The Benefits of a Dinner Party, and Other Creative Meeting Places

Coffee cupIf you're burned out on the personals and typical internet dating sites, tired of meeting people who aren't good matches, but still hope to get married, there are some creative things you can do to improve your prospects. When it comes to finding a spouse, magazines, popular radio and TV personalities offer advice that are, at best, void of faith, and at worse, embarrassing or manipulative. At the other end of the spectrum are churches and sources of religious advice. They too often curtail their message, leaving many to conclude the most aggressive thing they can do to speed up the process is pray harder. And praying is a great place to start. But beyond that, what, if anything, can a single person do to pursue marriage?

Get out there.You don't have to go to every singles event in town to feel like you're making a worthy effort. Look instead for activities you enjoy. Pursue hobbies, attend church meetings, go to a book club or sporting event—whatever interests you. You're more likely to find someone with similar interests if you're engaged in an activity you both enjoy when you meet. If, on the other hand, you go to events or places you dread just because you think available potential mates will be attending, the people you meet there probably won't thrill you either.

Be discerning. Even if you enjoy an occasional glass of wine, I would never suggest bars or other potentially seedy hangouts as a place to start a meaningful relationship. Loud music, sensual dancing and excessive drinking and smoking aren't generally the recipe for a substantial relationship foundation.

Entertain in your home. If you're a true homebody and a night on the town sounds dreadful, host some events in your home. Consider inviting a few single friends over for a dinner party or game night, or host an extreme makeover party and get your friends in on the action—with a few gallons of paint, you can give your living room (or whole house) a face lift with the opportunity to grow closer in the process.

The added bonus is that by playing host or hostess, you'll get to display some of your unique talents in a very obvious and complimentary way. Guys, girls are impressed when a man takes care of his home, demonstrating stewardship. Likewise, men are attracted to women who show traditional nurturing and homemaking skills. To make the night even more interesting, challenge everyone to bring one person of the opposite sex that will be new to the group. That way everyone has the chance to meet someone new.

Check your motives. If you're avoiding activities you know you might enjoy—especially when eligible singles will be there—ask yourself why. Are you giving in to your insecurities? Does fear keep you from enjoying life? If there are underlying reasons why you're not engaging in social events, ask God in prayer and through Scripture to help you understand why. Talk with a trusted mentor, your parents or pastor about it. They may well have insights on things you're overlooking.

Join a local church. Though going to church just to meet a mate isn't a good motivation, active involvement and investment in the body can provide wonderful relationship help, both in how to relate with God and with people.

Look for a body that encourages and celebrates marriage. Does the singles group have high turnover as members marry, or are people stuck there for life? Are you meeting spiritually mature singles? Is there a vibrant, sizeable percentage of the congregation that is single? Or are you the only one? Even if you are, that's not all bad. What about the older members? They likely have sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, cousins, etc. they could introduce you to. Remember the importance of intergenerational relationships and the power of networking.

State your intentions. Do the people in your life know you desire marriage? Do they know the qualities you're seeking in a mate? They might be willing accomplices in the search — and even helpful ones at that — if they do. Don't be afraid to admit your desire for marriage. It's a high calling. The Bible gives two possible paths for singles: lifelong celibate service and marriage. If you're not on the first road, live with intentionality toward the second. It will make the journey more enjoyable and the destination more probable.