Looking back this Christmas – 6 lessons from dating in 2020

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There’s a saying that ‘hindsight is 20/20’ but this year has really shaken all our expectations. No-one could have known this time last year what we’d experience during 2020. As we go through a Christmas unlike any other, it’s helpful to look back and see what lessons about love, life and connection we can take into 2021.

Taking time to reflect matters

It’s likely this year has meant life not going to plan, and Christmas isn’t going to be the same as usual. For some, not seeing friends and family, or missing singing favourite carols in church, will be a big loss. For others it might be secretly welcome. A chance to avoid being asked if there’s anyone special in your life, or why you haven’t achieved all you’d hoped. It might mean missing people or special moments. Rather than push down feelings take some time to reflect, pray and share with God. Remember you are already loved.

Technology helped us feel less alone

Online dating was turbo-boosted this year, when lockdowns prevented meet ups and new ways to connect were needed urgently. When many of us couldn’t meet in person, online spaces took on new significance. Whilst online interactions can’t replace everything, they can help us to bridge the gap. Through our screens we could connect over distance and get to know people miles away – and even just down the road!

In March we launched Christian Connection virtual events and meetups. These fun occasions quickly became a popular way to spend evenings and weekends as people took part in online quizzes, virtual walking tours, poetry evenings and karaoke nights. People have been able to connect from the comfort of their sofas, kitchens, bedrooms and gardens! Look out for more, coming soon – and if you have a fun idea, why not think about hosting one, too?

Everyone was video calling!

Charlie and Deborah who met during lockdown appear on the BBC

Charlie and Deborah met on CC during lockdown, and appeared on the BBC to tell their story!

Until this year appearing willingly on a live video chat was the territory of only the most seasoned YouTubers. Now many of us could present our own shows! Quizzes, chats and even online Christmas parties have become the norm. Embracing our webcams has meant keeping in touch with colleagues, friends and family – and, of course, potential partners.

We added video chat to the site this year, and it’s been exciting to see the response. Video chat allows you to go beyond the written word and connect heart to heart. It’s a simple way to take a glimpse into a potential date’s life and personality that can be difficult to convey over messaging. It can be a great next step to get to know someone better, even in more normal times.

While it’s natural to be nervous about change, overcoming fears and reservations about technology like video chat can bring some real benefits and help break the ice in getting to know someone more before meeting face to face.

Change is guaranteed

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that change is the only constant. The old saying “We plan, God laughs” expresses a truth almost everyone can relate to. This year we’ve had to learn to embrace the disappointment and frustration of our plans not coming to fruition. Christian Connection had big plans to celebrate our 20th anniversary this year with an event where it all started, at Greenbelt festival where we still host dating meet ups. But since large gatherings weren’t possible, we’re now looking towards 2021 and our twenty-first year to celebrate over two decades of creating connections and helping to birth many happy marriages.

While change can be scary or overwhelming at first, learning to adapt and bend to changing circumstances that life throws at you can help build resilience – and this year, we’ve all been going through big changes together.

Love finds a way!

Hollie and Tim's wedding day

Hollie & Tim met on CC in January and married in June in the middle of the pandemic

Despite the restrictions, many have been determined not to let circumstances stop their chances of making new connections and finding love. We’ve been delighted to share so many stories of couples getting together this year, as well being inspired by tales of lockdown weddings.

The stories that you’ve shared with us this year have given the Christian Connection community hope at a time when we’ve all really needed it. Thank you to everyone who shared their inspiring stories of hope and love, and we’d love to hear from you if you met on CC too, this year or before.

Remember to look forward too

So, what’s next for you? As you may know, January is the biggest time of year for online dating as many people turn to apps and sites looking to connect. If you have a little free time or a lot in this unusual year, think about refreshing your profile and working up the courage to send a wave or message. Let’s take the best of what we learned in 2020 as we look forward, in hope, to what next year could bring.

Whatever is happening where you are, may this Christmas be a time of knowing you are loved.

Want to read more? Here’s 20 things we’ve learnt in 20 years of Christian Dating

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Founder, The Internet Crime Fighters Org [ICFO], and Sponsor, ICFO's War On Crimes Against Our Children Author The Internet Users Handbook, 2009-2014
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