If you all saw how many revisions (25) and outright rewrites (3) this post has gone through, you would probably laugh. The fact is that I take this topic really seriously and I wanted to handle it well. I wanted to approach this prayerfully and as kindly as possible.
Many of my single female friends at church are hanging around waiting (like they’re supposed to) for guys to step up and ask them out and it’s not happening. A lot of them are dating nonbelievers as a result because the nonbelievers are moving on a good thing when they see it.
Then I see the cliques of Christian young men who either aren’t getting the guidance they need or are just stuck in their late teens indefinitely. It makes me sad playing mentor to these young women and not knowing what to tell them other than “wait” as the maturity gap seems to get bigger and bigger.
Yes, on the one hand things will happen in God’s time but that doesn’t by any means let anyone off the hook here. Young men in the churches need to be doing their part to become good husband material. So, young Christian dudes, this is my advice for you:
- Read your Bible. Get an app on your phone; subscribe to any of the 30 zillion (just an estimate!) daily devotional email services online; find yourself a weekly Bible study… whatever you need to do to make this a habit. I probably don’t need to tell you that the more you meditate on God’s word, the more “ammunition” you’ll have at hand to deal with life in general.
- Find yourself some strong, stable (read: 40+ years-old and happily married) Christian men and ask them to mentor you. You need to be experiencing what a real Christian dude looks like: How he supports his family financially and spiritually. How he treats his wife and children. How he sets the example for his family in worshiping God. And be open to advice. If you aren’t open to be mentored by someone with more life experience than you, you probably aren’t going to be willing to grow in general let alone in a relationship with a woman.
- Pray for your future wife and your future relationship. Pray for her walk with the Lord and her inevitable struggles. Also, pray that the Lord shows you what you need to be working on in order to be a good spiritual leader of your household and a strong partner in life.
- Do not (I repeat: DO NOT) hang out with a young woman one-on-one unless she is your family member or you intend to date her. It’s totally fine to plan group outings to include members of the opposite sex but unless you’re planning to date a woman, don’t single her out. Things will be so much less confusing for everyone involved if you follow this simple rule.
- Understand that attraction can grow over time. In the church, it’s most likely (although not always!) that you’re going to have the most important thing in common with a young woman: your faith. That should be as attractive as someone’s appearance. And a woman can become more beautiful to you as you begin to see how her faith manifests itself in her life.
- Understand that dating should be carefully considered. It’s not set in stone that you have to marry a person you’re dating but you do need to date with the intention that you’re considering this person as a potential mate. So, don’t date just to have a girlfriend. But do go into it with your eyes wide open: Does this girl have poor relationships with her family? Does she say she follows the Bible but does something totally different on days that aren’t Sunday? Be discerning and if you need help figuring out if something is a red flag, call in one (or all) of your mature mentors for backup. (Are you beginning to see where mentors can be helpful?)
- Be the pursuer. I understand how scary the possibility of rejection can be. But you know what? The rewards of taking a risk can outweigh those fears one hundred fold. Besides, it’s your job to be the one to take the lead in your relationship. We ladies aren’t supposed to be asking you out. So, keep that in mind and don’t wait for a woman to do your job. You guys tend to make poor decisions when you’re being pursued because you’re flattered. Don’t let flattery turn your head and show the young woman you care about that she’s worth being pursued.
- Prove to yourself and a potential wife that you can support yourself. If you’re still living at home or still working part time (or both!) and you’re not still in school, you need to shut that down as of yesterday. If you’re looking to get married, you need to be looking to be stable financially and learn to manage your money well. (Again, ask your mentors if you need guidance!)
- Learn to be a gentleman. Become a door-holding, package-carrying, God-fearing man who treats all women (not just the one you intend to date) with the same courtesy and respect. This serves many purposes: First, you have to get out of yourself and do something for someone else. Second, you’ll be able to show the woman you love that she is valuable and cherished by treating her like a lady and a daughter of the King. Third, and maybe most importantly, you’ll show your future sons how they should treat women and your future daughters how they should be treated.
- Know yourself. If you have a problem with selfishness, lying, pornography, drinking, etc. don’t date anyone until you’re in a position with your mentors to hold you accountable to battle those issues. No one is perfect but if you’re dealing with a sin that could potentially sabotage your relationship in a huge way like those can, you need to deal with that first before you even consider marrying a daughter of the King.
Don’t forget guys: You have some big shoes to fill (Ephesians 5:25) but God will give you the tools to be a kind, considerate man (and future husband if that’s your purpose in life) if you seek Him. Never stop seeking Him.