The Meek Will Not Inherit A Wife

A few years ago I was talking with this woman I liked, when she said, “You know what, I’m so tired of Christian guys.”  I laughed, cringed, and completely understood what she meant.

She didn’t mean that she wanted to date/marry an unbeliever or that she didn’t love Jesus. She meant that she was tired of the over thinking, over spiritualizing, over nice acting “Christian” guys, of which at the time I was one.

Now, to be sure, this girl had her own issues.  But the fact remains, we have a real problem within the Christian community when it comes to dating.  It’s everybody’s fault.

We (meaning the Church big picture) have this extremely weird double standard going on where we tell guys to be basically be nice and get in line, while following all the guys who don’t.  We say don’t date around, don’t ask anyone out if you don’t know you can marry them, guard the girl’s heart, but oh by the way – lead.  What the heck?!

What we’ve created is a whole lot of nice guys that don’t act.  And when they do act they end up doing so in a weak way.

I used to be completely frustrated at the fact that the “bad guy” would always somehow have the girl, and I, who was of course the “good guy” didn’t.  But while it’s true that some of these guys were bad, what most of them were was confident, regardless of their goodness or badness.  I on the other hand, when I really liked someone, was not.

When it comes to being attractive to females, confidence is perhaps the single most important factor.  Not even a lot of females can name this, but it’s a fact.  It’s more important in terms of initial attraction than just about anything including but not limited to: looks, money, spirituality, brains, ambition, drive or sexual prowess.  Although all those things both affect and are affected by confidence.

Women describe this different ways but it is core to what they are looking for.  They want, “someone who knows who they are”, “who knows what they want”, or “who is comfortable in their own skin”.  However they describe it they are attracted to it – they respect it.  And respect is the key.

We as men, have to get a handle on this, and most of us don’t.  We think we do, but we really don’t.  It takes some real courage to confront our lack of confidence.

I’m not talking about arrogance.  Although, arrogance is more attractive than boring or weak.  It is more attractive than fearful (although most arrogant people are masking fear). And this is important: Passivity is not the opposite of Arrogance.  Humility is. And humility is not about being weak.  

It’s more than semantics.  Humility is not interchangeable with weakness, meekness, or passiveness.  You cannot be insecure and humble at the same time.

Yes Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth.  But meek as we mean it in our culture (tame, mild, bland, unambitious are given as synonyms) is not what Jesus meant.  He was none of those things.  That verse does not mean the scared and passive will inherit the kingdom.  And they for sure will not inherit a wife.

It’s a double whammy.  Confident guys get dates because they are attractive to women, and because they are confident enough to ask.  They act because they are less afraid.

But here’s the best part, a lot of Christian spokesmen seem to think the answer is telling the non-cofident guy to man up.  That is completely ridiculous.  What we need to do is two things.

First we need to help guys dig deeper into why they are insecure and passive to begin with.  The spokespeople don’t like this because it requires actual work instead of just sounding cool in a sermon or book.  But it’s essential.  We have to figure out why we are scared.  What is it that makes us insecure around the women we want to pursue.  Actually at a broader view – what makes us insecure anywhere.  Where is that coming from?

Jesus was not insecure and if we are going to follow Him then that means facing our insecurities and growing out of them.  As a side benefit, as we do, we become more attractive.  Growth is hard work, but I promise you this – Growth is Hot.  Dead serious.

Secondly, we need to give men tools in interacting with women.  Here’s why.  Men are afraid of what they don’t know how to do.  We loathe failure.  So if I’ve spent most of my life not knowing what to do with women, guess what – I’m going to be insecure in that area.

All men are confident in what they know how to do and unconfident in what they don’t know about.  Therefore if we want Christian guys to have confidence and “man up” as it were, then we need to give them the tools, not just a pep talk.

I’ll have more to say about his later this week, but for today let me leave you with a couple of questions.

When are you confident?  When are you not?  When is the first time you can remember being passive?  Do you have the tools to pursue and marry a woman?

What To Do When You Just Aren’t Into Them

Here’s a crazy thought I had today.  I’ve been dating (or trying to) for over 20 years.

Now there are lots of stories here, many of them fairly entertaining.  But one thing that is true of all of them, in the end, for all of the dates, none of them worked out.  Which leads me to something I haven’t talked about yet.  Ending stuff.

Now I haven’t been in a lot of long term relationships and in some ways those were actually easier to figure out.  I mean if you’ve been in the relationship and then it is determined that you are not going to get married, well then as painful as it might be, at least there is clarity of some sort.  But what I have always struggled with is how to cut it off early on.

For example, at what point do you owe an explanation?  If you meet up one time and then we don’t go out again, do I need to call you and explain why?  Two dates in?  Three?

I have often failed miserably here and I’ve been failed by the ladies as well.  Why is this so hard?

