5 clues to solving The Christian Dating Dilemma

First, can we all take a moment of silence for the Christian male population? Fellas, I am so sorry. Lately you’ve been scrutinized both online and from the pulpit about how singleness and the lack of healthy dating is ALL YOUR FAULT. Christian culture loves to point the finger at men and shame them into “manning up”, whatever that means. We tell them they need to step up or step out; we put some rather unrealistic expectations on their shoulders. I’m not saying the guys are totally blameless here but I do think it’s time to cut them some slack.

If we are expecting guys to own up to their side of this apparently sad story, then it’s only fair for the girls to do the same. It’s time for us to admit that we have some skin in the game as well. Both parties are stuck spinning their wheels and pointing the finger — and this, since the dawn of time. You barely get into Genesis before it happens — “It was this woman you gave me!” cried Adam. “It was the serpent!” excuses Eve. It’s called blame shifting.

It takes two to tango. And it seems like we’ve been stepping on each other’s toes a lot and no one is having fun dancing anymore. Now, I’m no relationship expert. I too have received ambiguous texts and gone on confusing friend/hang out/coffee dates. And yet, I too am part of the problem. Girls, it’s time we stack hands and change some things:

  1. Say Yes: Do you want to know why “guys just don’t ask girls out anymore?” Because we have been saying no. It’s time to start saying yes, and I’m not talking about the ring. This is not a lifelong commitment, it’s a date for goodness sake! If he does his part and actually asks you out, then do yours and give it a chance. No wonder it’s all gotten so muddled and confused. Say yes! Let him take you out, buy you dinner, ask you questions. Answer the questions. Let your guard down, be vulnerable, speak your mind, be yourself.
  1. Say Yes Again: Is it just me or is anyone else incredibly awkward on a date? No, I know I’m not alone in this. No one is their best on a first date. It’s uncomfortable. You have to make eye contact, you don’t know if you should order the pizza or the salad, your lipstick is probably on your teeth and it feels like you’re playing 20 questions all night. We assume that if sparks don’t fly and the conversation isn’t flawless, then it was a terrible date. If you’re being honest with yourself you probably weren’t knocking it out of the park either. Give it a few goes, and if it isn’t working after that, then your free to go.
  1. Just Friends: Stop using the line “Oh, I thought we were just friends.” Or even worse, “I don’t want it to ruin our friendship.” Odds are if you’re friends you will probably have a great time on a date and it might actually be less awkward. One dinner does not mean you are committing. Go on a couple dates and if you’re still not feeling it, be honest and say so. Your friendship doesn’t have to end just because you found out you’re not soul mates.
  1. Too many Texts: What is this sick and twisted game we play? If he texts us we respond a convenient 1 hour and 26 minutes later so that it looks like we’re busy and not anxiously awaiting correspondence. Just stop texting game in general — it’s kind of cowardly, on both ends. Pick up the phone and call if you want to hear about their day. If he calls you, call him back. If he asks you on a date via text then say, “sounds good, give me a call and we can set something up.” If he likes you, he will call. Stop enabling and hiding behind your phones — both of you!
  1. No Trivial Pursuit: We are not talking here about the game. Authentic pursuit is alive and well if we would get real. We claim that we want a direct, honest, driven, guy. And yet when a guy asks us out, shows interest, or does a good job at those things we are quick to say he’s clingy. No wonder guys think they have to be passive and sneaky about it. Allow yourself to be known, appreciated, and fought for. Don’t make a guy feel less than or creepy for trying. Our words and actions have fed the flame of guys being non-committal. Be kind, be honest, and let yourself be open to the possibility of being loved.

It’s time to own up. It’s time for both of us to cross the street and meet in the middle. We can’t keep shouting to the other side waiting for the other to fix it. The only way it will change is if we both take a few broken, messy, hard steps and find each other in the in-between. Let’s be honest, let’s be open, and let’s have soft hearts. Just maybe, we will get somewhere along the way.

Photo by (Flickr CC) deborah is lola