Does anybody else find that being a progressive Christian puts you in a dating minefield? As a woman who is Catholic, emergent, feminist, and who works in an environment with a lot of conservative Protestant evangelicals, I find it really difficult.
I am marriage-minded and I take marriage very seriously. I wish to be in a marriage where God is first and I most definitely want to serve my husband. However, I've always viewed my ideal marriage as a partnership where we're on an equal footing. I don't always see the marriages of my Christian friends play out that way. Some of these wives won't do certain things, like wear a particular pair of shoes or go to a movie by themselves, because their husbands won't "let" them. When important family decisions need to be made, they defer to their husband's judgement regardless of whether they agree with it or not. They let their husbands make all the financial decisions. I should add that all of these women seem extremely happy in their marriages, and these husbands are all good men who are devoted to their wives. But when I consider having such a dynamic in my own marriage, I know that my spirit would suffocate. I want to be part of a team, a partnership, and while I want to serve my husband I want to do so out of my own free will. I've been told that makes me selfish, but I'm not sure if panic of the spirit is selfish or merely a self-defense mechanism kicking in.
Dating more conservative Christian men has not really worked out for me either. I inevitably end up in a conversation where I am reminded that my role is to be passive and submit, and that idea causes me so much distress that I always end the relationship.
However, when I try to date secular men I run into the opposite problem. I don't mean to make this sound like an overgeneralization, but in my experience secular men usually want me to sleep with them within two or three dates without any guarantee of a relationship or emotional commitment. They can walk whenever they want, and if I'm upset about that it's because I'm "neurotic" or "needy." Even if a situation like did survive the first few dates, I don't think I could sustain it in the long term without God being at the centre of things.
I've been praying about it a lot, but I have to admit that I'm really struggling with the prospect that I'll never find a husband who shares my theological footing. It doesn't help that I live in a very remote community where my options are quite restricted to begin with.
What are your experiences in this area? How do you go about meeting like-minded people?