What does my faith have to do with partnerships? And what role does our psyche play in choosing a partner? These and other questions were discussed by participants of a panel discussion, developed by young people from the district of Marburg.
The participants of the panel discussion were Bishop Gerd Kisselbach (NAC West Germany), graduate psychologist Lars Aweh and six young people - singles and couples - who shared their experiences. The discussion was moderated by Jasmin Pagirnus. First, she mentioned a number: according to a survey, in 2017 there were 17.6 million single households in Germany – with numbers still rising. Thus, one in five people lives without a partner. The question arises: Why a partnership at all?
Adam had it easy
"Evolutionarily, people with a high need for bonding had a clear survival advantage," explained psychologist Lars Aweh. "Additionally, people in a stable partnership have a better chance of satisfying their needs.” “It's just nice to be able to share your life and your joys with someone," said Jasmin (23), who lives with her boyfriend who is ten years her senior. The Bible also has something to say about partnerships. Bishop Gerd Kisselbach understands the biblical message "be fruitful and multiply” as God's creative mission for mankind. For Adam, to choose a partner still was quite easy: there was no one but Eve. Today it is often more complicated to find the right partner.
What helps to find a partner?
With a “Mentimeter”, the listeners could 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 a cloud of words. The discussion participants also had tips at hand. "It is important not to be too tense," said Jonas, who sat on the stage next to his girlfriend Tabea. And Andreas, married, added: "Put it into you prayers - but don't cling to a precise idea of your future partner!”
Can't God handle this for me?
One of the questions the moderator Jasmin asked the ministers in the group, was wether God can't find a partner for you. Bishop Gerd Kisselbach: "Oh yes, He can and has often done it! God has given us many useful things, for example eyes with which we can look out, or a mouth with which we can address others. God doesn’t hand us a partner on a silver plate, but he gives us feelings, thoughts and opportunities". In addition, Gerd Kisselbach gave a concrete piece of advice: "Praying has proven to be valuable in matters important to us!”
"Mixed" partnerships predominate
The participants and audience of the panel discussion went on to explore the role of church and faith in a partnership. The Mentimeter indicated: More than half of the listeners in a relationship are New Apostolic with a non-New Apostolic partner, 42 percent are New Apostolic with a New Apostolic partner. Gerd Kisselbach emphasized: "I would like to expressly state that everyone is warmly welcome in our Church - also the partners of New Apostolic Christians, of course. We consider such partnerships as having exactly the same high value and benefit for life".
Being a Christian in a partnership
As far as Christian life in a partnership is concerned, it is above all a question shared values. Rebekka emphasized: "The fact that being a Christian enriches a relationship has nothing to do with both partners having the same appointments on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. If my partner is a member of a sports club, he also shows understanding for my commitments. My partner helping me to develop my full potential for me is essential for promoting Christian values in a relationship."