Let’s Stop Sucking at Dating

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A lot of Christians (myself included) have jacked up dating.

We’ve made it so hard. So complicated. So absurd.

My generation has Kissed it Goodbye and got all Captivating and Wild at Heart, and now it is gone. Dating is gone.

I go to grad school at a Christian university. Dating at a Christian university is the worst. Basically, it’s non-existent. The guys blame the girls. The girls blame the guys. I say it’s both (with a leaning towards the guys), but I will openly admit that I know I’ve had a part in it. We have all collectively ruined dating. And we are paying the price.

Side note: This is not meant to be an angsty girl’s wallow in her singleness. This is just a (hopefully, humorous) plea for us to stop being terrible at dating. We must do better. There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!

Right. Anyway.

I could be wrong, but I think the generation of youth groupers who Lord I Lift Your Name On High-ed our way through high school, flaunted our True Love Waits rings, and wore “Jesus is my Homeboy” t-shirts from Hot Topic (after your friends dared you to go into that evil Satanic store)—I think we have been ruined. Every youth event was about dating and sexual purity (because, obviously, teenagers are completely incapable of learning anything else). We were given so many copies of Josh Harris books. We were told some of the “dos” and a whole lot of the “don’ts”. We have been warned to “guard hearts” like our lives depended on it. And, I think, in many ways, this has hurt us. Why? Because we are so afraid.

We are so afraid of doing the “wrong” thing when it comes to dating, that we don’t do anything.

There have been guys who have, literally, told me that they won’t ask a girl out unless they know that she is the “the one”. And.I have known girls who have said they won’t go out with a guy unless they know that he is “the one”. What the dump? Of course you don’t know if they are “the one”. You’ve never talked to them before (Also, don’t get me started on “the one”. I can feel the heart palpitations coming). Guys, if there is a girl you like, and she seems to kind of like you too (if she tries to avoid you at all costs, and looks for ways to escape when you’re talking to her, probably nahh, bro), ask her out. And, girls, when a guy asks you out, he is not proposing (What???). I know, crazy. I kind of always thought coffee symbolized holy matrimony. I had to reteach myself this odd reality. Let’s stop over thinking it. We over think too much. Just go. Have fun. But don’t have sex. Because you will get pregnant. And you will die.

If dating is not your thing, and you are a diehard courtship-er. Then, gentlemen, find a girl, grab the family, and court the crap out of her.

But can we all agree to just do something?

I’m an old-fashioned, Reformed theologian kind of girl and I definitely believe in the guy leading out in the pursuit of a relationship. Now, this does not mean that I think girls should sit up in their lonely towers awaiting their princes to come. Y’all will be waiting the rest of your lives. But I do believe that men should be the ones doing the asking out. I’m sure many of you will disagree with me. That’s fine. But that’s the position I’m coming from.

With that in mind, guys, if you have no desire to get married or to get married anytime soon, that’s fine. That is your prerogative. But, if you do want to get married in the near future, and you never ask girls out, then I kind of do not feel sorry for you. Don’t complain about your singleness. You are not doing anything about it. Also, there aren’t many girls who are Victoria’s Secret model-yoga instructor-sports enthusiast-missionary-astronauts. There are incredible girls out there who might not fit the mold society has told us we need to fit into. Maybe cut us some slack. Find a nice godly girl, take her to eat Chipotle (it’s probably her life), and live happily ever after.

Girls, I understand. So what do we do, right? Honestly, I don’t know. We have to somehow find the weird balance between not being “the overly flirtatious” girl, and not being the recluse—the “umm one day the perfect guy is just going to walk up to me out of nowhere and we’re going to get married and be missionaries to unreached people groups”. Probably not going to happen. Get to know guys. Have guys who are friends (I know. This is so hard. I am a strong believer in When Harry Met Sally). Be around guys. I don’t think “make yourself available” means throwing yourself at a guy (literally or figuratively), but I don’t think you really make yourself available by hiding in your all-21 year-old girls’ small group at church and praying for each other about your singleness struggles. I’ve been pretty sick for almost a year, and I’ve been bedridden for a great deal of it. Needless to say, I don’t get out that much.  One of my guy friends jokingly said to me, “Shara, you’re single because guys do not know you exist.” Not that I’m really dateable at the moment, but the fact of the matter is—girls, you need to be around guys if you want to eventually date one. I know, we all want the Rom Com. We want to romantically meet someone on an airplane or at a fancy ball, and, hey, that might happen to you. But you are not going to find a guy hanging around girls all the time. You’re just not. Also, with that in mind, try to let go of how you think your imaginary Rom Com life is going to happen. You might meet a guy on ChristianBlackFarmersMingle.com, or someone might set you up with a friend. And that’s okay. Don’t miss out on something awesome because it’s not as “romantic” as you have planned it to be in your head. Okay, so, my semi-pathetic advice is—be your awesome self around some awesome guys and maybe they’ll do something awesome like ask you on a date.

One last thing on guarding hearts and leading people on. I think “guard your heart” means several things. I don’t have the space to mention them all, but one thing it alludes to is honesty. Let’s just be honest with each other. Everyone hates rejection. But let’s be brave, loving, and mature men and women, and let’s be honest. Go on a date or three. Not feeling it? Be honest. Feeling it? Great. Be honest. Continue this. If you keep the communication line going strong, you are guarding each other’s hearts and you are not leading each other on. Guys, not asking a girl out is not guarding her heart. You’re just not doing anything. Asking a girl out is not leading her on (unless you made a bet with your friends or something–jerk). Girls, lying is not guarding your or his heart. Lying is leading him on. Just be honest.

So c’mon, ex-youth groupers. As Steven Curtis Chapman said, let’s dive in.

Be brave.

Let’s do something.

Let’s stop sucking at dating.

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5 thoughts on “Let’s Stop Sucking at Dating

  1. As a fellow single seminarian in his mid-twenties steeped in a culture of defunct and deficient Christian dating, I’d like to thank you for this post. These have been my sentiments for years, and to no avail have I fought against this wishy-washy mindset by being bold, honest, and cordial in my approach to asking women out. I’m glad I’m not alone in my frustration and that women see the problem too!

    Press on!

  2. YES. Thank you thank you thank you for this. Literally every sentence made me go “YES!!” in my head. I’ve dealt with these exact thoughts for a while now. Thanks for speaking up on it!!

  3. Pingback: On Dating, Guy/Girl Friendships and Marriage | Reflecting the Son

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