One of the things I’ve heard over and over in recent years in the Christian circle of singles is, “Why don’t Christian guys ask the Christian girls out?” This can be said several ways but the message is essentially that guys should “man up” and ask out all the Christian girls regardless of who the women are. Some even go so far as to say essentially, “This is why Christian women end up dating non-Chrisitan men.” According to these folks, if all the Christian guys would just ask women on dates then everything would work out.
There is so much here. It’s a mess.
The Christian dating culture has made this so complicated and confusing. And as a guy it’s really hard to navigate that culture. In the secular culture its much more cut and dry when it comes to asking people out (or hooking up as the case may be).
Not so for us. On the one hand we are supposed to only ask people out that we think we can marry because marriage is the goal. Now some women and Christian leaders say you should basically not ask anyone on a date without knowing this and of course, be sure to guard her heart. Of course this is fairly impossible.
Then there are those that say, we can causally date at first. How else can we get to know each other. But here’s the thing, if you casually date more than one person in your church or community it can cause all sorts of problems. It only takes one person to feel scorned to mess up your whole standing as a guy.
So we’ve got two constantly conflicting messages. One side says nothing casual is ok and the other side says, just date around, it’s all good – as long as it’s “Christian”. How do we know which girl you are?*
All of this makes men hesitant, both because they are confused about what is right** and by what is expected. I know it did me. When I was dating I pretty much took my chances anywhere other than my own church. I’m not saying that was right, but that’s how it felt.
The second factor at play here is that a lot of guys have never been taught how to be effective in talking with women. The church likes to say man up and ask girls out, but they are short on help on how to do that in any sort of effective way.
So what happens is “nice” Christian guys go about it all wrong, it doesn’t work and then they get frustrated, quit trying or keep failing. We need to teach men the truth about attraction, how to handle it, and how to approach women. Not doing this in our current environment puts them at a disadvantage.
This leads to point three. This is the idea that these poor Christian women just never get asked out by Christian men. The women are of course more spiritual, out number the men and are frankly just the victims of our Christian guys not being man enough. The general idea is that if Christian men were better men then all of these women would date them.
Look, there are some women who aren’t asked out at all. Some women need to think about how they present themselves and their own social skills. Some really are a victim of sorts because they are choosing to modest and chaste and want to be a good Christian wife and are losing out to others. Fair enough.
However, when a lot of Christian women (read most) say, “No one asks me out” what they mean is, “no one I’m attracted to asks me out.” You see women don’t want to be asked out by just any guy. They can say that they want a “good Christian guy” but what they mean is that they want a guy that they are attracted to, who also is a good Christian guy. Now I’m not necessarily saying anything is wrong with that. But the truth is that we do a terrible job of dealing with women and how attraction works for them. We don’t teach guys the truth of how it works and we aren’t honest with what women really mean. We rarely challenge women in this.
Finally, this idea that Christian men not asking out Christian women as the reason that Christian women date non-Christians is a complete joke. We are constantly rescuing women from responsibility. How heroic. Here’s the bottom line. People typically date who they are attracted to. At that point they either use Christian as qualifier of not. That is why it is important to manage attraction and desire, not just give into it.
I have no problem saying that a lot of Christian men need to take initiative, quit worrying about it and make a move, if you want to ask someone out, I’d do it. I get that there are men who are hesitant, but I think it has more to do with confidence than courage, more to do with effectiveness than effort.
But we must stop blaming men alone for the problem. We are all part of the mess and it is not a quick fix. We keep dealing with about 1/10th of the picture and that isn’t going to cut it.
* The best plan is to ignore all of this and focus on what works. More soon