Valentine’s Day is this week, and to most of you that means…nothing, really. Because you’re single.
But some of you don’t have to be. More than once, I’ve encouraged Christian men who are ready for marriage to find the most godly single woman they know and ask her out. According to some of those women, it still doesn’t happen as often as they’d like.
Maybe it’s because you don’t know what to do. Perhaps you’ve never dated towards marriage before. Or maybe you have, but you’re still unsure because it’s never worked out (if it had, you wouldn’t currently be single).
So, perhaps I can help make it easier and give you ideas of what you could do on a first date.
What Makes for a Good First Date
The goal of dating is (or should be) to determine whether or not the two of you should get married. If so, you get married. If not, you break up.
It’s that simple. In fact, it’s so simple that throughout most of human history, people managed to figure it out without dating at all. Dating didn’t exist. True story.
That’s why dating isn’t really mentioned in the Bible. But, we can still apply biblical principles and wisdom and common sense to it.
As that relates to planning a first date, I’d say you are looking for something that is:
Public. As in, around other people. It makes sense for safety reasons, and so that there is less temptation to do anything inappropriate physically. The best-case scenario is that it would be around other people you both know, because then you can see how they interact with friends who they’re not necessarily trying to impress, as well as get feedback from your community afterwards. (John 3:20-21)
Low-pressure. It’s just a first date. The goal is really just to get to know each other a little bit more. Don’t make it into too big a deal, or do anything that will make you more nervous than you already are. (Matthew 6:34)
A good place to talk. Again, the main goal is to get to know each other better, so you want to be able to talk. That’s why something like a movie, which is one of the first things people think of for dates, isn’t really a good idea for first dates. It’s two hours of not talking and not even looking at each other. (Proverbs 15:2)
Fairly short. A first date can be good or bad (or somewhere in-between). If it’s not going well, you don’t want to be stuck together at an all-day event an hour from your apartment. If it’s going well, a short date’s still fine, because it gets you a second date. This isn’t really the time to share every minor detail of your life story, anyway. (Proverbs 4:23)
Clearly a date. It’s awkward when only one person thinks it’s a date. Also, you don’t want to play with the other person’s emotions: is he interested in me in that way? Is this the “friend zone,” or something more? Guys can avoid this by paying for the date (girls, consider that a sign); by showing interest and quickly following up with a second date (if it goes well); or by literally using the word “date.” (Ephesians 4:25)
Dallas First Date Ideas
So what kinds of dates would provide those things? Here are a few ideas:
Coffee. It’s simple. It’s extremely low-pressure, and it’s all conversation. Because it is so low-key, though, you may need to be clearer about your intentions (see the last point above.) Watermark Coffee, of course, is a great option, but only if you’re going during the week (it’s closed on the weekends, which includes Friday evenings). But really, most coffee shops (and especially the local or non-chain ones) provide a fairly cool environment, so it’s hard to go wrong.
Dinner. Or a weekend lunch, if you prefer. This might fit in the “obvious” category, but there’s also the question of where: for a first date, I wouldn’t recommend something too fancy (too much pressure; save that for special occasions). But I also wouldn’t recommend McDonald’s. Go for something in-between: an interesting but casual spot. A few examples in the Watermark area:Asian Mint, Café Amore, or Liberty Burger. And about a thousand other places similar to those.
Museums. Especially art museums. They’re interesting, and give you something to talk about. They’re also often free, which doesn’t hurt. You can check out the DMA, the Nasher, and the Crow Collection all next to each other in Dallas, and right next to Klyde Warren Park. In Fort Worth you have the Kimbell, the Amon Carter, and the Modern all in close proximity.
Sports. Baseball, for instance, allows time to talk, and during the season there are plenty of games and relatively cheap tickets (especially in Frisco, with the minor-league Roughriders. If you’d rather take part in something resembling a sport, bowling is always an option, but preferably someplace cool (like Bowlounge).
Of course, not everyone is interested in baseball, or art, or (insert date option here), so it helps to know a little bit about each other first. And this isn’t meant to be a full list; just a few ideas you can use.
For those who aren’t single anymore: what did you do for your first date?
(With help from Kevin McConaghy)