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Why Don’t the Guys in My Church Ask Women on Dates?

Why Don’t the Guys in My Church Ask Women on Dates?

One of my friends recently told me she was seeing a guy she met on an app. I was over the moon for her — I can’t tell you how many conversations we’ve had about our mutual lack of a love life. I was asking her questions about him, wanting to know how he caught her eye and what interested her the most. They had so much in common, she told me, except for one thing: he wasn’t a Christian.

I was shocked, to say the least. She and I met in a small group three years ago. She has been involved in our church for even longer than that. How could she be interested in dating a guy who didn’t go to church?

I pushed back on her, and she finally answered me. She was tired of waiting around for the single guys at my church to ask her out. So, when a guy on an app showed an interest in her, she felt relief.

It was tough to hear, but I understood where she was coming from. We have numerous solid, Christian guy friends who are hesitant about the idea of casual dating, to the point where they won’t even give a girl a chance over coffee. After years of waiting around for one of them to take a small step of faith, I can see why she’d be interested in someone who doesn’t see one date with her as a massive undertaking.

Ever since our conversation, I’ve been trying to figure out why so many great Christian single men are hesitant to dip their toe in the dating pool. After consulting my guy friends, I’ve realized there’s a pretty big Christian culture problem we need to address.

Somewhere in the formative and oh-so-tacky ’80s and ’90s, a message spread through Christian bookstores (R.I.P.), pulpits, youth groups, and all the nooks and crannies of God-fearing culture. This message was that casual dating is not good, women’s hearts must be guarded by men, and all romantic relationships better have marriage in mind—or the people in them are just using each other.

Yet while all these concepts have elements of wisdom embedded in them, they’ve been distorted just like so many good ideas before them (i.e. keeping the Sabbath). The truth is, we’re a people who, when left unchecked, go into Pharisee mode like it’s our job. And we’ve done this with Christian dating. Let’s walk through the three messages:

Message: Casual dating is not good.
Reality: Casual dating to get to know someone is good—and necessary—if you’re ever going to, you know, move past your mom. The fear is that casual dating means casual sex, casual deep intimacy or casual love—which are all by nature not casual. But if we assume that a good man and a good woman understand those boundaries, why would getting coffee and learning more about the other person not be healthy, enjoyable and within any reasonable scope of OK?

Message: Women’s hearts must be guarded.
Reality: In case you need a reminder, women can guard their own hearts, make their own decisions, and suffer the highs and lows of emotional intimacy, despite what some people may have told you. The truth is, being a guardian of a heart is God’s job. A man’s job is to honor God, be respectful to her, and be brutally honest about when your feelings are casual and when they’re not.

Message: Romantic relationships should be walking toward marriage.
Reality: Yes, maybe it’s a good idea to have a distant goal in mind that possibly, in the future, you could marry a person. But notice, I intentionally said “a person,” not “this person” who you’re sitting across a table from, because knowing that you are moderately amenable to walking down that road means you’re probably in a good spot to date casually, honestly and respectfully.

But seriously, the amount of pressure that sizing up a newbie for marriage puts on a casual coffee date, not to mention the fact that you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE PERSON does two things: 1. It paralyzes an organic and healthy period of “getting to know someone” and 2. It forces a depth of commitment that is best reserved for months and years later. In short, it puts the cart before the horse.

To the men reading this, here’s what I’m asking you to do: Please, please, please take a look within yourself and determine if any of these messages have become part of your DNA. And if they are, take from them what’s true, and discard that which has been distorted by a decade or more of emasculating dating advice.

The pressure’s off, guys. Women don’t seem to be asking you to be perfect or fully realized in your husbandness. We just want you to be present and slightly brave. We’re not looking for a husband right this second, and they’re sure as heck not looking for a savior. We’re looking for a kind conversation, a respectful follow-up, and perhaps a nice cup of ethically sourced, fair-trade coffee.


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