Tell me if you’ve ever heard a story like this before. A guy goes to a girl and tells her that he’s interested in her. We would give him props for his initiative…until he comes to this point in his spiel:
“I feel like God is bringing us together.”
It doesn’t always come in those exact words. It might be, “I think God wants us to be together.” And let’s not forget the unflinching, “God wants you to date me.”
Cue the facepalm.
Why is it that some Christians appeal to God on behalf of their romantic interest? I can think of three guys from my alma mater who appealed to God while trying to persuade their crushes to date them.
And it’s not just a man thing. In her book Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot shares a story of a young woman who was quick to inform a young man in her church that God “told” her they were going to get married.
Is it wrong or bad to claim God supports your romantic pursuit? If so, why do quite a few Christians do so?
It’s Not God, It’s Endorphins
I have a theory about why Christians appeal to God for the sake of romance. First, I believe it’s because our Christian romance culture has trained us to think in those terms.
What does that mean, you ask?
Well, many Christians, including many Christian authors, believe that God has one particular person out there that He wants you to marry. But Christians who believe this typically don’t say that He’ll reveal your spouse to you with a bolt of lightning. They usually say that God reveals His choice of spouse for you through natural means as you get to know a person. So, by this theory, God often guides you to your spouse through romantic attraction.
There are two big problems with this. First, the Bible reveals that God DOESN’T pick your spouse for you. To read more about why I say that, please see my post Does God Have A Spouse Chosen For Me? The second problem is that, when people mistakenly believe that God is pulling the strings on their romantic attractions in order to guide them to their spouse, they’ll act on that belief. This is what often causes people to tell their crush that God is bringing them together: they truly believe that’s what’s happening.
Years ago, I experienced this firsthand. When I was a teenager, I read the book When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy. True to its title, the book persuaded me that God had someone out there in mind for me to marry and would guide me to her. So when I encountered my first love, instead of thinking, “I should talk to her,” I thought, “is God bringing us together?” That was simply how I’d been trained to think by the influence of that book. Imagine my surprise when I finally learned that it wasn’t God but endorphins that were making me feel so attracted.
Fitting Into The God-Romance Culture
I have another theory that follows the first. I think a lot of Christian singles realize that Christian culture leans heavily on the idea of God being involved in our romances, and they’re trying to fit their attractions into that paradigm.
Let me explain what I’m talking about. Imagine you’re a young, single, Christian man who wants to have a significant other. (For many of you, this won’t be hard.) Now imagine that you’ve consciously or subconsciously picked up on the fact that much of Christian culture says if you want to be a worthy Christian boyfriend then you need to keep God front and center in any form of romantic relationship. Now imagine you’re interested in a young Christian woman who wants that kind of boyfriend.
Would you go to her and say, “I like you, and I want to get to know you more because I want to know if we might become more than friends?” Saying “I” so much might sound self-serving. You might start sounding like one of the self-serving rather than God-serving guys that get so loudly condemned in our Christian culture. But if you couch your interest in terms of God’s will, you might sound a lot more spiritual. Maybe you’ll sound spiritual enough to attract her. I suspect that because our Christian culture heavily values God’s role in romance, Christian singles respond by putting a heavy dose of God in their romantic pursuits. If so, I expect it’s so subconscious that they don’t even realize it.
If this theory is at all correct, it means our Christian culture is creating an unintended side effect: It’s training single Christian men (and women) not to take ownership of their romantic attractions. Instead, responsibility is thrust upon God.
The Godly Cowardly Pursuit Of Romance
I have another theory that follows the first two. I believe some Christians appeal to God as a cowardly way to distance themselves from the risk of pursuing someone. After all, revealing your interest in someone puts you at risk of being rejected. But while you can reject the single dude who’s hitting on you quite easily, it’s a lot harder to reject God’s sovereign will. Appealing to God CAN BE a cowardly way to try to incline your crush to engage you instead of quickly reject you. I suspect that some of the cases where God gets pulled into the conversation are cases where the person who is revealing interest doesn’t feel like they can attract their crush on their own.
But let’s not viciously condemn as a coward every person who ever appeals to God. Again, even if this is a reason why a person appeals to God, it may be subconscious. So let’s have a Christlike compassion toward such a person rather than a pharisaical condemnation.
The Way Forward
So where do we go from here? How do we take our current Christian culture and re-shape it into a more positive form? I think there are key things we need to do:
- Embrace the biblical truth that God doesn’t pick our spouses for us. This will allow us to stop looking for God behind every crush and attraction.
- Teach and encourage Christians to take ownership of their romantic attractions. We need to teach that romantic attractions are good and natural and that it’s not wrong to say, “I like you,” without bringing God into it.
- Teach Christian young people how to develop the attractive qualities and romantic skills needed attract and pursue others. The more individuals can stand on their own two legs, the less tempting it is to try to use God as a crutch.
These are three things you can also apply to your personal life. If you know you need to develop in any of these areas, take steps to do so.
Please give me some feedback. Do you think the theories I’ve described here are accurate? What have you observed in your own experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
And please spread the conversation by clicking one of the share buttons below!