QUESTION:  Should cultural and racial differences hinder marriage among children of God worldwide?

HE SAID:  Should they?  No.  Can they?  Yes.

Depending how strong a person's cultural foundation is, how important it is to maintain those traditions, how "structured" or inflexible both may be and how involved outside entities (parents and family) are will impact how much the marriage will be affected by those differences.  What could be something that enhances the relationship through personal growth and cultural awareness can also become divisive if not accepted and respected.

SHE SAID:  It's only a hindrance if you make it so (Scripture tells us we are all one in Christ—Galatians 3:26-29).  For some people, marrying outside of culture or race is just too great of an undertaking.  From my own experience of knowing various interracial or intercultural couples, I have seen that they must deal with an entirely different set of issues than couples who are from the same culture or of the same race. 

I'm not saying it can't work; just know that it might require a little extra or different or unexpected work in order to understand each other, in order to communicate, in order to meet on the same page, in order to integrate with each other's families, in order to deal with how society at large will see you and address you, etc.  But, know that if it is God who has brought you together with someone of a different culture or race, then he will work out these differences as he is able to do in all other situations (Romans 8:28).

QUESTION:  I'm an introvert, very shy and a private person.  Talking with people outside of my family is hard for me (although I do this on a day-to-day basis because human interaction is vital for human beings).  Nor have I ever been on a date before.  So it's hard for me to know when I am being too pushy in a relationship, or when I'm just perceiving myself as being too pushy/obvious, and to everyone else it's barely noticeable.  Do you have any advice?

HE SAID:  One of the most difficult things about dating is allowing yourself to be who you are.  We plan, strive, prepare, worry and do everything possible to make the best impression.  Some people are better than others at "presenting" themselves; however, in the long run, I have found it to be most important to be yourself—obvious or not.

Don't try to be anyone else or copy what another person does who seems to be getting dates.  God made us all different for different people.  I trust He knows what He did and has a specific reason for doing it.  Why try to mess up a good thing?

SHE SAID:  Go to your friends and family and enlist their support.  Many times, those who know us best can see things about us that we cannot.  You may think you are pushy or obvious, but maybe you really aren't.  Or you may not be as introverted, shy or private as you think you are!  Does your inner world truly match up with your outward behavior?  Check in with a trusted friend or family member to get some solid feedback. 

Another option to consider is going out on some practice dates.  Now don't knock it 'til you try it, because I really think I'm on to something here.  Perhaps a friend of a friend (someone of the opposite sex who you don't know, but is a good sport) would be willing to help you out and be your "sample blind date."  Then, after the date is over, you can go over the time spent together and see what this person has to say in regards to your behavior and what you were truly like in someone else's company.  It could be a very viable option for you! 

QUESTION:  Is it okay to fast for a mate?

HE SAID:  Some of the reasons for spiritual fasting are to grow closer to God, gain clarity in thinking, self-purification, or to break a stronghold.  Fasting is an act of worship between you and God.  Before beginning a fast, determine what your desire and motives are.