D A T I N G : T O • T H E • M E N

Dear Single Men,

I see you. Serving, worshipping, working hard, laughing, loving people, chasing after Jesus. I didn’t always notice you. I wondered if there were any good guys left. The ones I did see all seemed to have wedding rings or a girl on their arm. I’m so sorry. I see you now. I admire you. And I’m so encouraged.

Sometimes I wonder why you’re still single. You have your pick of dozens of beautiful, successful, women of integrity. I fear you don’t find us good enough. The girl you say you aren’t attracted to is the one I fight to not compare myself to. This actually scares me to my core. 

But sometimes I wonder if you’re just overwhelmed with options. In an age where there is always another girl, where you can keep swiping until you sprain your thumb, maybe you are afraid to make the wrong decision. Maybe you just haven’t noticed us yet.

We can help each other out in this dating process. In talking with other single friends – both men and women – we agree this is a conversation we need to have more often with each other. Singleness is a challenging season. We want to do it the right way, but the Church is nearly silent on the issue while the world is loud with confusion.

I already wrote to the women, so now I want to share some of the things I’ve observed, experienced, and discussed with other women that could help the men out a little. Please know, my goal is to encourage and equip, not to judge or criticize. I want to see Kingdom marriages, but first we need to open up dialogue so we can learn to date in healthy ways again.

So men, without further ado… From a female’s perspective, here are a few things that could help you along the way:

Know the Lord and who you are in Him.

The absolute most important thing you can do for yourself and your future relationships is to grow in intimacy with the Lord. This has to take precedent. When you know Jesus, you know your identity in Him.

Men, I want you to understand that you are holy, chosen, set apart, loved, redeemed, and called for a purpose. Regardless of who your parents are or how they raised you, regardless of who has rejected you or hurt you in the past, you have new DNA. You are not timid. You are not fearful. You are not rejected, damaged goods. You are not your mistakes. You are a new creation. You have been given a spirit of love and a sound mind. When you fear the Lord you find the beginning of wisdom. When you hold a holy reverence for God and intimately know Him, you will know His voice. You will have the discernment needed to navigate your life and relationships. Everything you do depends on the foundation of seeking Him first.

The enemy is out for blood, attacking your identity, robbing you of your masculinity. I beg of you, don’t look to culture to define yourself. Don’t look to the world to discover your role in relationships. Don’t depend on women or your career to make you feel worthy. The only way you will come fully alive is in Christ Jesus. He needs you to be all in. You can’t half-way follow Him. Your future wife and kids need you to be all in. The time is now for you to take the leap and fully surrender your life to the Lord. Totally commit your life to His will and His ways.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

Know who you are looking for.

Often, men are waiting until they’ve reached a certain point in their career, reached a particular financial status, or have established their definition of success before “settling down” in marriage. Guys! We are literally here to help you. This is the exact reason we as women exist here on earth. God made a helper for you. He created us for each other and He straight up said it was not good that man be alone. You can’t actually become who God called you to be on your own. You don’t have to wait until you’ve “arrived” before you find the woman God created for you.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18

Most men know what their goals and dreams are. You are dreamers by nature. So when you know who you are and what your purpose is, it should actually be relatively easy to find a women who could come alongside you and help you build your section of the Kingdom.

When you know your identity in Christ, when you understand just how much you are loved by your Creator, you will look for women who are worth your time and effort. When you know what kind of helper you are looking for, it naturally rules out a lot of women. You don’t have to date every one you find. You should be able to recognize who they are simply by knowing them within your circles, which brings me to my next few points…

Date the right women.

Some of you are waiting for God to shine a spotlight down on your future wife and hear a choir of angels as she smiles at you from across the room, so you aren’t dating anyone right now. Some of you are basically trying to dating every woman you find, whether she’s a woman of integrity in ministry or she’s more the type to dance on Broadway bar tops with all the bachelorettes.

If you’re trying to date every single woman you see, you might not know what you’re looking for. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, a girl could be totally wrong for you or the perfect wife for you and you won’t recognize the difference. When you know who you’re looking for, you can date based on compatibility, not just chemistry. Decide now what kind of a woman you want to be with first, then go find her.

