I greatly appreciate the fact that the Sojourn is online. I am doing an internship away this semester, and it has allowed me to keep up with all the happenings on campus. As I was casually reading the newest articles today, I found one that caught my attention entitled, ‘Let’s play a love game, IWU.’ My initial thought was that maybe there was some cheesy game show type event on campus involving some of the famous “IWU couples”. But I was absolutely appalled as I read through the article and found out that the real story, in summation, is that IWU is getting its very own dating website. I read the comments to see if there was one clarifying that it was a joke, but alas, the other readers were just as confused as I was. I checked the date to see if it had come out on April first, but no, it did not seem to be an April Fools Day joke. I am forced to face the reality that this story is legitimate.
Hear me out: I am not in any way bashing dating websites. I know of several strong, God-centered couples that met through a dating service and are now happily married. This is also not a tirade from another bitter single girl who hates everyone in a relationship until she gets a boyfriend. But I am bothered by the idea of a dating service for IWU students for several reasons. First, the communicated premise of the website is not uplifting to the body of Christ or to those who are single. I agree that the whole notion of “ring by spring” gets a little bit annoying. But to be “heartbroken, single, and desperate” is slightly, no, completely melodramatic, and any person, guy or girl, who feels that way should be given a dose of reality. If a person cannot be happy for his or her friends who are getting a “ring by spring”, that is a heart issue of selfishness and shows a lack of contentment in Christ. It is natural to feel pressure when it seems like all the people in one’s friend circle start to get hitched, but at the end of the day a person’s self-worth is not determined by a relationship status. If in singleness a person is “desperate”, that is an indicator of a heart not right with Jesus nor at rest in Him. It is perfectly normal to desire (and there is a huge difference between desperation and desire) a relationship and companionship, and for goodness’ sake we all know we are hormonal young adults, but as Christians ridding ourselves of desperation and heartbrokenness should not be our first incentive in entering into any relationship. Our first incentive for relationship must be the glorification of God; otherwise people are only a means to filling a void that will never be satisfied until our hearts are at rest in the Lord. I greatly appreciated the scripture reference given by a student with the alias of ‘just a thought’ in the article’s comment section. He or she quoted Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, and 8:4, which say, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” We (and I purposefully include myself because this is a lesson that I have had to learn and must continue to practice) are called to first and foremost be content in the Lord. If we trust Him, we know that He will take care of every need and desire in His timing and in accordance with His will. If His timing is not for right now, it will not matter how hard we try to push His hand. Even the most wonderful person in the whole world could not make us feel at peace.
Second, the notion that anyone who does not have a “ring by spring” is a spinster-in-the-making is archaic. If a person is lucky enough to find his or her best friend and true love in college, that is great! Get married and be fruitful and multiply! But if not, is all hope lost? Is my self-worth suddenly deflated due to my “single” status on Facebook? No! We are young, people. Our brains have not even fully developed yet! Rejoice in getting a few years to get settled, get a job, and pay off college debt, while at the same time rejoicing for friends who are getting married and starting a life with their love.
Finally, the idea that “having a network like this saves time, finding good relationship and friendship options for you, instead of having to actively search for them yourself through time-consuming, potentially awkward socialization” is just plain lazy. Get off Facebook, leave the dorm room, and go sit in McConn and talk to people. Go to a sports event. Do the legwork! If a relationship is based on convenience and ease it is doomed to fail. Relationships are hard. They take work. Starting them takes work. Keeping them takes even more work. But it is all that work that makes them worth it in the end. It is all that work that makes every moment you share with your friend(s) or significant other even sweeter. And let’s face it, the “potentially awkward socialization” is the best part. A guy might get an awkward rejection from his crush, but down the road when the next girl says yes (when he asks her out to her FACE) it will make the victory even more enjoyable. Two people might have a completely awkward moment in class or in the dorm, but laughing over that awkward moment might just be the foundation to a lasting friendship. Yeah, it would be so nice for a service to tell me who I am compatible with, but that just does not sound like fun to me. Part of life is figuring out who I am and who I want to be, and figuring out who I want in it, all centered around knowing who God is and what He has called His children to do and be. I do not want a service to do all of that for me.