Jesus that knowing the truth sets us free.1
The very nature of potluck bears an element of risk - no matter when you arrive. In meeting the legitimate need to satisfy our hunger, we must become vulnerable enough to eat food other people have prepared.
Likewise, finding love is risky. There’s no getting around that - although we try our hardest!
I am reassured that the joy is totally worth the risk by those who have learned to give and receive love through the character-perfecting experience of marriage.
So you’re either on time for potluck, late to potluck, or feel like you missed potluck altogether and you’re wondering what to do next in light of what I’ve shared in this blog series. In our closing segment, I’ll show you how we’ll bring it all together – with a twist!
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Names have been changed
1 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 NKJV