The vicious cycle of Christian dating

Published 11:12 am Thursday, May 16, 2019

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There is nowhere to turn. They are everywhere you look. Infiltrating the very place you thought was safe.
They especially love to gather around in small clusters on the lawn. If you are allergic to them, you will stay away from the cafeteria as well. If you are not sure whether you are allergic, a couple of the symptoms are disgust and intense feelings of nausea. They are the students in dating relationships at Christian colleges.
Of course, not all students on Christian campuses are in relationships. But what do you do if you are not in a relationship? What is your plan of action when you are walking on the sidewalk and see a happy couple coming your way taking up the entire path? Do you move to the grass to not disturb them?
Public displays of affection are nothing special to Christian colleges. There is bound to be PDA on every college campus, but we look the other way.
Students on Christian campuses, like Asbury University where I am a sophomore, can handle the PDA because that is not the issue. The issue is feeling forced to participate in a dating relationship and being looked at weirdly if you are not dating someone. It is that caveat that makes the dating scene at a Christian college unlike any other college campus.
“It seems different than like what you would expect somewhere else,” Asbury student Jesse Green said. “But it feels like a lot of times it is forced upon people. Like this is what you are supposed to do, and if you do not, then you are weird for whatever reason. I mean it is kind of like a social norm thing that comes with being at Asbury.”
For many of these students, dating is not something to be taken lightly. The mentality of most of these students is dating to marry. But why the rush to get married right now? This is a time in our lives when we are encouraged to be independent. One word, three letters: Sex.
Being on a conservative Christian campus comes with a book of rules outlining the way students should conduct themselves. All students must adhere to biblical principles, including sex.
One of the biggest faux pas at any Christian university is sex before marriage. Sex outside of marriage is bad, but the emphasis on sex is one of the biggest reasons why we feel the need to rush into relationships and say “I do.” We are so worried we are going to slip up and sin that our only other option is to rush into marriage. We go to school to find the “one,” to get married — to have sex.
After searching under rocks, behind doors and inside cabinet drawers, I came up empty handed. I spent my freshman year of college trying to procure my future husband, but to no avail. I felt the way a hunter does when they awaken before the sun rises to go hunting; only to come home without a kill. I had no reward for my diligent efforts.
But why would I, a reasonably intelligent human, spend a year of my life in constant pursuit of my future spouse? Because I, like others in my shoes, feel a pressure to participate in the coupling frenzy.
If students are not in a relationship, then there is a feeling of unworthiness. But to that feeling of unworthiness I would say that perhaps singleness is OK.
Perhaps I can find ultimate fulfillment in my relationship with Jesus Christ.
It may be possible that I can respond to the voice of Jesus instead of listening to what my Christian campus culture says is normal.
Maybe, just maybe, I should be looking up instead of at the hand-holding pair in front of me. After all, I am only 20 years old.

Catherine Rinehart is a journalism student at Asbury University.

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