I read this article this morning and it blew me away. The subject matter for one and the beautiful writing for another. It really articulated to me how I feel about dating today. Even more so Christian dating. Perhaps the biggest takeaways were the following:
- “We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless.”
- “We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved.”
- Say we find that person we love who loves us. Commitment. Intimacy. “I love you.” We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines a light on where we don’t love ourselves. We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not what we share. Shiny picture. Happy couple. Love is perfect.
- Never before have we had such an incredible cornucopia of markers for what it looks like to live the Best Life Possible.
Wow. Just wow to all of this. So true. So well written. Right?
I find romance in the Christian sphere..somewhat lacking. Okay–REALLY lacking. No one is dating. No one is talking about dating. No one is being clear if they are interested in each other. If people are dating no one calls it dating. If people are on a date no one gives more than a side hug. Now don’t get me wrong here I think there’s a time to be self-controlled but I also think people are watering down relationships. I think you can have boundaries like I’m not willing to be alone with my date, I’m not willing to have sex with my date, etc but that doesn’t mean you can’t be deliberate with your date. Call me crazy but if my future husband is supposed to be the leader but a man cannot take the initiative to ask me out for coffee or to explicitly tell me he is interested in me–I feel like that man is not only not for me–but perhaps not ready to date, period. This goes for ladies too. We’re supposed to guard our hearts, not have them available for take-out.
My next take-away is that in my own personal experience people are unwilling to make a move with a man or woman they are interested in dating because they are sure there is someone better that they could miss out on. I think that’s one of the saddest things to acknowledge. I know plenty of women who feel this way. It’s a valid concern when you are in a church and a lot of young people are already married. The dating pool is smaller and most single women end up liking the same single guys and vice versa. So within that pool people get picky. It’s like “Okay there are 5 single men that I find attractive who I know like me as well but I can afford to choose who has the best job” or for a man “Okay there are three single woman who like me and I find them all interesting, but I saw so-and-so’s new girlfriend who just started coming to church and she’s a model so I’m not going to settle for just what I see now.” Ouch. Granted that might not be the case, but I do think there are so many choices now that people are not making a decision. What’s wrong with taking out that woman that you already have a connection with? After a few dates you might know one of two things: wow I don’t care who else is out there I like her even more or something’s missing, we have some core value differences and I don’t want this to go any further. It’s like going to a restaurant and liking everything on the menu and refusing to order. Ultimately you don’t know if what you order is going to be any good but you are willing to try.
Just speaking personally..I’m willing to try. In church I’ve been willing to try and either the men you are interested in never make a move or make their intentions known, or a guy makes his intentions known and you just want to be friends and then you wonder if this makes all of the single guys scared to try again. I can vouch for myself…I am asking to be loved. I want to be dating. I want to find out if there is anything there with any of the guys over the course of my life in church that I’ve been intrigued by and wanted to know better. I’m sure there are guys who might have felt the same way about me, or felt that way about another woman but never did anything. I think it’s time to stop looking at all the potential choices and just make ONE CHOICE. And go from there. It becomes very indecisive and no one ends up getting anywhere or learning anything.
I also think it’s crucial to discuss social media. Nothing is sacred anymore. You get into a relationship and it’s Facebook official. You have to validate how good your relationship is going by posting occasional updates via selfie on Instagram. If you’re happy great, but I think there’s a fine line between this is your life and it’s private for you and this is your life and you’re opening it up to other people’s consumption as well as approval. I think social media is both great and equally horrible. Great because there’s so many outlets to be creative and horrible because there’s at least one time in your life where you fell into a grief spiral because your life/vacation/selfie/job/outfit/family/whatever was not as mind-blowing as someone else’s. But the reality is that a lot of people are not their true, unattractive, insecure, imperfect selves on social media. So you’re either curating a charmed life or your envying something that isn’t 100% authentic.
One commenter said “1st Thessalonians Ch. 4 speaks of living a simple life, one that doesn’t require the approval and observation of others for us to feel worthy of existence. Your being born IS the validation of your existence. We are here for a long life, and it’s quite alright to be quiet about the way you carry it. I am fighting the daily temptation to seek attention for no good reason, and I am confident it will bring great fruits of joy and peace to my life, even though no one may ‘like’ my accomplishments or ‘comment’ on them”.
Amen. I think we need to all learn to live simpler lives. If a person makes you feel attractive, worthy, light-hearted, and reminds you how good God is—I think you can ask them on a date. I don’t think it needs to be complicated. Sure are there other options out there? Of course. But to never experience a quality person because you’re certain there is better out there is pretty prideful. Don’t think of yourself higher than you ought. Give someone grace enough to go out with for coffee or to have a real face to face conversation instead of leading them on with flirtatious texts and emojis. Don’t feel like a person is take-out. Like I always liked ordering a pizza delivery but I’m holding out for dinner a 5-star restaurant. That’s not cool. Remember that we’re all imperfect, but that we are all worth getting to know. If it doesn’t work out–who cares but we need to stop striving for perfection when the simple things in life are valuable too.
The Bible says:
1 Thessalonians 4 (MSG)
4 1-3 One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life.
Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity.
4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.
6-7 Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God’s concerns, and he will take care of them. We’ve warned you about this before. God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside.
8 If you disregard this advice, you’re not offending your neighbors; you’re rejecting God, who is making you a gift of his Holy Spirit.
9-10 Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! You’re already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it.
11-12 Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.
I think we get used to hearing “The best is yet to come”. But we should be careful that we don’t abuse it or overlook people because we think there is better out there.