In this dating landscape where potential matches are available at the click of a mouse, it’s easy to assume that matchmaking is a relic from another time and place. As old fashioned as it may sound, however, I’m an advocate of the well-thought-out setup, for several reasons: (1) matchmakers know a person better than any computer can; (2) setups give us an opportunity to share our people resources with those we love; and (3) this is part of what it means to be in healthy community.
For the sake of full disclosure, I should mention that I’ve had my share of experience in the world of matchmaking. I’ve been set up on eight — count ’em! — blind dates that royally flopped. I’ve also been on one final blind date, which to my great surprise eventuated in a husband. Since then, my husband and I have “set up” two delightful people who are now married. All that to say, I’m not exactly unbiased when it comes to this topic. But here are some things I learned about blind dating along the way — both from being the matchmaker and from being the one set up.
- Make sure both parties want to be set up.
This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised how often well-meaning matchmakers try to pull a “sneak attack” blind date. If someone isn’t interested in being set up, chances are slim that they will suddenly change their mind at the critical moment, no matter how perfect you think this potential couple would be together.
- Set clear expectations about your role.
It’s important to establish up front how involved you’ll be in the setup. Will you give them the contact info and then bow out? Will you introduce them in person? Will you join them for a double date? Whatever you decide, make sure you communicate your plans clearly so they know what to expect.
- Pray for wisdom.
It’s no small thing to take someone’s love life into your own hands, so start by asking God to guide you. He probably won’t give you the five-year plan for the people in question, but he does promise to give wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5).
- Figure out if these two people have some things in common.
It’s not up to you to predict whether these two people will click, and it’s certainly not your job to determine if they’re soulmates. But will they have things to talk about? Consider common interests they share, whether it’s hobbies, jobs, or church involvement. Your goal doesn’t need to be to get them to the aisle, but you should at least be able to envision them making it through an hour-long coffee!
- Think through whether both parties are comparably eligible.
The fact that both parties are single is not reason enough to set them up. If you have the sense that they’re mismatched but that the healthier party can help the other one along, that’s a good sign that this isn’t a smart match. It’s true that love is a mystery, but if there’s a significant disparity in maturity level, character, or spiritual growth, you’d be wise to reconsider.
- Your job is over after the initial matchmaking.
Whether the date works out or not, it’s important to remember that you’re not responsible for the outcome. Yes, you have a vested interest, but it’s important to release the couple from feeling like they need to keep you updated on how (or if) the relationship is progressing.
- Give yourself grace if it doesn’t work out.
If the setup is made in good faith, you’ve done your job. Ultimately it’s up to the people being set up to get to know each other and figure out if there will be a second date. You’re a matchmaker, not a soothsayer, so cut yourself some slack if there aren’t fireworks and rainbows.
- Celebrate if it does work out.
If it turns out that the blind date is successful and blossoms into a serious relationship or even marriage, rejoice with the couple. Maybe you can’t expect them to name their firstborn after you, but if they thank you, just tell them to pass it on to another couple someday.
While it’s true that matchmaking involves risk and potential awkwardness for both sides, the well-thought-out setup is worth it. If, after considering these eight things, you still have two names lodged in your head, it just may be time to do something about it!