A lot of it comes from passivity really.  In other words I can easily justify in my mind that the other person probably isn’t really that into me yet anyway so it’s no big deal.  But that is so weak.  I’ve been that guy.  The one who took you out three or four times and then just didn’t really call you.  That’s not ok.  This happens all the time.  So here are some thoughts about what to do and not do.

First of all if you go out with someone and you just aren’t interested don’t keep dating them.  I would occasionally fall into this trap.  Usually it was because I liked the person and didn’t really have anything to say bad about them.  I just wasn’t interested in dating them.  But if I had to do it again, I’d just tell them that – not exactly like that maybe but something close to it.

I was seeing one gal for a while and then I left for a month.  While I was gone I realized it just wasn’t really there between us. When I got back I called her and we chatted.  She was great and we both agreed it just wasn’t really a match.  It wasn’t that anything was wrong with either of us, we just weren’t going to pursue it.  But this was a lucky example.  Most of the time, one person is more into it than the other person.  This leads to the second reason we avoid the conversation.

We don’t like hurting other people.  But the problem is that it is actually less hurtful to have a one time conversation.  Now girls and guys avoid this different ways.  Guys just kind of disappear, which is pretty gutless.  Again, I say that having been “that guy”.  Ladies typically mishandle this by coming up with reasons to say no – that aren’t no.  “I’m not free that weekend” or “I see you as a friend“.  We both need to just say it.  “You’re a great person, but I’m just not attracted to you.”  It hurts a little but it’s clear and it’s over, hopefully.

The truth is, for the most part, if you are not attracted you are probably not going to be.  I’m not saying it never happens that you become attracted later, but you probably won’t be more attracted by continuing to “half-way date” them.  Again I think I’ve fallen into this many times.  I like the person and think they’re great.  They love Jesus etc. so I keep trying to be attracted.  This is typically a waste of everyone’s time.  It would be better to walk away.  And you know what, if you walk away and then decide, “wait a minute I really like them” you can call them back and see what happens.

Finally when we are on the other end we need to assume the best and move on.  If he doesn’t call you, there is not some mysterious reason, he’s just not into it.  So move on. If she always has a reason to not hang out, she’s not really that busy.  If a girl likes you, she’ll find time.  So move on.

We can save ourselves a lot of time and a lot of hurt if we are just honest.  So learn to man up (or whatever a woman calls that) and just end it if it’s not going anywhere.  We owe the other person that.

So how are you at ending stuff?  How do you handle when a person is into it and you aren’t?  What about when you are into it and they aren’t?

Don’t Have THE TALK!

Here are the words that no person wants to hear, “We need to talk.”  Just typing it makes me cringe a little.  This is because we know what is coming next and it’s not good.  It means someone is about to have THE TALK.  This could be called the “define the relationship talk” or what I call the “talk them into it talk”.  It is always bad and never has to happen.

The truth is that if you have to have THE TALK you are probably screwed.  When both people like each other there is a pretty natural flow.  Now I don’t mean that you don’t talk about your relationship and what you are thinking.  I’m talking about pretending you don’t know the truth and then trying to control it with a conversation.

This is different for men and women.

Let’s start with the ladies.  Ladies can often feel the need for THE TALK a few months into the relationship or even after a few dates.  Now if this is into the relationship this is probably the guys fault and we’ll get to that later.  But ladies this is almost never a good idea.  And I want to warn you, make sure you actually want to hear the answer before you ask for THE TALK.

If you are deep into a relationship (meaning months not a few dates) and the guy is not pursuing you or leading the relationship that’s bad news.  It means one of two things. It may be that he is not that into you and is too passive, comfortable, or lazy to break up.  It may also be that he has something going on inside of him that is keeping him from leading forward (this could be sin, woundeness, or just immaturity). I’ll admit I’ve been both those guys.  No matter what it’s you can’t fix it.

You should indeed have a conversation here.  But rather than create a dramatic moment that for sure will backfire, here’s a couple of ways you could approach it.  You could just ask him calmly how he feels about the relationship, where he sees it going.  You will know by his answer right?  Then you can either give it a little more time or break it off.

Now, on the other hand if it is early on, after a few dates and you just aren’t sure (although honestly you probably know) then I think it’s ok to test it to get a better idea.  Try making a plan further out in the future.  What’s his reaction.  Look, if a guy is into you, you’ll know 90% of the time.  If you feel like he’s not it’s ok to bolt.  If you really like him and he chases you down, then great.  But if he doesn’t he was looking for a way out to begin with.  Don’t lay your whole heart out there after a few dates.  He hasn’t earned that.  You are worth pursuing right?

And ladies.  If there is someone you like who is not pursuing you, do not ask him out.  Now I’m going to write a post soon on how you can help a guy you like ask you out.  But even then you can only lead a horse to water.  He has to want to go out with you.

