Should We Develop Dating Skills?

When I was a kid I loved basketball.  I loved playing it, watching it, listening to it on the radio and then re-enacting that game in the driveway the next day.

As I got older I began to actually work really hard at it.  I was coached by my dad (who still has a quicker release on his shot than me).  Later different coaches spent time with me and coached me up.  I played spring and summer ball.  I went to the outdoor courts to practice.  I did drills.  When I reached high school I conditioned and even bought strength shoes to help my vertical.  I shot endless free throws making sure I made 10 in a row before I quit for the day – no matter how long it took – even in the dark.

Now I never became a star.  I got a few awards but I was no where near good enough to play division one.  But I did get better – a lot better.  And even now I can still bang it out in the post against most people.  I can’t do physically what I could 20 years ago, but the flow and movements come naturally – because they are ingrained.  They are a part of me.

Practice and coaching are a part of almost everything we do in life.  Think about it.  If you’ve learned to play a musical instrument, learned math, got a degree in anything you’ve been coached and you’ve practiced.  When we enter the workforce we are trained by someone. When you get a new job, you have to learn the culture of that company or industry.  Someone helps you – at least hey hand you a manual or something.

Even in church this is true.  To be a small group leaders usually means you have to be in a small group first.  Then there is at least a training weekend.  Someone should check in on how you are doing.   A new Christian can usually get help on how to read the bible.  There are membership classes.  Need help in an area? There’s a class for that.  Marriage, parenting, spiritual gifts, bible study, all of it.

But when it comes to helping single people get married, not so much. We are so lost in this area and there is very little help.

There are all sorts of things that keep us single.  Some of it is situational.  Some of it is our own sin or lack of commitment.  No doubt.  Some of it though, has to do with skill.

Now we all hate that it takes skill.  But we hate this in every area of life.  I mean I wish I could be good at stuff without working at it.  Who doesn’t?  But that’s not the typical situation.  I’d love to be able to hit the golf ball where I want it to go without ever practicing. I wish I never had to study for a test in college but I did.

There is skill involved in getting a date.  There is the inner confidence part.  The approach part.  There is the body language part.  Many of us have never even considered most of this.  Most of us have never worked at it.  And almost none of us have ever been coached or mentored in it in any way whatsoever.

Many of us grew up without a dad or without one who taught us this stuff.  A lot of us learned all the wrong things.  It’s a mess.  It doesn’t have to be.  But you probably aren’t going to wake one morning, flip a switch and do it different.

This is why a lot of the spiritual platitudes in Christian dating are a complete waste of time.  “God will bring you someone” is pointless if you can’t close the deal when He does.  Telling me about marriage is helpful but won’t help me get married.

Most in the Church basically say don’t date.  Don’t pursue someone unless you are sure it could go somewhere.  Don’t practice. I get the idea.  But to me it’s unfair to assume that someone can never go on a date, and then just turn it on at the right moment for the right person.

Am I saying go on hundreds of dates?  Am I saying ask everyone out, or hit on every girl.  Heaven’s no!  But what I am saying is that somehow we need to help people work through their stuff and develop their ability to actually move with confidence when they feel led to.

We need to quit focussing solely on keeping people from marrying wrong.  People are already not getting married.  Instead we need to somehow become proactive (within our principles of loving others) in helping people figure out how to get married right.  That has to include more than who not to marry.  It has to include how to make the right thing happen.

I have more questions on this than answers.  How do we get better at dating/relationship starting?  Where did you learn what you do know?  What do you wish someone would have helped you with in this area?

8 thoughts on “Should We Develop Dating Skills?

