WORLD Magazine | Couples in community | Susan Olasky | Jun 18, 11

WORLD Magazine | Couples in community | Susan Olasky | Jun 18, 11.

This is the promised Part 2 to the article from the previous issue, “Boy Meets Girl.”  Susan Olasky could have taken several directions in answering the question, “what are we going to do about the situation?” from the first article, which discussed how Christian young people are finding it difficult to move forward in an atmosphere that encourages all or nothing in mixed relationships.  This second segment focuses on what churches can be doing to foster a healthy atmosphere for healthy relationships.

I have to admit, my church does not seem to make a point of fostering healthy friendships among the young adults.  Although there is a teen program, not much was available for young adults until I started periodically hosting game nights or other young adult events.  I’m not able to host as often as I’d like, but it’s more than nothing, and I think it has been fun for some of the young people to get together in a mixed group and have fun.  I’d love to do more, and I wish others would or could step up and do some hosting as well, but maybe that’s too much to expect when most young people don’t understand their own need.

As a young woman, I know I have a need for friendship with both men and women of all ages, including peers.  I’m learning so much about people in general and preparing in many different ways, sometimes almost subconsciously, for the special friend who will someday become my husband.  I’m learning what kinds of personality types I get along with very well, what traits get on my nerves, and how to interact with all kinds of people.

Why isn’t there more attention to this from my church or in the church at large?  I don’t know for sure, but it seems like churches are assuming that young people already have a support group for that — their families.  But I don’t know that every young person is getting that support from their family.  I know that I do have a lot of support from mine, but I still miss something from not having the encouragement of my church family.

Actually, the encouragement I get from different church friends is more focused on a dating type of relationship and tends to focus too much on the superficial and not the more important spiritual aspects of friendships.  Yes, I know that dating is the accepted mode of getting to know a future spouse, but it’s discouraging to me that even people who know that I have no interest in the dating game talk to me in those terms.  I have had to be my own encouragement or find it among the books and blogs that I read.

Waiting for the spouse God has chosen for me can be hard, and it would be so nice to have solid encouragement and real friendships in the mean time.  I have the encouragement of my parents, who ask me the tough questions, but I also have the discouragement of being misunderstood by church family, leaving me wondering what could be happening differently to make things better.

How about you?  Are you feeling supported by your church family?  What do they do or not do which you think is or could be helpful?  Maybe you were recently married or are soon to be wed.  What was helpful in your journey toward marriage?

Explore posts in the same categories: Friends, Links to Articles, Blogs, Etc., Young Adulthood

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