Gentlemen we typically have the talk when we like someone but aren’t dating them.  This is perhaps the most ridiculous idea ever.  And yet I’ve done it.  Many times actually.  It hurts me more than you know to type that and I can tell you it does not work.  It makes you desperate and unattractive.

Typically it happens like this.  We have someone we’ve met (or even just seen around – heaven have mercy) and we aren’t dating them.  We haven’t even really asked them out. Maybe we’ve been in a small group or we work with them or whatever.  We’ve probably become “friends” with them (post coming soon).  But we decide that now is the time to declare our intentions.

It seems almost noble and sort of “Christian” but I assure you it isn’t.  All that is going to happen is you are going to put a huge amount of pressure on the situation.  No matter what she says, it’s going to go bad.  Look, here is how to find out if a girl likes you.  Ask her out.  If she says yes go on a short first date.  If she says no then move on.  Do not have THE TALK.  For the love of all things, do not think that you are going to talk her into liking you.

Here’s what THE TALK really is.  It is an attempt to avoid or change reality.  You already know the answer.

So have you ever had THE TALK?  Have you ever seen it actually work?

Are You Hot Or Not?

Here’s a question you have to answer.  “Are you good looking or not?”

For a long time my answer was no – hard to believe right? Ha.  I grew up not really thinking I was good looking and then in college I somehow thought I was and then in my 20s thought I wasn’t.  Confused?  So was I.  What’s funny is that when I go back and look at pictures in a yearbook, I was actually a pretty good looking guy.

One of the big traps as a guy is to think that your looks are the main thing that makes you attractive to a girl.  Now I think looks matter to women but not in the same way that they do to us.  According to most women I know, it is about an overall way we carry ourselves more than looks per se.  And let’s be honest, we just aren’t as good to look at as women.

However how we look does matter in several ways and how we think we look is hugely important.

For starters I think being in shape and “looking our best” sends a message to women.  It says, “I have my self together” and/or “I care about myself physically.”  I think how a guy looks matters in that way.  If he is in shape it says that he has some sort of discipline, that he takes care of stuff (and therefore might take care of her).  It might be subconscious but women notice it on some level.

But WAY more important is how you carry yourself as a man.

I’ve talked being confident and how that makes us “hot” to women.   What we think of how we look affects our confidence level.  What I’m saying is that our looks affect our view of ourself way more than a woman’s view of us.  This is part of the reason that the average looking guy can get the really attractive girl. That guy is confident in who he is and that is attractive.

Here’s a crazy fact.  I feel way better about how I look at 40 than I did at 30. Here’s how that happened with some thoughts of how it might relate.

First, I was out of shape at 30.  My workout habits were bad and my eating habits were worse.  I think we need to get healthy.  It will make us look better and more importantly feel better all of which equals more confidence which equals attractiveness to the ladies.

Second, I got invisalign braces and fixed my teeth.  Now I had felt subconscious about my teeth for a long time.  But my passivity kept me from doing anything about it.  That was stupid.  Now I don’t have movie star teeth now but it is way better.  Guess what, braces work – that’s why millions have had them.  The point here is that sometimes we just need to man up a little and take care of certain stuff.  If you have an area that you don’t feel good about that’s fixable (I’m not talking crazy like plastic surgery here) then why not do it.

This is one of the places where community has to have a role.  We need people in our lives who tell us the truth about stuff like this.  More people should have said, “Hey – you should get your teeth fixed,” or at least asked me why I hadn’t.

But the most important I did was divorce how I looked from my lack of success with women.

Here’s how that happened.  First I began to realize that average looking guys dated and married really attractive girls.  Then, kind of by accident I ended up dating a couple of really attractive girls.  Now none of those relationships lasted, but then it dawned on me, why would they have gone out with me to begin with if they found my looks undesirable.  I mean I didn’t run around dating people I wasn’t attracted to so why would they.  This was a revelation.  If I could get the first date, then my looks weren’t the problem.

What I had thought was the reason that I couldn’t get the girl wasn’t the reason at all.  I thought I wasn’t attractive enough, but no girl had ever really told me that.  I just bought the lie.  It was a lie that I had believed since I was a kid and I needed to healed of it.  It was like God just kind of showed me, “Justin, this is not the problem, you look fine.  It’s been a lie.”

If you would have asked me ten years ago if I was good looking I would have said no.  Now I’d say yes.  That’s God.  That’s also hot.

So here’s the question again.  Are you good looking or not?  What are you basing your answer on?  How does that affect your confidence?

Stop Looking At Her And Go Talk To Her

From about 7th grade until I was in my mid 30’s (man I hate admitting this), I had a huge thought that ran through my head when it came to dating.  It was basically, “I can’t get the girl I really like to like me.”  Now granted in 7th grade, no girls (whether I liked them or not) liked me – ha.  But as I went into high school there was always THE girl that I wanted. Kind of adolescent version of THE ONE. If I could somehow be “good enough” then THE girl would like me and my world would be complete.

