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Dating 101: The Ask

From JP | July 2, 2012 . By Jonathan Pokluda

The large majority (though definitely not all) of the Porch crowd is single, so the topic of dating comes up a lot. In my job, I get to observe hundreds of dating relationships, some of which turn into God-honoring marriages. And in the search for those marriages, I also hear about the dating complaints of many young adults, both male and female.

Let me start by stating that in your pursuit of a spouse, you are not bound by the rules of men, but rather should seek what wisdom God has for you in His Word. Matthew 6:33 comes to mind, for example. You can also learn from the successes or failures of others, gathering wisdom principles learned by other Christians.

So, based on Scripture and my own observations, I would like to address some of the common dating complaints I consistently hear. (You can hear more in podcasts of our “Boy Meets Girl” series.) Here, in part 1 of this multi-part blog, we’ll focus on the first part of the dating process: asking someone out, or the pursuit.

Guys don’t ask the girls out

You hear this complaint quite a bit (from the girls, obviously). Though it is not entirely true as a blanket statement, I’m sure it is true that some guys don’t ask girls out, and that some girls don’t get asked.

There are several reasons, both good and bad, why some Christian guys may not ask girls out:

  • They are not ready to date or marry. If that is the case, them choosing to not date for a time is actually the most loving thing they can do.
  • They fear rejection. The potential fear of rejection is worse for them than the fear of feeling lonely.
  • A really sad trend I see is that guys are fulfilling their need for companionship with two-dimensional images of women viewed over the internet. This not only stifles their desire to ask someone out and risk rejection, but it also perverts their standards for physical beauty—based on artificial images and bodies—and causes unrealistic expectations that can never be filled by someone real. If this hits a bit too close to home for you, please consider Re:Generation.

Sadly, one other factor that contributes to this problem is that women outnumber men within the church. This is a problem everywhere; we’re not talking specifically about The Porch. But the gender gap is probably most pronounced among the single 20s and 30s demographic. Among those who are actively following Christ, the ratio of women to men is not 1:1; honestly, it is probably closer to 2:1. Basically, the male half of the species needs to step up in living out their faith.  Ladies, be patient in waiting for him and be active in pursuing God.

Girls always say “no” to dates

Ah, now this is interesting. If guys aren’t asking girls out, then how is it that girls are saying “no”? And if women are so starved for dates and have such a shortage of Christian men around, why are so many men feeling rejected?

There are faults on both sides of the aisle here. Some (not all) of the women complaining about guys not asking them out would be more honest in saying “that specific guy” or “that type of guy” is not asking them out. To them, I would say to A) stop complaining, and B) be careful not to inadvertently cause the fear of rejection that can prevent those guys from asking other, more willing girls out.

Men, there may be several reasons why a woman turned you down:

  • She may not be ready to date or marry. Again, in such cases, you are better off if she does turn you down.
  • She may not think that you are ready to date. Ladies, if that is the case, hopefully you will lovingly speak the truth and tell him that is the reason, instead of making up some lame excuse (which could also be referred to as “lying”.)
  • She may not approve of your method. You “poking” (can you still do that?) someone on Facebook is not an acceptable invitation. For that matter, any invitation done over internet technology (social media, email, or texting) will not fly for asking out my daughters (in 30 years, when they are old enough to date). Find some courage and show up.
  • She may not be attracted to you in “that way”…whatever that means. I know this one hurts, but it is going to be OK. She might have unrealistic expectations herself, or you might be looking out of your league…or maybe you just need a haircut and a borrowed shirt, I don’t know.  Ladies, if you know him and know he loves The Lord, give him a chance…or at least a date.

Girls are too aggressive

Girls, we (guys) want a girl. Your affinity for football is cute; you asking us out and constantly calling is not. I hope this helps you and not hurts you, but though guys might date aggressive girls, they are not likely to marry one. Guys need to initiate; be faithful and respond to his invite. That might sound like a lot of waiting, but be patient. Don’t speed things up by compromising the way you dress to attract a guy…you may attract someone, but it will certainly be the wrong guy. Please read this slowly: you will lose him for the same reason you “won” him. If you catch him with fleeting bait (Proverbs 31:30), you will get a fleeting relationship.

Going on dates with strangers

You shouldn’t take candy from them, and you shouldn’t spend extended time with them pursuing romance.  I know, I know, you date to get to know someone, right?  Not really…well, kind of.  You date to see if someone you know is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. So how well do you need to know them?  Well, you need to know that they love God and are pursuing a relationship with Him. This narrows your search considerably to a small pool of people active in your church, or another healthy church. The reality is that if you are running in church circles, you probably know lots of people who would make awesome spouses. Serve faithfully and enjoy your singleness. Guys, when someone is serving faithfully with you and you become interested in her, ask her out. It’s just coffee! Ladies, if a stranger comes up to ask for your number it means that the girls who really know him are probably unwilling to go out with him…something to think about.

Just because they are at church or The Porch, certainly does not guarantee they are someone you want to be stuck at a table for two with. Be wise.

