Some of my most cherished memories from my college years took place in Young house sitting around the kitchen table with friends. Between our “man time” conversations to debates with the opposite sex about dating and relationships, it would seem we covered nearly every topic under the sun. In one particular conversation, and one I reference often when talking with people about dating, a not so subtle, to the point friend of mine leaned over the table and very pointedly ask, “When are guys going to grow a pair and start asking girls out?”
Always willing to lend my two cents, I leaned forward and offered, “I’ll ask a girl out when I find one that doesn’t start planning a wedding after one cup of coffee.”
Some of you are laughing, a few of you are angry and many of you agree with me. When I tell that story I frequently get all of those responses. Now that I’ve spent some time outside of the college dating scene as well as tried dating within the “church,” I’ve discovered there really is no difference and I would argue that both my friend and I are correct to some extent. I’ll begin with the guys.
There is truth in my friend’s statement. No doubt, many young men today, particularly in the church, are less than forward when it comes to communicating with women. We have broken homes, Hollywood and in my opinion the lure of video games to thank for that. Many young men just don’t know how to communicate with women. In our defense ladies, even to a clinically diagnosed “good communicator” (Communication was in my Strengths Quest top five ☺ shout out to my GC peeps), there is nothing more intimidating to me than a beautiful woman. I will stair and stutter and rack my brain for the most eloquent of pick up lines and it never comes. Somewhere around the age of 17 I had the “Fargher charm” as one friend called it, which unfortunately disappeared by the time I left high school.
Yes fellas, we need to work on boldness. We are after all, called to be the leaders Eph. 5:25. The secular world won’t hesitate to ask a girl to jump into bed; the least we could do is openly communicate with women about how we feel. Rather than keeping silent and letting the girl pry it out of us, tell her where you’re at. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have all the answers. That’s the whole purpose of dating, it helps you find those answers you’re looking for. Unfortunately, the ladies are so often forced to take the forward approach because we men just aren’t stepping up to the plate.
Now before you ladies start declaring “amen” and passing out high-fives, I have some thoughts for you as well. Without a doubt I agree that the world is lacking real men. Most men, even within the church, are easily swayed by the lures of the world and, all to often, are drawn away from God. The world looks like too much fun and in all honesty, it’s teaching us guys that we can get what we want without giving much in return. I believe that it’s wrong and is sadly causing women to abandon their God given role as lovers and nurturers.
Let me first share ladies that I understand your frustration but, if you hope to find the right kind of man in today’s world, you are not going to get it by applying pressure. I spent four years in the Christian college scene and now two years in the post college “Christian” dating world and there is no difference. I do not fault you for having an exceedingly strong desire to marry. In fact I applaud it, for it is God given. Gen 3:16 “You will long for your husband…”
In truth, I like that idea. I want a girl that’s crazy about me. Nothing will strengthen a man’s ego or enable him to scale buildings in a single bound like the love of a woman. I caught my brother in an unusually good mood once before he was married and inquired about his giddiness. He responded with, “because I’m in love with a woman that is crazy about me!” I want that.
At the same time, I don’t want someone that’s so eager to get married that she’s taking on my role as a leader. “Well I want to be pursued,” you say. Understood. You have every right to. But perhaps the guy is trying to decide in his own mind if he wants to pursue you. THIS is where the trouble begins.
I’ve found that many young ladies, consciously or subconsciously, are working on a timetable. Casual dating as our parents new it is out of the question. Taking a different girl out to a movie every weekend until you find one you want to settle down with is a no no as you’ll be crucified a “player.” I never dated in college. I asked a few girls out for coffee and on one occasion, at the urging of a friend, had a young lady over and we chatted for a couple hours. A week after that conversation I had five people come up to me within a ten minutes span and make comments ranging from “Seth and ______ sitting in a tree….” to “if you hurt her I will kill you.” Really? Are we adults or in middle school?
This brings me to my next point. Ladies, be careful what and with whom you share. I find all too often that people, both men and women, stick their nose where it does not belong. Rightly so, we care about others opinions. We want to know what our friends think. The problem becomes that our friends offer too much information and begin painting a picture that does not exist or is at least merely in the very beginning stages. “Oh he’s totally into you!” “Really? Well I guess he did say….” And chaos ensues.
The one thing I will say Hollywood got right was the movie He’s Just Not That Into You. It is a perfect example of the games, miscommunication and lack of overall honesty that our society lacks, both in and outside of the church.
Dating as our parents new it is pretty much out of the question. The term I would associate with getting to know someone in our generation to decide if we want to take things to the next level would be “hanging out.” It means nothing more than spending time together, whatever the setting, and GETTING TO KNOW THE PERSON. We have no other context to intentionally get to know someone than that.
My experience, and countless guys I know, has been if I express an interest in hanging out in order to get to know someone and after a while decide that I’m really not interested in dating the person, I’m labeled a jerk, a player and my favorite, I lead her on. Ladies please hear me on this; most of the men in this world would rather sleep with you and move on. They have no intention of settling down and sadly, really don’t care about your feelings. I’ve had girls, or friends of girls, tell me that I crushed them. That I lead them to believe I was interested in a relationship only to dash their hopes and leave them aching. Let me share with you this; I not so much as held a hand, tried to kiss nor offered commitment to any one of those girls. Ladies if you have any hope of finding a meaningful, lasting relationship with a true God fearing man, you must learn to let go. Let us fulfill our God given role as the leader.
You argue, “Well some guys just need a little jump start.” Ok, let me refute that by asking you this; do you want to be married to a man that you constantly have to jumpstart to get him to love you and lead in your relationship?
I will leave you with this. Ladies, in my opinion you are God’s most incredible and precious creation. Any imperfections you have are far surpassed by your ability to love, nurture and care. I believe whole heartedly that those who grasp God’s original design for us as men and women and how He designed relationship between us to work, will be the select few who experience true joy and satisfaction in marriage.