Are you a touring musician? You might be most compatible with an independent woman who can fix the broken garbage disposal and rock the single parent life while you’re on the road. Do you know you’re called to ministry? She will be too. Do you have a demanding corporate job and work long hours? Maybe you need the kind of helper who wants her focus to be on raising a family, not building her own career. Or are you a super passionate teacher who isn’t exactly bringing in his dream paycheck? Maybe you want that #BossBabe in Corporate Land so you can still afford dream vacations.

I’ve talked to so many guys who know they are dating the wrong women. They are simply occupying time, avoiding loneliness. Guys, that’s more than a defense mechanism; that is being led by fear and insecurity. If you know they are wrong for you from the start, there’s no true risk involved. You already know it will end and you don’t have to risk rejection. But more on that in a minute.

Please stop wasting your time. If you aren’t ready for the right relationship yet, just date Jesus for a while. Your time is so valuable; your heart even more so. Stop running it through a blender simply because you’re lonely.

Love yourself enough to know you are worth more. Instead of dating women who treat you with disrespect, who play games with your emotions and stir up drama, look for women who actually care for your soul, encourage you, challenge you, and speak life over you.

And when you are truly ready to date with purpose, do you want to know the best place to find the right women?

Date within your own church.

A moment of vulnerability: This hits a sensitive spot in my heart and is the reason I haven’t published these words until now. It grieves me to see my church family look elsewhere. I’ve been a part of my church for four years and have been on zero dates within my own community. I’ve dated since living in Nashville, so I don’t seem to be completely repulsive to men, but the men in my own community seem stuck. It’s not just me they aren’t pursuing, it’s most of the women in our circles. If our guys are dating, they are often not dating anyone of value or depth.

It’s not even that I want them to date me specifically. I just want them to date SOMEONE of integrity. I am surrounded by beautiful, incredible, successful women of valor and y’all don’t seem to want them. Or maybe it’s that you don’t take notice of them.

I’m not even going to address the clubs. Guys, you know better than to look for girls in Broadway bars. It’s not worth the words on the page right now. What I do want to talk about are two other polluted ponds y’all are fishing in. I see so many guys in my church bring girls around they met online or at the gym, and it keeps blowing up in their faces. Repeatedly. May I shed a little light into this?

Of all the women I know, I truly can’t think of many healthy, wifey-material woman on any dating apps. The ones I know who are, I honestly would not recommend to you. No shade to them, they just have some things to work through before they could add value to a man’s life instead of subtracting from it. Any woman who understands why God put her on this planet is working on herself, her relationship with the Lord, and doing the assignments in front of her. I can either sit on my couch and scroll for hours to possibly find one guy with similar foundational values as me… or I can go live my life and do what God called me to do and trust Him to position me. There’s an obvious wise choice.

People can still meet “the old-fashioned way” if we would just look up and have conversations with each other again. Men, you’re so distracted looking down at your phones, swiping left and right. If you’d look up, you would see us serving Jesus and His Church right next to you. Chemistry flows much better in person than on a screen. Compatibly is realized working shoulder to shoulder, not through texts and emojis.

I’m not saying online dating is all bad. I know some incredible couples who have met online. It’s the new normal way to date. But when you’ve been set apart, “normal” might not work for you. If you’re living a unique and holy life, what works for everyone else probably isn’t going to cut it. You will need to do something different.

Now, I’m just gonna get super real with y’all for a second. I also absolutely won’t date men I met at the gym. Some Christian women obviously work out; all of them honestly should. I’m a huge proponent for health and wellness. But (and I recognize the danger of this) generally speaking, if you met her at the gym and she was cool with being picked up there without an actual friendship forming first, she’s likely not a woman of integrity, even if she calls herself a Christian. You’ve communicated that the interest you have in her is how low she can squat, and she understands the assignment. You’ve allowed your flesh (or hers) to take the lead right up front. If her body is what captures your attention, then you’re just wishing she’s a woman of character as you date her. Frankly, that’s foolish and I believe you’re smarter than that.

Don’t date anyone your flesh wants; find the one your soul loves. You already know you’re surrounded by women of character who are absolute stunners. Who are the women serving God alongside you? Who are the ones encouraging you and helping you grow in the Lord? Date them. It will be so much more worth your time.