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the issue of the lack of guidance on how we should approach the subject of dating as Christians. Pretty much all I’ve ever heard is that Christians should not be dating, we do not have ‘boyfriends’ we have fiances and husbands. Don’t do this, don’t do that, be this, be that, or else. Well how about some do’s?! I never really thought about it before from this perspective, but it’s true: there really isn’t much out there for us. I have certainly not arrived (obviously, since I am still very single) but I can say that what I know now, I have gained from a series of really sour relationships, the heartache of a divorce, and crappy dates. I’ve learned that there really is no compromise when it comes to meeting a mate who is truly following God. I’ve learned that it doesn’t just matter if someone says they ‘go to church’ or pray when they get ready for bed at night…we have to investigate the fruit. If there’s no fruit, it’s just not the whole truth. And true followers know that it will never work when the yokes are unequal. It just. Doesn’t. Work. And we can’t go into relationships thinking we can change people, or hoping that maybe we can influence them to follow us to church and study with us. Even if we succeed in getting them to ‘show up’ so to speak, only God can change hearts. I wish someone had told me that and helped me to see that if any of my steps are not leading to my ultimate goal, then they are wasted steps and I’m wandering off the path. Meaningless dating is just that. So I don’t know if I’m doing this thing right, but I am simply looking for a BFF who is seeking the Lord with all his heart. I want to marry my favorite person, my best friend 4 ever and all that other stuff we said in middle school! I want someone who will grow with me spiritually. Are there instructions for finding a best friend? I’m not sure. I think it just happens when you really thoroughly enjoy spending time with someone. If we can’t be BFF’s, I doubt marriage is going to make anything more pleasant! I would like for you to share what you’ve learned as well. What’s working, what’s not? Any do’s? (we already know enough of the don’ts!)

  2. It’s almost as if there is a puzzle that is almost completed, and there are a few pieces left, and no matter what….the pieces don’t, can’t or won’t fit. No matter what angle. No matter if we leave if for an hour or two and then come back and try again. We can make out the picture, but it’s just not complete with these missing parts.

    In my shorter-than-most walk with Christ (four years), women complain that there are “no men to date in church” and the men who are there complain “we ask, they always say no, I don’t feel a spark / connection / God’s not leading me towards you.”

    It leaves us this incomplete puzzle. In the meantime we’re all just “waiting” for someone; and no one is happy. Time goes by.

    My church has not had a wedding in almost ten years, and its singles are older (mostly in their 40’s, many who have never been married…my church has more men than women). I can’t believe that God hasn’t led ONE person to marriage in this faithful community in over ten years. It’s impossible to believe.

    I think part of this, or a “piece” of this puzzle today is the fact that too many in church, in faith, and in Christ think they don’t have to change anything in their lives. Too many honestly feel that are okay, and that the “world” around them has to cater to them, or change for them, or bring them someone…because everything they have or do is okay.

    We have to look in that proverbial mirror because in church, we are not complete. We are not okay. We need to always be working on being more conformed to the image of God’s Son. We should always be trying to improve ourselves to better serve Christ. To build a better foundation. This takes time, and it takes effort on the part of men and women.

    I mean, if I ask a girl out to the symphony and she says “No, I don’t feel a spark” well, why not go with me anyway and see the symphony? It’s safe. It’s in public. It’s in a Christian manner….and who knows, maybe you would feel a spark, or at least would actually date me again. heck, she might even think “Hmmm, still not my type, BUT he’s totally this one’s type.”

    If a woman likes me, or (heaven forbid 😉 ) wanted to get to know me, I am not going to be able to read a mind and deduce worldly signals of her running her right hand through her hair on a Tuesday with her left foot pointed towards me as a “signal” that she “may” like me.

    We Christians who are single, and who want marriage are going to have to sometimes just take a chance, view, and chalk it up as fellowship. Ask the girl out. Accept the date for what it is. Just a date.

    I am not saying we have to date hundreds of people either Justin. But this “worldly game” that is indeed inside the church today has to end, and the singles are going to have to be the ones to change this. Our pastors can’t, because they have mostly no clue about such matters on this.

  3. I think this is one of the keys: Jason said: . . .”she says “No, I don’t feel a spark” well, why not go with me anyway and see the symphony?” . . .
    All too often it seems one or the other are seeking forever before the first date. It takes time to get to know someone and feeling that spark is most of the time from the flesh rather than the spiritual. My BFF is not my forever partner and could never be for many reasons. I get out and meet all kinds of people, I hang-out with individuals whether it’s a date or not . . . If it is a date, the conversation is different since I noticed things that were “equally yoked” with my own principles and I want to learn more about them on an intimate basis (not sex; but the same type of intimate relationship I now have in Christ.

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