There’s a really popular saying promoted by leaders who give Christian singles advice. “If bae don’t pray, bae can’t stay!” You’ll hear preachers shout it at Christian conferences and see it worn by women on cute v-neck t-shirts and the message behind this mantra is this: A man may be interested in you. He may be professional, handsome, and respectful. But if he doesn’t show you he has a relationship with God, you can’t date him!
I’m a dating coach and matchmaker who works with Christian singles. I’ve also been preaching and leading worship since I was 17 years old and I’m married to an amazing man who is an ordained elder. I say this because I’m on board with teaching women how to protect themselves from men who have the wrong intentions, and for marriages where the couple is equally yoked. At the same time, I believe that sisters need love, too. So I’ve got a few problems with this “bae ain’t bae if he don’t pray,” mantra. First of all, it’s mainly directed toward women who make up 80-90% of churches, and not to men who are missing from the discussion. Secondly, most of the teachings about dating and relationships within churches are centered on what women shouldn’t do. Don’t date, wait! Don’t use online dating, it’s a sin. Don’t worry about when your husband is going to come. Just serve God! Meanwhile, no one is discussing the elephant in the sanctuary: There aren’t very many men within churches for single ladies to choose in the first place!
So while pronouncing that you won’t give a man any play if he doesn’t pray may get you the approval of the mother’s board, it may also be a big turn-off from men who could be a great husband for you.
Case in point: I have a friend and matchmaking colleague who is an amazing man. He desires to be married, isn’t interested at all in causal dating, has a great job and is building his own matchmaking business in an industry where you don’t see very many brothers advocating long-term relationships. He’s over 6-feet tall, is a devoted father to his daughter, and lives his life with integrity and accountability. Yet, the first time we met, he asked me a question after he discovered I work with Christian singles. He seriously wanted to know this:
“Why do Christian women say they won’t date me? We’ll go out on a few dates and when it’s time to talk about a relationship, they’ll ask me if I go to church. I tell them I don’t and they immediately say it’s a deal breaker. I’m confused because I know I treat them better than most of those dudes who are hypocrites and players. I used to go to church, I have preachers in my family, and I’m open to going again. But we don’t even get to talk about that because these girls just cut me off!”
He was serious, sisters, and by tone of his voice, I could tell he was confused and hurt by the fact that women were rejecting him, even though they said they wanted a good man.