Dating is hard enough for some but for Christian singles dating with the intention to find someone who loves the Lord as much as as they do can often feel like a challenge.
During the latest episode of ESSENCE "Yes, Girl" Podcast, Senior Digital Love and Relationships Editor and co-host Charli Penn sits down with husband and wife team Andrew and Gabby Wilkes to discuss modern christian dating and relationships.
The couple, who operates a church in New York City, also ministers to young adults about pursuing love and perserving their Christianity. Through their counseling, the Wilkes make one thing clear--Christian coupling and Christian courtships are two different things.
"There are Christians that are dating and that may make a christian relationship but courting has a whole other connotation to it," Gabby clarified. "Some will say that courting is intentionality, like you’re with someone because you want them to be your spouse, versus dating is kind of like a free for all. We talk about it kind of like that’s a false dichotomy where really anyone that you’re spending time with you have to get to know so courting gives a false illusion that it’s permanent and I just don’t think that that’s real or realistic. Courting is kind of like arranged marriages and we are just not about that life in 2017! Christians can date with intentionality but it doesn’t have to mean this person is going to be my spouse because I went on two dates with you."
Andrew and Gabby met on the campus of Hampton University and while they were first friends, they became college sweethears who grew in love and ministry together.
Part of their counseling practices include working with couples who sturggle with the Christian teaching of remaining pure before marriage.
"Caring for their spiritual temples and if you chose to be sexually active then there is a way you can go about that that cares for yourself," said Gabby before adding, "We have a lot of people who are not sure if marriage is for them but they are in a relationship, they feel really good about it. They’re like I’m grown, I’ve done a everything else, um, I’ve had sex before, I’m not a virgin, and this is a part of my life that I am continually negotiating and we just try to help them negotiate that with ok, if this is the standard but this is what you’re looking to do in modification for that standard then at least make sure youre considering all the implications for you personally or you in that relationship and for your relationship with God."
To hear more about Andrew and Gabby Wilkes' love story and advice for christian couples and singles, subscribe (for free) and listen to the full episode above.