Voices: Dating Trends Are Toxic: Now I Use Prayer to Navigate the Sticky World of Romance

to achieve ghost After what seemed like a flawless date, to loving someone who is already in a relationship, we both walked through the minefield of disappointments that is modern dating. As best friends navigating the pitfalls together, we’ve had a front-row seat to each other’s relationship desires and dreams, as well as the tears of frustration that often follow.

In dating, we can all feel frustrated by our own past mistakes, difficult exes, and heartbreaks. Meanwhile, we have to navigate our way through a barrage of conflicting advice: put yourself out there instead of playing hard to get; bare your soul on a first date versus putting your guard up; keep a relationship private instead of sharing it for all the world to see. No wonder some of us want to give up.

We wish we could cross our fingers and find our soul mate, or apply some magic formula to convince the universe to throw us a bone. But if we’re being honest, we know that dating is as much about the journey as it is about the end result. So what could help us as we navigate the rocky road of relationships?

We believe that prayer is the answer. It’s not the kind of prayer that treats God like a genie who can grant our desires, but a conversation with someone who will listen and help cheer you up when you feel like you’re adrift at sea. Talking to God in prayer can center us, giving us a safe outlet to process, breathe, and receive encouragement, just as a chat with a best friend can.

When we realized that prayer is not a magic formula to get us what we want, but a source of strength, we began to feel more comfortable embracing the myriad of experiences found in dating. For example, when I, Audrey, first found myself falling in love, I turned to prayer to steady my fluttering heart and anchor me in the midst of my desperate desire to make the relationship last.

For me, Elizabeth, I found great comfort in prayer as I healed from a breakup. Through prayer, I was able to sift through my complicated feelings of knowing my relationship wasn’t going well, while deeply wanting it to work. I left this relationship disappointed that it hadn’t turned out the way I had hoped, but prayer helped me grieve that loss, work through anger, and remember my own wholeness, even as I readjusted to life as a person unmarried

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If you’re curious about integrating prayer into your own dating life, we invite you to give it a try. There is no “right” way to pray. Just come as you are and have faith that God hears you. Practically, it seems to be honest with how you feel. For example, if you are angry with your ex for not taking care of you properly, tell God. If you are heartbroken and afraid of being rejected again, tell God. If you’re full of butterflies and experience a love that feels too good to be true, you guessed it: tell God. You can pray out loud, in your head, or write your prayers in a journal. Sometimes prayer can even be sitting in silence.

Prayer is meant to be honest and messy. It’s a conversation with someone who knows you intimately and cares about you. So instead of trying to piece together what you “should” feel, tell God exactly how you feel, whether it’s the good, the bad or the ugly.

Invite him to be present in your anger, heartbreak, confusion, and delight. Ask for her help to forgive, to feel joy, to be brave enough to put yourself out there again, and to trust that the right partner will come along at the right time. God loves to hear from us and wants to join us in our daily struggles and joys, and that also means going out.

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