When it comes to dating, and I think especially “Christian dating”, one of the big mistakes too many people make is having the idea that it just happens. In fact I think most people want it to be this way. They want it to just happen.
This comes from several places. First there is this idea that God has only one person for you and He will magically bring them to you. This is how we get all of the spiritual platitudes like, “God will do it in his timing”, “when it’s right you’ll know”, “God just hasn’t brought you the one yet”, “He is preparing someone for you”, and on and on and on. What’s funny about these platitudes is that while we hate them when someone says them to us, we also hide behind them when we don’t act.
I’ve addressed this particular point about a zillion times in this blog. But for the record, there is not THE ONE, there is no spiritual soulmate, He is not holding out on you.
But the second and maybe more powerful place this comes from is a culture that says everything should happen organically. Whatever that means. Basically what it seems to mean is that you shouldn’t have to actually do anything. You are entitled to whatever you want and you shouldn’t have to actually try to go do it.
This is a super convient concept when stuff doesn’t go our way. Or when we sin.
My girlfriend is pregnant becomes everything happens for a reason. Yeah it does, because you had sex when you shouldn’t have. I don’t know how to ask someone out can conveniently become, God will bring me someone. I’m overweight (don’t have a job, don’t have direction, don’t know how to interact with people, etc.) but people should just like me for me. The right person will just organically be attracted to me. (But of course I won’t be extending that same courtesy to them).
Maybe in the past when the average age of marriage was about 10 years younger than it is today that sort of thing would make some sense. I think there is some reality to college aged folks and “organically meeting”. But for most of us this just is not a good plan to get married.
The first question needs to be, do you actually want to get married. I believe that most of us are called to do so. Marriage, while not the end all and not the solution to life, was instituted by God in the very beginning. Some people will not get married. Some are not called to it. But for those of us who don’t think we are called to celibacy we need to attempt to move beyond it, not just sit around and hope for it. Especially as a man.
We need to act. And action, typically means being intentional. Being intentional typically means having a plan. None of this means that the plan will work.
I’ve used this example before but let’s say you need a job. Do you sit around and just hope that it “organically” happens? Ok I know some people do, but those people typically remain unemployed. If you want a job, you go out and hit the pavement (or the internet or whatever). You use the resources available to you to find a job. You might have work on some skills. Maybe a new skill for a new job – that might require going back to school or practicing interviewing. You learn, practice, and attempt, over and over again.
If a kid wants to get better at a sport for example, do they sit around and hope that they just learn to shoot a basketball? No you learn how to shoot it. You listen to your coach. You go out in the driveway and shoot the ball over and over. Does this mean you’ll be Jordan? No. But will you be better than the average person who hasn’t shot a basketball? Yes.
Look, I’m not saying it’s simple. What I am saying is that having a plan and learning how to be better is good. Humbling maybe, but good. It’s called growth. It requires effort. And usually it requires failure because you don’t know when or if it will work.
The question should be, how do I put myself in the best position to succeed. I have to get in the game. I need to have a plan of attack. I might need to practice. I might need to study or acquire new skills.
You need a plan of how to meet people, how to approach people and what to do on a date. And that’s just for starters.
Gentlemen let me assure you of this. Girls like a guy who has a plan. They can say they don’t but they do. That doesn’t change when you get married by the way. If they want to think “it just happened” that’s fine, but we all know it didn’t.
Do you want to get married? What are you doing today that makes tomorrow any more likely that you will get married? If you aren’t dating anyone, what is your plan to change that? If you are dating someone, what is your plan to advance that relationship? What are your intentions? What are doing to make your intentions reality? What are you getting better at?