Christian singles having difficulty finding a suitable date or a spouse need not fret. South Carolina-based NewSpring Church Pastor Perry Noble is dishing out some helpful advice about what might be holding them back.
In a recent podcast titled 8 Reasons Why You Can't Get a Date or Get Married, the NewSpring pastor is shooting from the hip with an eight-point list to help singles get their dating lives on track.
1. It's not time
The NewSpring Church pastor reminds Christians that God does things in order and believers should do the same. Noble bases his point on Proverbs 24:27, which says to put one's outdoor work in order and to get one's fields ready. Afterward, build the house.
"God said there is a certain order in the processes," says Noble. "We've got to make sure our life is in order. One of the worst things you can do as a single person is spend so much time evaluating other people and not actually evaluating yourself, and getting other people involved in that process."
2. You want to get married more than you want to walk with Jesus
"I've seen this happen so many times," Noble says. " ... A person is in love with the idea of getting married so much so that their walk with Jesus will actually suffer. If this is true, this is called idolatry."
Being in love with the "idea of getting married more than you love Jesus" will set a believer up for disappointment, the pastor said. "Because when you desire someone else more than you desire God, that someone else is going to let you down time, after time, after time."
"I completely understand wanting to get married ... but ... run hard after Jesus, and look to your right and to your left. And if the person that you are wanting to pursue, or is pursuing you, is right beside you in that run, then they're probably the one."
3. You are bitter
Bitterness against one's mother, father or ex-spouse can have a profoundly negative effect, warns Noble.
"One of the worst things that a person can do is carry bitterness from a past relationship into a current relationship. ... That's why you've got to deal with it. You've got to ask God for brokenness rather than bitterness, so the bitterness in your life can be healed. ... If you're bitter one of the worst things would be to get married. ... We're supposed to be better together, not bitter together."
4. You struggle with impurity
Noble says that marriage will not resolve men and women's issues with porn. "At the end of the day, if you've got a porn addiction, you've got to be strong and say, 'You know what — I'm dealing with this. I'm broken because of it. I want to get this out of my life,' because if you don't, you're setting your future marriage up for failure."
The pastor strongly recommends that those struggling with impurity find a friend or pastor to confess to and ask for help. "When we allow other people into our lives, into our struggle, it really does break the power of that sin."
5. You are trying too hard
While Noble believes that when dating men should pursue women, he is careful to remind men that there's a big difference between pursuing and stalking women. Acting in weird and aggressive ways with women leaves a negative impression upon them. This type of guy becomes known among the women as "the guy that asks all the girls out," says the pastor. "Eventually when girls see you coming they're going to run."
Along the same lines, Noble reminds women that they need not throw themselves at men. If they find themselves doing so, "that's not the man you need to be with," he says, reminding listeners of Proverbs 18:22.
6. You are finding your identity in who you date more than you are in a relationship with Jesus
The NewSpring pastor admits that struggling with his identity was a challenge during his dating days. "For years, and years, and years when I was single, eons ago, I found my identity in whether or not I was dating someone. So if I was dating someone, or if I had a date, I felt good about myself. If I did not have a date or I did not have a girl that was interested in me, I did not feel good about myself."
Noble says that he was on an emotional rollercoaster, adding that when people find their identity in anyone other than Jesus, they will be let down. Not because the other person is mean, but because they're human.
7. You are willing to compromise in order to go out with someone
Here Pastor Noble speaks against what he calls "missionary dating" — when believers date non-believers in the hopes of bringing them to Christ while getting a relationship out of it at the same time.
"I'll be honest with you. It's mostly girls that'll compromise quicker than guys." The pastor explained that he's spoken with his fair share of young women who attend church student camps, but the boyfriends don't.
"They keep compromising because they feel like they have to. If you feel like you have to compromise before the relationship, after the relationship begins there will be nothing but compromise, after compromise, after compromise."
8. Especially if you are a dude ... you are not responsible financially
"If you want to find a wife, one of the best things you can do today is ... do whatever it takes to get out of debt," the pastor urges. "I'm telling you money problems and marriage problems hold hands. They're like first cousins. If you really want to set yourself up for success, do whatever it takes."