Impulses from the IYC: why being in a relationship is better

What does my faith have to with partnership? And what role does our psyche play in looking for a partner? These and further questions were the topic of a panel discussion at the International Youth Convention 2019.

Participating in the panel discussion were Bishop Gerd Kisselbach (Germany), Lars Aweh, a certified psychologist, and six young people—single adults and couples—who talked about their experiences. Jasmin Pagirnus moderated the talk. She started the discussion with some statistics: according to a survey in 2017, some 17.6 million households in Germany were single person households, with an upward trend. According to the survey, one in five Germans live alone. This raises the question: why look for a life partner in the first place?

For Adam things were still simple

“From an evolutionary point of view, people with a strong need for attachment had a clear advantage when it came to survival,” the psychologist Lars Aweh explained. “In addition, people living in a stable partnership are more likely to be able to satisfy their needs.” Jasmin (23), who lives with her boyfriend ten years her senior, says, “It’s just nice to be able to share your life and your joys with someone.” Even the Bible has something to say about the topic of partnership. In the statement, “Be fruitful and multiply,” Bishop Kisselbach sees a mission for human beings to procreate. However, for Adam it was still fairly easy to find a partner—there was only Eve. Nowadays it is more complicated to find the right partner.

What helps in finding the right partner?

Through interactive presentation software, which allows speakers to involve the audience via smartphone, the audience was able to vote on which factors they considered to be particularly important when looking for a partner. Keywords such as initiative, courage, openness, honesty, prayer, and God appeared in the cloud. The panellists also had some tips at the ready. “It is important not to get all worked up about it,” Jonas suggested, who was sitting on the stage next to his girlfriend, Tabea. And Andreas, who is married, added, “Reach out to God and tell Him about it in prayer. But don’t cling to your own idea of your future partner.”

Why can’t God arrange this for me?

Jasmin, the moderator, asked the ministers in the panel why God could not arrange a spouse for us. Bishop Kisselbach responded, “He can do it. In fact, He has already done it! God has endowed human beings with so many things, including eyes, which allow him to look around, or a mouth that allows him to speak to others. God will not ‘serve’ us a partner on a silver platter. But He does inspire us with feelings and thoughts, and creates opportunities.” Kisselbach also gave a very concrete hint: “Prayer is a proven means when it comes to things that are important to us!”

“Mixed” partnerships predominate

The panellists discussed which role the Church and faith play in a partnership. The interactive tool showed: more than half of the audience who are in a partnership are together with a partner who is not New Apostolic. In 42 per cent of the partnerships, both partners are New Apostolic. Bishop Kisselbach said, “I want to emphasise that everybody is welcome in our Church, including the spouses of our members. We make no differences for mixed couples.”

Being a practising Christian in a partnership

It is above all a question of basic and shared values. Rebekka argued as follows: “The enrichment in a couple’s life that shares Christian values has nothing to do with joint appointments on a Sunday morning or a Wednesday evening. If my partner is a member of a sports club, he or she will also understand that I have fixed dates on my agenda. The most important aspect for me in our Christian life together is that my partner helps me to get the best out of myself.”

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Redaktion IJT2019
International Youth Convention 2019 (IYC)