Is your church not the family God called you to be a part of? Are you on mission and submitted to your church leadership and vision for your city? Wouldn’t it be best to be with a woman who is already running the same direction, following the same leaders?

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

Be a risk-taker.

Most women are not afraid to ask you out, but we’re waiting to see if you’re willing to pursue us. We want to be worth the risk to you. Actually, we are worth the risk. Yes, dating within your church community has the potential to be difficult. People will get overly involved in your relationship almost immediately. If it doesn’t work out, seeing each other on a regular basis could be awkward and uncomfortable. It’s “safer” to date someone you met outside of your community because when you break up, you can just cut each other off completely.

However, if you are dating well – with wisdom – and following Holy Spirit’s lead, it’s not actually a risk at all. The only risk would be dating without including God in the process. Men who are led by Holy Spirit are men who take risks in the natural because they trust where the Spirit leads in the supernatural.

As fallen humans, we default to our original sin from the Garden. Adam’s original sin was passivity. Men will sometimes fall back into this pattern as they are being transformed. It’s an area you will have to consciously surrender to the Lord and exercise as you strengthen into a confident humility. Passivity is a dangerous place to be. Women in their sinful nature are typically manipulators and liars. Passive men are easily manipulated and distracted by them. Passive men don’t lead, they follow. But God hasn’t made you weak. He created you to lead, to be strong, to be wise and discerning, and to be led by His Spirit in all righteousness and truth.

Don’t be afraid of the friend zone.

I’m just going to say that again. Don’t be afraid of the friend zone. It is the best place you could ever be. Friendship is the absolute best foundation for a marriage. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be married to your best friend, someone you know you have fun with and fully trust? If we’re being honest, it’s difficult to truly get to know someone when you start the relationship off with dating. We naturally hide the ugly parts of ourselves when we’re trying to impress someone. We also ignore red flags in the other person when we’re trying to pursue romance before friendship and are letting our attraction lead us.

When it comes to women you’re interested in, keep it in a casual friend zone first and do fun things. Try an arcade, go-cart racing, or hiking instead of the standard coffee date. Hang in groups. Your coffee dates aren’t marriage proposals; we know you’re trying to keep it casual and simple. But also keep things light and fun in the beginning. Just. Get. To. Know. Us.

Set the pace and the boundaries of the relationship.

On one hand, some of you are so eager to get married, you are practically proposing before my first cup of coffee has even cooled off enough to drink. At least half a dozen times I have been told on a first date that God told them I was their wife. NOOOOPPPPEEE. I wrote this to the women, but I will say it to some of you as well: Guys, even if you are absolutely certain you just found “the one,” let us choose you. If I don’t know how to pronounce your last name yet, please don’t ask me to take it.

On the other hand however, I know many of you get frustrated with women trying to jump too far ahead. You see us chasing marriage and immediately putting all kinds of pressure on new relationships.

Here’s the cool thing: You actually get to set the pace of the relationship. This is your God-given role in the relationship: to lead. If a girl is trying to rush things, you get to be the one to lead her in slowing down. If you are clear about your intentions, then women won’t have to guess or read into everything you say or do. You can communicate your desire to get to know each other without rushing the process.

Women look for commitment and marriage because we are looking for safety and security. But your clear intentions in a dating relationship will actually give that protection to us in a beautifully different way.

I will warn you, it might come as a shock to some women. We aren’t used to clearly defined intentions. So it might take a minute for some women to catch on. But know that you are the one who gets to slow it down and set a healthy pace for a relationship to protect what is growing between the two of you. If she isn’t respecting your lead, if she doesn’t want to embrace the process, she may not be as ready for marriage as she thinks she is. But we are not all the same. Don’t stop dating all together because you assume all women are in a race to the altar.

Embrace the process and lead us into it. Many of us are ready to follow.

This is again not an exhaustive list. I know I’m not a dating expert. I simply wanted to highlight some of the more prominent things I’ve observed and experienced throughout the years. Make sure you read what I wrote to single women so we can talk about all the things. I would love to hear what you think. What other areas can men and women alike improve upon as we navigate singleness?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s