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Asking the clergy about finding a mate

Valentine'sDay -- how it strikes sadness, annoyance and feelings of inadequacy in the hearts of many a single person. If you've tried everything else under the sun to find a mate, maybe you should seek divine intervention. Our clergy share Scriptures that they consider ideal for seeking love.

The Rev. Matthew McIntosh, lead pastor, Hempstead Assembly of God, Hempstead:

I would start with Proverbs 3:6-8: "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. . . . Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. . . . It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."

We try to go with our hearts when it comes to finding a mate, but the heart isn't always reliable. You may have your own threshold and timeline, but it may not be God's timeline for you. You have to be able to submit to him in all things.

Dating is not in any way a scriptural process. It is a basically young idea. People got married for thousands of years without dating, which trains us for divorce. You date someone, have strong emotions toward that person, and then you break up. Do that two or three times, and you begin to think of relationships as always ending in a breakup. Your heart can become calloused.

I'd also recommend Jeremiah 17-9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" That simply means that our emotions or an infatuation can trick us into thinking we're in love. That's why it is important to pray and trust God to lead you. Sometimes, that may mean that you're single longer than you want to be.

Finally, 2 Corinthians 6:14: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what communion hath light with darkness?"

This is about knowing yourself, what you believe, what you expect, as well as your faith. Also, are you emotionally, financially and philosophically ready to take on the responsibility of caring for another person's heart, another person's well-being? Sometimes, we rush into marriage without being prepared for the long-term commitment.

Sister Mary Jane Laffan, Cenacle sister, community leader, Cenacle Retreat House, Ronkonkoma:

Asking God to be part of your search for a mate is an excellent idea. On the one hand, it's important for you to be active in your search and reach out for many friendships. At the same time, it's important to take time apart, and in silence, be still and to listen to God speaking words of wisdom in the depths of your heart; guiding, directing and encouraging you.

For someone looking for a mate, two Scripture passages come to mind:

"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you" (Luke 11:9); and "Be still and know that I am God. . . ." (Psalm 46:10).

You are invited to be actively involved in the search rather than passive. Some might hope God would just drop someone into their laps. That's magic, not faith. You are meant to be engaged in the process with God.

It also is important to be still so you can hear what God has to say. Sometimes, you can get so caught up in the romance and excitement of the relationship that you can't hear what God is trying to tell you. The person you're interested in may be a great date and a great person but not so great as a life partner.

God also speaks to us through others. By taking that time of silence and reflection, you may remember things that gave you pause or maybe something a friend brought to your attention. God may be talking to you through that friend.

Andrew Gordon, associate rabbi, Temple Sinai of Roslyn, Roslyn Heights:

From Rabbi Baal Shem Tov (1698- 1760): "From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being."

I believe that what he's saying is that each of us needs to be an individual and find our own way in the world, to be independent and love ourselves. We each need to learn about our passions and what we believe in. He's also teaching that there is something incredibly powerful in finding someone who helps you become a better person. You're sharing your identity and who you are. You and your significant other are coming together to make each other better, to make a stronger light and to make the world better.

It also is important to be in a healthy, safe relationship. You should feel comfortable in who you are and feel that you are safe to be yourself with the other person.

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