The large majority (though definitely not all) of the Porch crowd is single, so the topic of dating comes up a lot. In my job, I get to observe hundreds of dating relationships, some of which turn into God-honoring marriages. And in the search for those marriages, I also hear about the dating complaints of many young adults, both male and female.
Let me start by stating that in your pursuit of a spouse, you are not bound by the rules of men, but rather should seek what wisdom God has for you in His Word. Matthew 6:33 comes to mind, for example. You can also learn from the successes or failures of others, gathering wisdom principles learned by other Christians.
So, based on Scripture and my own observations, I would like to address some of the common dating complaints I consistently hear. (You can hear more in podcasts of our “Boy Meets Girl” series.) Here, in part 1 of this multi-part blog, we’ll focus on the first part of the dating process: asking someone out, or the pursuit.
Guys don’t ask the girls out
You hear this complaint quite a bit (from the girls, obviously). Though it is not entirely true as a blanket statement, I’m sure it is true that some guys don’t ask girls out, and that some girls don’t get asked.
There are several reasons, both good and bad, why some Christian guys may not ask girls out:
They are not ready to date or marry. If that is the case, them choosing to not date for a time is actually the most loving thing they can do.
They fear rejection. The potential fear of rejection is worse for them than the fear of feeling lonely.
A really sad trend I see is that guys are fulfilling their need for companionship with two-dimensional images of women viewed over the internet. This not only stifles their desire to ask someone out and risk rejection, but it also perverts their standards for physical beauty—based on artificial images and bodies—and causes unrealistic expectations that can never be filled by someone real. If this hits a bit too close to home for you, please consider Re:Generation.
Sadly, one other factor that contributes to this problem is that women outnumber men within the church. This is a problem everywhere; we’re not talking specifically about The Porch. But the gender gap is probably most pronounced among the single 20s and 30s demographic. Among those who are actively following Christ, the ratio of women to men is not 1:1; honestly, it is probably closer to 2:1. Basically, the male half of the species needs to step up in living out their faith. Ladies, be patient in waiting for him and be active in pursuing God.
Girls always say “no” to dates
Ah, now this is interesting. If guys aren’t asking girls out, then how is it that girls are saying “no”? And if women are so starved for dates and have such a shortage of Christian men around, why are so many men feeling rejected?
There are faults on both sides of the aisle here. Some (not all) of the women complaining about guys not asking them out would be more honest in saying “that specific guy” or “that type of guy” is not asking them out. To them, I would say to A) stop complaining, and B) be careful not to inadvertently cause the fear of rejection that can prevent those guys from asking other, more willing girls out.
Men, there may be several reasons why a woman turned you down:
She may not be ready to date or marry. Again, in such cases, you are better off if she does turn you down.
She may not think that you are ready to date. Ladies, if that is the case, hopefully you will lovingly speak the truth and tell him that is the reason, instead of making up some lame excuse (which could also be referred to as “lying”.)
She may not approve of your method. You “poking” (can you still do that?) someone on Facebook is not an acceptable invitation. For that matter, any invitation done over internet technology (social media, email, or texting) will not fly for asking out my daughters (in 30 years, when they are old enough to date). Find some courage and show up.
She may not be attracted to you in “that way”…whatever that means. I know this one hurts, but it is going to be OK. She might have unrealistic expectations herself, or you might be looking out of your league…or maybe you just need a haircut and a borrowed shirt, I don’t know. Ladies, if you know him and know he loves The Lord, give him a chance…or at least a date.
Girls are too aggressive
Girls, we (guys) want a girl. Your affinity for football is cute; you asking us out and constantly calling is not. I hope this helps you and not hurts you, but though guys might date aggressive girls, they are not likely to marry one. Guys need to initiate; be faithful and respond to his invite. That might sound like a lot of waiting, but be patient. Don’t speed things up by compromising the way you dress to attract a guy…you may attract someone, but it will certainly be the wrong guy. Please read this slowly: you will lose him for the same reason you “won” him. If you catch him with fleeting bait (Proverbs 31:30), you will get a fleeting relationship.
Going on dates with strangers
You shouldn’t take candy from them, and you shouldn’t spend extended time with them pursuing romance. I know, I know, you date to get to know someone, right? Not really…well, kind of. You date to see if someone you know is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. So how well do you need to know them? Well, you need to know that they love God and are pursuing a relationship with Him. This narrows your search considerably to a small pool of people active in your church, or another healthy church. The reality is that if you are running in church circles, you probably know lots of people who would make awesome spouses. Serve faithfully and enjoy your singleness. Guys, when someone is serving faithfully with you and you become interested in her, ask her out. It’s just coffee! Ladies, if a stranger comes up to ask for your number it means that the girls who really know him are probably unwilling to go out with him…something to think about.
Just because they are at church or The Porch, certainly does not guarantee they are someone you want to be stuck at a table for two with. Be wise.
So, guys, ask out those girls around you. Don’t overlook the faithful person serving next to you. Girls, if he is faithful and a good guy, give him a chance.
More to come; continued in part 2.