Lately I have been getting a lot of questions from older Christian singles who want to be married. They have been asking about what dating advice there is for them and what changes should they make to their dating approach since they are getting a little bit older.
Here are 4 Christian dating tips for older adults who would like to be married.
1. Trying Something New
My general tip would be to just try something different. Lots of times Christians hear a sermon or a teaching on dating and then assume that advice is the only way to ever date. There are certainly biblical truths that apply to dating that Christians should never violate, but “how” people date is an area where we have lots of freedom.
God has not given us one dating path to follow. The way people are joined together in marriage has changed over the centuries. Marriage is where God has let us know a lot more details. So you should not be overly attached to just one dating model. You don’t have to get to know someone as friends first before dating them, you are allowed to date your best friend, you don’t always have to be in a group setting, you can be in a group setting, you can date someone you just met, you can online date, you can go on a blind date from a trusted friend – as long as you are not violating a command in Scripture and you are not sinning.
Overall, if what you have been doing is not working, it’s time to try something different. Don’t just keep trying the same thing (or not trying the same thing) and expect different results.
2. Take Advantage of the Opportunities You Do Get
I think one change in advice that I would give to Christians who feel they are getting a bit older is to take advantage of the opportunities that do come across your path.
If a Christian guy or girl comes along that you are interested in or attracted to, you shouldn’t just sit back and see what happens like you did when you were 20. As you know, the older you get the less options there are. Don’t miss an opportunity to get to know someone who seems to have potential. If you are a woman, this can be a bit challenging because you might believe there is nothing you can do but sit back and wait to be pursued. (Read: Should a Christian Girl Pursue a Guy?)
I disagree. There are a lot of options you have, but perhaps the best piece of practical advice I have is use the power of an invite. If you want to let a guy know you are interested without coming across as desperate, just send him an invitation to do something. In person, over the phone, through text, whatever, just ask him if he would be interested in going out to dinner, a movie, or some other event you would enjoy. Invite and then let him take it from there.
All in all, whether you are a Christian guy or girl who is getting older, you have to accept that the options are more limited, therefore you should not let good opportunities pass you up. You can’t use the same approach you used when you were 19 or 20. You had more time and more options then. If you are going to error on the side of coming across as too forward or too passive, the older you get the more you want to take chances socially and just see what might happen rather than just waiting around for the other person to do something.
3. Date Outside of Your Social Box
This piece of advice applies to anyone who is having trouble meeting other Christians who they would want to date. If you are not meeting anyone in your circle, one solution is to start looking outside of your social box.
We all have a social box. We all come from a certain culture, from a certain neighborhood, from a certain economic environment, and from a certain family background. There’s nothing wrong with marrying someone like you, but you might be limiting some great options if you never start dating outside of your box.
Visit a church with a different culture. Start looking to date someone like you’ve never dated before. For example, have you ever considered dating someone who already has kids? This is a radical idea for some, but the older you get the more unrealistic it becomes that you will find someone who has been totally single there whole life. There are a lot of beautiful Christian single moms and strong Christian single dads out there that have grown from their past life experiences and are now ready to be a great spouse.
So think outside the box. What “type” of people have you always dated? Try something new. You never know what could happen.
4. Examine Your Expectations and Requirements of People You Will Date
Lastly, one huge problem that often causes prolonged singleness is perfectionism. In general, perfectionism kills productivity. When you apply this principle to Christian dating, sometimes the reason people remain single for so long is because they have too many requirements and boxes they need to check before they will ever give a guy or a girl a chance.
I’m not saying you compromise on you values or violate God’s word. But perhaps you need to shorten your list of requirements. The one piece of dating advice that I always hear and which I really do not like is “Never settle.” Of course I agree in general. You should never marry someone you don’t actually love. But I think some people say “Never settle” and Christian singles hear “Never date someone who isn’t exactly what you dreamed about.”
Our thoughts, dreams, and expectations as young people rarely match reality. When we get older, we can either cling to our fantasies and get bitter or depressed that our hopes are never fulfilled; or we can adjust our expectations and learn to appreciate people for who they are rather than pick them apart for who they are not. Many times people say, “There’s just no good options out there.” That might be true, or it might also be true that you just can’t see the good options because your standards are too high and you can’t see over them. There are oftentimes good options out there, but there are never perfect options out there.
So I’m not saying you need to lower your standards if you are getting older and are still single. I’m just saying it’s something to think about and pray about. What qualities are you placing too much importance on? What qualities might you want in a guy or girl but are not absolute necessities? The more expectations you have the less likely you will ever meet someone just like that.
Don’t just date anyone. If you don’t like someone, you don’t like him or her. That’s fine. Just be open to God doing something creative in your relationships.