Meeting Someone: the People You Know

Meeting Someone: the People You Know

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Candice kind of beat me to the punch on this one in her Boundless Answers column this week, but along with going to the right places, meeting someone is also about knowing the right people.

Let me start with a story. Four years ago, my sister moved into a rental house with a girl she had taken ballet with since childhood. Because my sister lived in the small town where we grew up, our families had been acquainted for more than 10 years.

Shortly after Bekah moved in with her friend, the girl's older brother began stopping by often, fixing things around the house, joining them for movie nights and helping to make dinner. He and Bekah hit it off, and their relationship grew quickly. As she got to know him, she learned that he had been investing his time in a men's Bible study and planning and praying for a wife. In short, she discovered he was much different than the person she had known as her friend's brother years before. They began dating and married less than a year later. Bekah never imagined that her friendship with a fellow dancer would lead her to her amazing, godly husband.

This is just one story of many I've heard where a couple met through a sibling, friend, parent, coworker, grandmother or mentor. True, people in your life may not always seem motivated to set up the singles they know. However, knowing people leads to knowing other people. Investing in all the relationships in your life and being open to new friends expands your network, increasing the number of people you meet.

In his column "Fishing in Other Ponds" John Thomas encourages guys, saying:

Don't be shy about getting help and using your network of friends and family to get introduced to girls they think might be a good fit for you. Even in your small church, there are probably people who have friends from work or other churches who have daughters to whom they could introduce you. Let them know you're hoping to meet a marriage-minded girl who loves Jesus and that you'd appreciate any help. You never know how God might use such a network.

Of course, you shouldn't view friendships simply as a means to possibly meeting someone, but the bottom line is that developing close relationships with the people God has placed in your life is one of the most natural ways to meet a potential spouse. And it stands to reason that people you like would know other people you would like.

Now for a disclaimer: As many of you have pointed out in response to my previous post, going places and knowing people does not guarantee that you will meet a spouse. You may meet him or her in a way entirely unexpected. Or you may be in a holding pattern. But there is a God-part and a you-part when it comes to meeting someone. When you pray for a job, you fill out applications and go to interviews. In a similar way, when you pray for a spouse, you should frequent places where a spouse might be and know people who could possibly introduce you to someone compatible.

How have you seen the "people you know" concept come into play in your own romantic life or the life of someone you know?

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  • Comment by  Corwin:

    Hmm...I'm starting to find it almost amusing how much contradictory dating advice is out there.

    You should focus on your interests and the work you believe God has called you to while trusting him for a spouse; but also frequent places where potential spouses could be, pursue marriage as you would a job, and constantly try new things so you meet new people.

    You should keep busy while single; but not too busy because you need have room in your life in case someone comes along.

    You should desire to be married, make life and financial decisions with marriage in mind, and constantly be on the lookout for a spouse; but you shouldn't be obsessed with marriage because God's love alone should be sufficient for your happiness.

    When choosing a spouse, you should be realistic and not have too many expectations or desires; but you should also only marry someone you can't live without and should never settle.

    Whew. I can see why some of the people on here are saying the whole process is exhausting! I get a headache just thinking about it.

  • Comment by  SuzanneHadleyGosselin:

    Corwin #1: I see what you mean. But it's less a formula; more common sense.

  • Comment by  Johnathan:

    Re: #1 Corwin

    Everything you listed is not contradictory; it's holistic.  If you really believe all those things are truly contradictory, and you applied that same standard to the rest of your life, you wouldn't be able to function.

  • Comment by  sarah:

    Corwin, I agree with you 100% - everyone gives different advice and it's all contradictory! Furthermore, when you dig a bit deeper it becomes apparent that the advice that most married people give is based entirely on what 'worked' for them ie. my best friend's parents meet at a bible study so they think that she should go to more bible studies to meet someone.

    It's understandable that people give advice based on their own experience because that it is what's 'true' for them but it's pretty confusing and unhelpful for those of us who want to get married, can't see any prospects on the horizon and don't know what to do.

    My conclusion is that the best thing to do is to ignore all the well-intended advice, follow the principles in the Bible in as much as they apply to dating situations and then go with your instincts.

  • Comment by  Kelly1:

    Hmmm... the "people I know"... well, everyone from my core circle of friends (including their siblings) have now married each other!  

