I’m a 21 year old female who feels ready to date and pursue marriage. Am I sinning if I feel impatient for this to happen? What insight would you offer to someone like me who wants to keep a balanced perspective in regards to this stage? I don’t want to obsess. I want to understand and express my desires in ways that honor God.
Of course you feel impatient! You have been waiting the better part of a decade since puberty hit to get this particular train the heck out of the station. And that is the proper reaction. You are a grown person and you have taken the time to actually consider that you are ready (your maturity is to be applauded there), so it makes sense that you are ready to get going.
You are way ahead of this Christian culture that wants people to be afraid of dating flee from it for fear of making a *gasp* mistake. A lot of Christians talk like God is anti-relationship and anti-dating, so you have to be very careful about it so as not to annoy Him too much. God gave you the desire to have a relationship. This is the God who said “it is not good for man to be alone” and “go forth and multiply.” This is the God who put the Song of Solomon in His book.
God wants to address your desire for relational fulfillment. He want to address your need for sexual fulfillment (the theological term: horniness). He wants to meet those needs through marriage. And since the way people in this culture move towards marriage is dating, then I think it is fair to say that God wants you to date.
Impatience is not a sin. Patience is a godly virtue (Galatians 5:22-23) and something we definitely want to cultivate in ourselves. Here is the thing: you can’t practice patience unless you feel impatient. Feelings, in general, are neither good nor bad, they just are. What you do with that feeling is what is good or bad.
If your impatience leads you to immediately marry the first guy who asks you out, that’s probably not wise. If your impatience leads you to panic that God will never hook you up and starting to just look to start having casual sex to feel some intimacy, that’s bad. If it is the catalyst for you plucking up the courage to ask that cute guy in the Bible study if he wants to go get a cup of coffee, that is good.
Balance is a fine goal, but it may not look like you think. No group is more obsessed with dating than people who are not dating. Taking some active steps to be in a relationship (asking someone out, joining a dating site, etc) will help you with finding that balance.
Dating is a normal part of being a young adult. That is a balanced view. The unbalanced view is that dating is a mysterious, scary thing that ruin your life and tear pieces of your heart asunder. That is nuts! It is a cup of coffee and maybe some smooching, not a trial of biblical proportions. Stay in prayer, have clear conversations about your boundaries, and know who are in the Lord; and you will be fine.
-Matt from The Bridge