So, guys, ask out those girls around you. Don’t overlook the faithful person serving next to you. Girls, if he is faithful and a good guy, give him a chance.

More to come; continued in part 2.

JP

  • Todd Wagner

    Ladies, (and I certainly tell my daughters this) one of the reasons guys don’t pursue women is they don’t have to. Some girls make themselves too available. In other words they make their three-dimensional-selves way too accessible. Don’t let a guy spend too much time with you (especially once you find yourself starting to wish he would spend more time with you) without seeking that time out with you intentionally. In other words…seek the Lord (not a date/husband), serve passionately and then skedaddle. I’m not talking about playing games here…but after the 3rd or 4th time you go out with the group after serving/The Porch/etc…with the same group (especially if the guy you hope pursues you is always there) it might be good to not join the group. Why? Because he has no reason to pursue you privately if he can always enjoy publicly. I tell my gals that the treasure doesn’t do the hunting. If there is never any mystery as to what is “down there” most boys will never go through the trouble of digging. So don’t play games…but also don’t always play with the group. Go home early (esp. when the reason you always join the group is because the guy you want to ask you out is always in the group…your going on the group date with him every week is maybe the very reason he never asks you out) and spend some time seeking the Lord, reminding yourself of the MAN you want your man to look like.

    Finally, there is a similar reason why men who DO date you DON’T marry you…and it just might be because there is more than your time that you are making too available.

    Why would a guy date a girl he can be with her any time he wants without intentional effort? Even more, why would a guy marry a girl he can sleep with (or get off with) any time he wants without intentionally declaring before God and family that SHE is the ONE.

    Treasures don’t do the hunting and treasure chests have locks on them for a reason. Don’t give him the code till he makes the covenant.

  • [...] recently read a blog post by my good friends at the porch (which I hope you check out here). As a Dad of three young women, I was prompted to add a few thoughts and I thought I would post [...]

  • JP – methinks part of the problem is that people don’t know how to break up well. Kedersha always tells us in Merge that it is easier to get divorced then to break up an engaged or seriously dating couple. This is because people won’t make tough decisions until their level of pain becomes so high they can’t take it.

    So, to your post, I think if a guy asks a girl out on a date, she may be so terrified of the (inevitable, or at least very likely) breakup conversation that it’s paralysis by analysis and no first date ever occurs. As is often the case, wisdom may be found in lyric, first by the great Neil Sedaka, who sang “breaking up is hard to do”, and it is, but the how-to manual for breaking up was provided in great deal by Nada Surf in ‘Popular’. One line “tell him honestly but simply, kindly but firmly. If you want to date other people, say so. Be prepared for the boy to feel hurt and rejected…even if you’ve only been together for a short time… there’s still a feeling of rejection when someone says she prefers the company of others to your exclusive company…
    But if you’re honest and direct
    And avoid making a flowery emotional speech
    When you break the news
    The boy will respect you for your frankness
    And honestly, he’ll appreciate the kind straight-forward manner in which you told him your decision.
    Unless he’s a real jerk or a cry-baby you’ll remain friends”

    Problem is, many girls and boys are not able/willing to have the kind of frank, truthful, but loving conversation described above. And also, many young men are jerks and cry-babies.

  • Q

    In my circle of friends the biggest problem is NOT ASKING. I even failed recently at doing so in a timely manner. Some of it stems from male insecurities that probably disqualify the guy from dating in the first place. (I recommend ReGen, I’m going currently and have learned a lot about myself in the process). Anyhow, not asking is the best way to remain single and (if dating is one of your desires, hopefully rooted in a bigger desire to follow God) unsatisfied. A lot of the time I’m almost certain that my peers would get a favorable response if they just asked. Timidity in this area is no bueno. And I say that having failed recently. (Not because I was timid though lol). Being unintentional does not just hurt the guy (who is failing at life -thats a joke, well… sort of), it also hurts the girl. And considering all of the carnage in my past, hurting another woman is NOT my goal, nor should it be for any Christ-following guy out there…

  • Marcus T.

    My own experience as a man who was once terrified to ask girls out and by God’s grace managed to convince an amazing woman to marry me is that it boils down to the Gospel going deeper inside of us as men. Do we really apply it to our dating lives?

    Perhaps we men have been or are afraid to ask out women because we want to avoid facing any possible external evidence of the thing we feel internally: that we aren’t good enough, man enough, etc.

    When the Gospel really sinks in in this area, we know that we are fully accepted by the God of the universe no matter what, and facing the rejection of a girl just isn’t THAT big of a deal in comparison because it can’t uproot our real source of security: who Jesus is and what He has done.

    Jesus initiated with the world, and faced real rejection. He was man enough FOR us, and is the source and model of true manhood FOR us.

  • Q

    Marcus T., I agree! Well said

  • [...] Continued from part 1. [...]

  • [...] from part 1 and part [...]

  • [...] you are pursuing God yourself and are ready for marriage, find the most godly woman you know and ask her out. Single girls, if a godly man asks you out and you are open to dating, say yes. If you say no, be [...]