Dating At Seminary

• May 4, 2010 • Comments (3)

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So what’s it like to date at seminary?

Ed and I are working on the relationships section of the book and realized we needed to hear from more perspectives than just ours. So how about it?  Have any thoughts or perspectives on seminary dating life you think would be valuable for other seminary students?

You may leave a public comment below, or if you’d prefer to email your response, send it to mark -at- seminarysurvivalguide.com.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Category: General

About the Author

Mark Warnock is the founder and General Editor of Seminary Survival Guide.com. He trains church planters and coaches new worship leaders at Family Church in West Palm Beach, and is finishing a Ph.D in Christian Philosophy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Matthew says:

    Hello,

    My story starts back two years ago when I first arrived at Dallas Theological Seminary.

    We had just finished our first week of classes when the school held a “ice cream social” for the whole campus. After dishing up a bowl full of ice and toppings I settled on a table that had about 3 girls and 3 guys. We ended up going around introducing ourselves (all happening to be first semester students) and why we were at seminary. After I shared my desire in mission to unreached people the girl two seats down said the same thing (I thought she was just trying to impress me). We found out we were in the same classes and started sitting only a row or two a part in most of them. Believe or not she ended up transferring to my Greek section the next semester allowing us to spend more time studying together. By the end of our first semester we were spending a lot of our free time together in groups or study lounges. The next semester (Spring of 09) we started officially “dating.” We dated a year, were engaged three months, and now have been happily married for a little over a month.

    The seminary environment is a very interesting place to be in a relationship. There is the whole weird guy thing (geeks) and even the weird girl thing (those looking for husbands). However despite those things it’s a wonderful place to find a mate who is passionate about the same calling.

    The greatest struggle we faced was that of balancing time. There is such much we are telling ourselves we have to do: church, classes, homework, studying, small groups, work, personal Bible study, eating, exercise, sleep, relationships, chapel…. and the list could go on forever. So many things yet so little time.

    One struggle that arose from this issue was that when we were spending time together it wasn’t always profitable time. We were always tired our first semester (or two). As time went on we learned to say “no” to social activities and “yes” to rest and personal devotion.

    A few other comments before finishing up:

    1) Don’t let other people define the relationship for you (or force you into it.
    2) Respect the fact that the girl still has a Dad. Just give him a call and ask to date her, she’ll respect you more and so will he.
    3) Don’t be careless with your words.
    4) Don’t make any hasty decisions (esp during midterms and finals).
    5) Be quick to say “I’m sorry”
    6) Share what your learning in class with one another.
    7) Don’t JUST study together, get off campus and have fun.

    I would write more but the sleep factor is calling me.

    If you have any specific questions feel free to contact me.

    Blessings,

    Matthew

  2. This is a really great site and post! I’ve wondered about all of these things! I’m just starting seminary and am going to chronicle a few lessons as I go along my journey. Looking forward to it!

  3. Michelle says:

    I think a female perspective might be necessary. First of all, I went to seminary for the same reasons most guys went to seminary – to learn to do ministry. I wasn’t there to find a date or a mate, and I found a lot of guys there somewhat insulting who believed my sole purpose in coming was to find a mate (though that was much worse at a Christian college). Just because a girl is in your classes, and female and breathing, doesn’t mean she wants to date you. Sometimes I found myself stalked and harassed by guys who believed that they couldn’t be a pastor without a spouse, and that had to be the only reason why I was there.

    The above poster did have a point about managing time. To the point – there is never going to be enough of it, no matter what you do. Some things will slide, and sometimes you just have to let them. But I have never been in agreement with many people that you should avoid everyone in your life to get everything done. This sets a terrible pattern for any future ministry. The point of ministry is people, and it always has been. The point of the Word is also people – it is God’s communication with mankind and the crux of our relationship with Him. God cares a whole lot more about people than about our grades. Sometimes you have to get a B or C in a class if it means taking care of the people around you in exchange. This might include a future spouse whom God has put in your path, or it might include friends who are struggling. Remember that seminary isn’t about getting a degree, or being a good student – it’s about learning how to minister to real, often very broken people.

    I disagree with the above poster about calling a woman’s father. Not everyone has the picture-perfect Christian family, and doing something like that would actually make my dad look very negatively on the guy, as well as negatively impact my relationship with him. I also have known a number of guys who have contacted parents without actually finding out if the girl is interested in them, and it turned out she was not. Always ask her what to do first, and make sure she is on the same page. If she says that would be beneficial, and she wants to date you, then proceed.

    As for what practically to do, I found getting off campus for dates helped clear my head to do better in the long run. Study sessions were necessary for the most part, and it does help if you attend the same church. Time will be a problem, especially if you both work on top of school, which is pretty much a necessity. You might just have to take it slower and spread the time out. I strongly suggest avoiding rushing into anything, as I’ve seen a lot of mistakes made from people rushing into a marriage and then finding they didn’t know the person at all. The point isn’t about ‘finding a spouse’, it’s about finding God’s will and knowing that the person is right for you. Sometimes our desire for a spouse speaks too loudly for us to hear God’s whisper that something isn’t right.

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