    I suspect the main reason for that is that I am best friends with my sisters and cousins (church families tend to have a lot of kids) so there are no dating possibilities there.

    Plus, because the circle of friends is so big now (spouses, children) it's really quite closed to adding anyone new.  

    Note: No, there were no cousins marrying or anything like that.  The youth group we grew up in turned out to have everyone pretty much marry each other.  

    ---

    A beautiful lady I work with recently set me up with a young man from her church.  I appreciated that SO much (even though we didn't hit it off) because at least I got to meet a single, Christian male!

  • Comment by  Sean:

    Corwin,

    Yes to all of the above. Not contradictory, though. Balance and maturity take hard work.

  • Comment by  Spunky:

    Suzanne, your advice is wonderful!

    When it is time for me to consider marrying someone I will do this. However my issue with finding some as a mate is the manner of common interest.

    The few Christian men I met tend to have little in common except for faith in Christ.  

    If I could find a Christian man with an interest in crafts and fursuiting with a gentle temperment. I will be happy!

    (Also one whom I'm attracted to)

    ^^

  • Comment by  Nicole:

    It really can feel like you just can't win no matter what you do, and the sad reality is that it just might be true, but try not to let this get you down because you just might have that once in  blue moon encounter even against all odds. I guess that is called hope.

    lol in my case I've had more than a few of my best freinds say to me ' I just wish I knew of a guy for you, but I don't know of anyone!"  *sigh* Thanks for trying at least!

  • Comment by  Kellie:

    While I didn't meet my husband by conventional means (we met on a dating website) we did help my cousin and her husband get together by inviting her to our bible study.

  • Comment by  adeline:

    Kelly, I have a similar problem. Many of the people I know have married each other. I am at a point where all the friends I hanged out with from church have either moved on to other cities, towns, churches or gotten married. My current friends are all much younger than I am. I would definitely need God's divine intervention here. My sisters both not born again are constantly suggesting to their friends to hook me up but the offer is always graciously declined.I know God WILL do it in the end, in a way that I least expect. Waiting can be hard isn't it? I feel like I have done all that I need to do by being social or going to places where I would meet Godly men but nothing has happened yet. In the mean time, I continue to thank God for him because he IS out there somewhere and one of these fine days, God will bring us together.

  • Comment by  lovestruck:

    7 years ago, I struck up a friendship with a nice, Godly young man via an Internet message board. We had alot in common, like precious faith and unified doctrine. We became very good friends and I eventually visited his church. My family became friends with his family, I became close to his sister and I would come visit periodically... eventually being invited to his wedding. :)

    4 years ago, I was visiting. There was a gathering of young adults at my friend's house. Meeting many people, and there was one young man that I had a little conversation with. No bright lights from heaven, but we agreed on a couple things and then forgot about each other.

    2 years ago, I was worried because I heard through the grapevine that this young man- still only an acquaintance to me- had a life-threatening medical emergency. I sent him a quick facebook message to express concern and see how he was doing. He responded so enthusiastically and we started talking... and talking. After a few months of talking online, the contact petered out. Through various circumstances of where he was in life, where he was with his family, where he was in church and school and ministry, we would often go months without any contact. And then months with alot of "friendship-building" with phone conversations, but never actually pursuing a relationship, our interest was continually growing. It was a continual struggle to give the situation (and its impossibilities) to the Lord.

    1 1/2 months ago our friendship was restored, vibrant and "interested" as ever.

    1 month ago, we began dating. Intensely pursuing the possibility of marriage. Seeking the will of God. Wooing one another. Falling in love with each other, though now we realize - it was like we've been falling in love for the last 2 years and have never admitted it, to ourselves or to each other.

    We think about the possibilities... of me never having met the first friend via the Internet, of never having had that first conversation, of never having that life-threatening condition that motivated me to send the first message, of never wanting to fight enough for our friendship...

    But throughout the "what ifs," the hand of God is evident. He used the random meetings, the like precious faith of friendships that I had which I never thought would lead to marriage.... He orchestrated something so incredibly beautiful and brought to me a man that loves Christ intensely, loves me passionately and is committed to honoring God above all else.

    To God be the glory.

  • Comment by  Ashley:

    Corwin (#1), I'm with you. :P Frankly, any couple that manages to meet, marry and have kids in today's church environment ought to be given a medal!

