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Author Archives: Aukelien van Abbema

A woman holidng a cross and a Bible

Intimacy with God when you are single

I used to have a prayer corner in my living room. It was a beautiful little desk, dedicated to just prayer. It was in a windowless corner of my house, making it free from distractions. It wasn’t where I sat down to do any work or bookkeeping or any of the boring stuff that needs doing as well. It was purely my place to pray. I had a candle there I could light as a symbol of God’s presence. There was a stack of prayer books, bibles, devotionals to choose from if I needed inspiration. There was also a ‘board of inspiration’ on which were prayer request from friends and missionaries I supported, prayer letters, drawings, whatever inspired me to pray for someone or something. I regularly changed what was on there.

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Equal partnership starts in dating

The other day I finally got around to watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s brilliant TedX talk on that a friend recommended to me ages ago. In it Chimamanda talks about equal partnership between men and women. Midway through her talk, she refers to the different standards especially in dating and marriage when it comes to men and women. Where women are sometimes rebuked or dismissed as failures when they haven’t married before a certain age, men are usually simply excused as ‘he just hadn’t had time yet’.

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Playing together in the autumn-fall leaves

Online dating: Letting God’s plan work out or forcing things to happen?

This is a question I received when speaking on dating the other day in a church in London. Online dating, to what extent is it ‘letting Gods plan work out’, and how much of it is ‘forcing things to happen’. It’s an interesting question! And a very ancient one. I’d say the underlying issue here is a theological debate of centuries. To what extent does God lead our lives and does he have a detailed plan on one side, on the other side, free will, how does that work? To what extent do we make our own choices regardless whether or not God is happy with those choices? Can he work with them nonetheless, does he make most of our flawed decision making or has he even calculated those decisions in when planning our lives?

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Coffee date, woman smiling

Is there a right way to approach online dating?

This a question I get very often when speaking on dating and one that recently landed again in my inbox. And obviously Christian Connection has many answers to this question and a good practical guide to help you navigate the process. But from my background and expertise as a psychologist counselling single people, I can add a few thoughts to this.

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Man and woman flirting

Can a girl ask a guy on a date?

Last week, when I was teaching on Dare to Date again, this question was written down for me. And as I look at the question now, the answer seems so simple. Yet when it’s asked, there’s always a background to it. There’s always someone asking the question thinking: ‘really? Can I really do that?’ Or thinking of the time it backfired to do such a thing. Or thinking about friends really condemning them for asking a guy out. Or thinking of guy friends telling them: ‘It’s such a turn off when women ask you out on a date’.

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Vintage couple at a restaurant sharing a spaghetti string

Does playing ‘hard to get’ work?

Years ago, at the very beginning of my quest for sensible input on dating, I read a book on how to get a guy. Bottom line: play hard to get, as hard to get as you can. The reasoning behind it: men love a good challenge and the more you distance yourself from them the harder they will work to catch you. Needless to say, I was still single long after reading that book.

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A woman sitting in long grass

Lent – time to pause and pray

‘What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people.’ (John 1.1-5)

This lent I will be reading #LiveLent, the Church of England’s Lent publication. Ash Wednesday this year is funnily enough, on Valentine’s day. Now that may sound contradictory. Ash Wednesday is traditionally a day of soberness and reflection – a day where we remember that we are ‘dust and ashes’, a day where we are reminded of Jesus’ death on a cross. On the other hand, Valentine’s day is meant to be a time to celebrate the love we for our significant other, although it has become a commercial holiday – one that we are reminded of weeks in advance.

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