Author Lauren Windle talks relationships
Lauren Windle is a new author on the scene who wanted to find a book that described just what she was going through, when she couldn’t she decided to write one instead. We interviewed her all about relationships.
Do you find dating difficult as someone with a faith?
Lauren: Dating as a Christian is easier in some ways. My standards are clear and loving Jesus offers an incredible idiot-filter. Also if I am dating someone else Christian, which is always my preference, I know that they don't answer to me for their behaviour, they answer to God and there's comfort in that. But dating as a Christian is also harder. It's a small community so you can feel you don't have many options. It can feel like there's a lot of pressure on even the most fleeting of flirtations.
It's not ok to discount someone because of their height.
Do you have any tips on dating?
Lauren: Don't take it too seriously. Don't project into the future. You don't need to know if you could marry this person, you just need to know if you would enjoy a coffee/drink/mini-golf sesh with them one-on-one and if the answer is yes - go on the date. It's ok to have non-negotiables, like faith, kindness, great conversation and a connection. It's not ok to discount someone because of their height, job, race, dog/cat preference, etc. These things are superficial and putting barriers like that in place will stop you from meeting someone amazing. There is no 'the one'. There are a number of people you could marry and have a fruitful and loving life with, but it will take work. God cares far less about who you marry and far more about how you treat them.
How would you sum up today's dating culture?
Lauren: "What's the next shiny thing?"
What about online dating?
Lauren: Don't look for the next shiny thing! Behind every profile is a real person with a heart, a mind, stories that shaped them and deep connections. You can learn something from everyone. Don't make snap judgements, give people time and space to relax into your company. Ideally, you would be one-on-one with someone for seven hours (that's about three dates) before you decide if they're for you or not.
If it's not with respect and honour and care, they are not your partner.
Have you ever experienced a toxic relationship or gas lighting? Do you have any advice on this?
Lauren: Yes. Run as fast as you can. Don't excuse abusive behaviour. If they're lovely 50% of the time but put you down, gas light you and knock your self-confidence the other 50%, it is not worth sticking around for the good half. It's ok to disagree and fall out but the way you do it is incredibly important. If it's not with respect and honour and care, they are not your partner. Trust your intuition on this. Don't believe anyone who tells you that "this is what being in a relationship is like". Relationships aren't miserable, anxiety-inducing things. They are a fruitful collaboration that inspires and encourages you. Do not compromise on this. You make think they'll change and you can handle it in the meantime, but they almost certainly won't and you will break yourself waiting.
How would you advice a young person to prepare themselves before getting ready to enter the dating world?
Lauren: No one's ever ready for anything. Life is about learning on the job. There's no rush, be gentle with yourself, but if you want to date - just date. If it brings up things in your character that need addressing, hit pause on the dating and work on those things. No matter what your relationship status, you will be most fulfilled when you're continuously working on your physical, spiritual and emotional health. So do that as a single person but don't stop when you get into a relationship.