Foolish Fixups

Updated!
 
About two decades ago I left the grounds of the Christian camp where I was, as a pastor, required to put in my week of service (Russian katorga). I went off to lunch by myself in the middle of the week. The reason that I left was because at every meal since I had arrived someone was trying to fix me up with some single woman that that person knew somewhere. Yes, I was single at the time, and have remained so. The constant fixup attempts in every conversation became unbearable, and no one seemed to be interested in anything else.
 
One of the biggest obstacles to single people — the never married, divorced and widowed — becoming involved in the mainstream of church life is this horrible tendency of some in the church to try to fix up any single man or woman that they might happen to meet with any other single person of the opposite sex that they might happen to know. This, and the habit of isolating singles off in their own little groups, are what I would say are the reasons that many single people find churches difficult to attend and become involved with.
 
Here are the reasons why I find this habit foolish.
 
  • It is an attempt to play God in the life of another believer. The Bible says, ‘ . . . a prudent wife is from the LORD’ (Proverbs 19:4; see also 18:24, Isaiah 55:8-9).
  • These fixups are often attempted with utter indifference to the expressed wishes and desires of those who are the objects of the fixups.
  • The marriages of those attempting the fixup are often not very stable nor appealing on scriptural grounds.
  • The fixups are often attempted with utter disregard for differences in age, spiritual maturity, vocation, and education that would obviously make a long and stable marriage extremely improbable. Sometimes this is even utter disregard for the matter of personal salvation, where one of those in the attempted fixup is not even a believer in Christ.
  • Sometimes the fixups are attempted with utter disregard for the actual issues in the life of one or both people involved in the fixup. For instance, I have consistently refused dating and long term relationships with women who have problems with obesity. It is not out of a desire to humiliate them, since I have rather sought to treat them as sisters in Christ. Rather, it is because I do not find obesity attractive, and, as a gym rat myself, I have sought to keep myself physically fit and healthy for many years now. Dating relationships are not fixes for obesity, vocational instability, addictions, or personal immaturity, but rather these issues need to be addressed as preparation before a stable dating relationship and possible Christian marriage.
  • Often the person attempting the fixup becomes obsessed with the outcome, and tries either to force or manipulate a relationship where neither party really wants one. The pride and self justification of the person doing the fixup becomes involved with trying to force an unwanted and unscriptural outcome in the life of other adults, without the wisdom nor the authority to do so.
  • Sometimes this behavior seems also to be characteristic of those attempting to enhance their own reputation, and this is evident where those attempting the fixup talk about it with others in social situations.
  • There is almost no relationship with the person doing the fixup, or whatever there is is extremely shallow and superficial. The person attempting the fixup usually knows almost nothing about me first hand, and has never attempted to build a relationship over a period of time to attempt to get to know me well. This person never knows much about my spiritual history, my dating history, my goals for the future, and so on.
  • Extremely immature behavior, most comparable to those in their early teens, often comes from the person attempting the fixup, such as girlish giggling or smarmy smirks.
  • Sometimes refusal of a fixup even results in disgraceful, vindictive slander. For instance, in two of the three times in which professing Christians have slandered me as being a homosexual, it came after I refused that person’s attempted interference in my dating life. (Homosexuality has never even been a serious temptation to me.)
  • I’ve often found that the most determined people who attempt fixups are those who were married shortly after high school and who cannot imagine that adulthood, maturity and singleness can coexist in the same person. I can only wonder what these will say to Jesus when they meet face to face.

I cannot believe that this kind of behavior can be excused as springing from love, since love is not proud, does not act inappropriately and is not self seeking (I Corinthians 13:4-5). Because of this, my own personal policy is that I do not accept attempts at dating fixups, and I strongly refuse anyone who persists once I have made my wishes known. Unfortunately this still does not stop some extremely devious and stubborn people, and they will attempt an ‘end around’ around this refusal. This policy, though, is not open to negotiation.

I have heard some accounts from fellow believers on some fixup attempts that did succeed. Those who attempt the obsessive kinds of fixups which I have just described almost never follow even one of the common factors for success. Here are the common factors that I’ve noted in their stories.

  • The person attempting the fixup usually has usually come to know both parties well over a long period of time. He or she knows the spiritual history, dating history, and goals and desires for the future of both parties. There’s a genuine relationship of deep Christian love already in place.
  • The person attempting the fixup usually speaks to the man first, and allows him to call the woman, make the introduction, seek a safe first acquaintance date for lunch or a cup of coffee, etc.
  • The person attempting the fixup does not let his or her ego or reputation become involved with the outcome; there is no obsession with ‘getting those two together.’ If the two parties do not hit it off, it is not a personal defeat or a black mark against the reputation of the person who made the fixup. Moreover, the relationship that this person built with both parties continues as before despite the relationship not blossoming into marriage.
  • Finally, you never hear about the fixup except from the one or both of the two people who have found the fixup to be successful. The person who attempted the fixup does not boast about it or talk about it to others.

In other words, the person attempting the fixup in this case is acting much more in tune with Christian maturity, wisdom and scriptural love. The fixup was not the priority. Following Christ and mature, respectful consideration for the single brother in Christ and the single sister in Christ were the priorities.

All scripture references taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society and used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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