    I think the big takeaway here is - don't be stingy with your friends and don't be shy to form real connections with people. My constant Emma Woodhousing while single drove my Mom to distraction: "How are you ever going to meet the right guy when you keep introducing them to other women!?" Althought there was a time or two, that my toes got a little stomped, generally it was worth it. My line of thought was always that just because I wasn't interested in seeing someone didn't make them not a candidate for another girl --- aaaand I would have appreciated someone helping me out, so why not do unto others and such? :) I Looooove helping people find romantic connections -- and I've been called just about every matchmaking slur you can find. ;) But that's who I am! I love love!

    As an extrovert, and someone who loves hosting, I really enjoy bringing together new people, forming new connections and giving people an opportunity to expand their social circles. The honest truth, though, is that most people are not very good at the art of the set-up. Women will casually remark "Oh I think you should meet so-and-so" but will never arrange for the people involved to meet up. Or they'll invited two people to the same party and then never see to it that they connect with one another. People who had an easy time dating, or married young to someone they met in their daily path (for example, in college) are particularly bad at gracefully making introductions -- and so it becomes easy to become frustrated with their attempts. Just as singles sometimes need some coaching in being introduced to eligible folks, sometimes people in a position to do the introduction need to be coached on how to introduce people to one another!

    I think that it's important to remember that just putting two people in the same geographical location is sometimes not enough -- especially if one or both parties are shy. Intentionally introduce people, along with something they have in common to give them somewhere to start from. "Hey Jamie, this is Ted, We met at work and he really enjoys mountain climbing, also! I wonder if you guys have ever climbed the same places?" Then foster the conversation for about a minute to make sure it's clicking along and find a good reason to scram to somewhere else in the room.

    The other frustrating thing (from the flip side of the learning equation) is if you've got someone you're trying to introduce to people... and they consistantly don't show. There was a fellow I was trying to introduce to a buddy of mine a while back, but whenever they were going to be at the same place at the same time, he'd bounce. I don't know if it was nerves, or just a series of unfortunate events, but he never so much as said hello! I've also been trying to get some single girls to show up at my small group - there are a few very smart, very interesting, very pretty men who regularly attend -- but no matter how many times I invite my girls, they don't show! Merp! And it's not like this is a class you need to enroll in, or a club you need to join, it's just a matter of showing up.

  • Comment by  Ria:

    Recently the pastor of the church I've been going to thoroughly embarrassed the one single young man there by introducing him to me and saying, "Sa, yujin ni natte kudasai (So, go be bosom friends)!" The poor fellow has been carefully avoiding me for the past 4 months, but last week he happened to sit nearby so I said "good morning" and oh! His face just lit up!

    I won't be in the area much longer and I'm not currently "in the market" as it were for a spouse, but that bright smile made me grateful to the pastor for introducing us, even if we don't exactly become "bosom friends" :P

  • Comment by  mrsm:

    I have a question for my single brothers and sisters. What do you think is the most sensitive way for a married couple to broach this topic with single friends? My husband and I know plenty of single christian men and women, but have been aprehensive to suggest setting them up with each other, because in the past we've been scolded for doing do (singles who say they're frustrated with married people who are always just trying to "fix them" or others say that blind dates are awkward, etc.) Ideally it would be great for singles to bring up the topic themselves (like Suzanne suggested...letting friends and family know that it's okay to set you up and also let them know what you're looking for in a spouse so they get an idea!)  I just don't want to be too pushy with my single friends and come off insensitive.  Any ideas? Also, what's the best way to execute the introduction?  Exchange email addresses or phone numbers?  Just give the guy the information so he can initiate?  Meet up for dinner with them? And if so, do you tell both parties or just the guy so he can initiate? And if you do the dinner, can anyone speak to this experience? Is it weird because everyone in the room knows the purpose of the dinner?  Any suggestions or stories from experience are welcome!

  • Comment by  Gina:

    Mrs_M, that is a really good question.

    I would say: Ask your friends directly. Lay the cards on the table: "How do you feel about setups? Would you be interested in an introduction to someone, or would you prefer that I didn't do that?" Make them feel you're putting them in charge and that you'll abide by their wishes. Then you'll know exactly how to proceed in each case.

    We mess up so many things in relationships, including friendships, because we simply don't communicate. Don't be afraid to ask a direct question. I think your single friends will appreciate it. I would.

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