Gentlemen of threads, if you could tell someone exactly what you think about sex, dating, love, marriage and not be judged, would you do it? When I created an anonymous survey back in the summer as part of my research for a book on faith and relationships I wondered how many chaps would offer their thoughts and experiences. Despite the old stereotypes about men not wanting to open up emotionally, the messages I’ve received and conversations I’ve had in the last few years since writing about relationships suggests men are just as keen to say what’s on their mind.
I wanted personal information, too, not just bland platitudes: whether your relationships had been simple or bumpy – or whether you’d had any; whether any of your habits were concerning to you; whether the internet had made pornography too accessible; whether marriage was a goal or not; what your non-negotiables in a partner were. I was curious about what impact your faith had on your relationship choices, and whether your perceptions had changed over time.
Since the summer a fair few of you have spared half an hour – or a couple of hours, if you had lots to say – to answer questions on what Christian teaching has helped you or held you back, what you’d like your church leaders to know, and your thoughts about the future, and brothers, I thank you! Before I close the survey I would love to hear from some more single fellows in particular. Think of it as an exercise in spiritual contemplation, maybe, as you work out how your faith and fancying interact. Or a chance to get what you’ve done, thought, or experienced off your chest anonymously. Or just to be a part of a bigger conversation about life and love.
I’m hoping the Real Life Love book, of which the survey will be a part, will be a helpful, honest, and practical companion to the life-long journey of relating to others. Whether single by choice or wondering how to find a partner, what would you like others to know? What helpful advice can you offer? What do you wish you – or the Church – had done differently? What are the challenges of being single and Christian?
There’s still a little time to have your say – and to persuade others too, if you know they have thoughts! Most questions are optional, and you can be anonymous if you’d like to. What more could you want from a survey?