When I got to college this changed because I just dated people and wasn’t looking for THE ONE.  But after college it came back.  There would be someone that I liked that I couldn’t pursue, or more often that just wasn’t interested in me. There were other people who liked me – but not the “right” people so to speak.  So I wasn’t unlikeable, which I guess was good, but I couldn’t seem to get the girl I was all about.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me similar stories.  There are a lot of reasons for this.  Part of it is we are playing with a narrow field.  I mean you want to date someone you are actually attracted to and get along with, who also loves Jesus and has some sort of similar direction in life.  It’s a smaller target area to a degree than a lot of our culture.  Add to this that as believers we are not looking for the “hook up” (at least hopefully not) and the pressure mounts.

So as guys, what happens is when we finally see someone who seems to fit all the categories, we choke.  We end up thinking about this person way too much and give her this power over us that she should not have – and if we really got to know her that she would not have.  We stop being ourselves and become passive or nice.  Which is why these women are never attracted to us.  We end up thinking too much or strategizing for the right moment, or we become “friends” with them.  All of this makes me want to vomit, mainly because I spent so much time there.

If you are thinking that only the “wrong” women like you, then you are the problem.  

You are acting differently around the people you really like. The women you don’t like are attracted to you because around them, you are yourself.  You lead, and stand up for stuff. Women like that.  But when you get around someone you really like you can’t do it.

If you don’t change this, you will never get married because you probably won’t marry someone you are not attracted to and excited about, and you won’t be able to get the women who you are attracted to.

You have to get out of your head.  If you are having pretend conversations or thoughts about a person, you are done.  It’s over.  It’s not going to happen and certainly not the way you are pretending it will.  Worst of all, she is not the person you have made up in your head.  It’s not real.  Stop it.  Seriously.  Ask God to kill the pretend.

We build up the woman we like into something not real. But she’s an actual person who -as awesome as she is – sweats, bleeds and even poops just like you.  So stop being scared.  Look, if you think she is not going to be interested in you, she won’t be.

Stop looking at her and start talking to her.

You have to act.  The longer you delay, strategize, etc, the deeper hole you are digging for yourself.  My opinion is that you have only a one to one look at/talk to ratio.  In other words once you’ve made eye contact you have to act – ideally in about 30 seconds.  If you don’t, you send one of two messages – 1. you are not interested in meeting her or 2. you are scared of her – and worse, you’re now deeper in your own head.

Even if all you do is introduce yourself that’s great – in fact typically that’s better.  We are going to get into some technique stuff later, not so that we can all be Casanova but because no one in the church is helping us guys figure this out (I promise this is coming soon).  But the number one way to kill the pretend and/or stop being afraid of her, is to talk to her.  I promise, she’s a real person – who could actually like you.

So can you get the one you like to like you?  What goes through your head when you are attracted to someone?

Get In The Game

From about the age of 27 to 31 I went on zero dates.  I know, hard to believe.  I would have told you that I had no good options and that I was focussed on ministry but really that would have been a load of crap.  Now to be fair I was working really hard in my job and I did live in a smaller community but truthfully, while I would have said that I wanted to be married (believe me I would have emphatically declared my overwhelming desire for that), I just wasn’t doing very much about it.

But then I decided I was going to get into the game as it were.  One way or another I was going to meet people and go on dates.  Now I did a lot wrong and frankly by this point I was pretty messed up in this area of my life and God had to basically teach me how to pursue women again but I was not going to sit around and wait.

I think one of the reasons we have more single Christians is that there is an over spiritualization of the whole thing.

There is this idea that God will send me someone and I won’t have to do anything about it.  This, in my view is ridiculous, ineffective, hurtful, and completely inconsistent with everything else we do in life.

While I do think that God sends people into our life, we have to act.  If I pray for God to get me a job, for example, do I now not have to complete a resume?  Do I not have to go on a job interview?  Does a job just appear?  Of course not!  I ask God to help me find a job, to guide my search, to help me discern between options etc.  But then you know what, I hit the pavement.  I go out and apply.  If I don’t, chances are I will remain jobless.

The same is true for finding a spouse.  I’m not going to get married if I don’t ever go on a date.  The number one way to guarantee singleness is to not pursue marriage.  And pursuing marriage means getting out there.

To some extent it’s a numbers game.  I’m not saying date just anybody but I am saying that dating nobody will result in staying single.

Back in the day most marriages were arranged in one form or another.  But we are not back in the day.  We are here living in this culture.  I mean if you want your parents to pick someone for you go for it but most of us, and especially if you are 25 and older, don’t really see this as a viable option.

Gentlemen, this mostly falls on us.  We are the initiators.  But most of us are not initiating well.  We look at women, but we don’t approach them.  We angle our way into “friendships” but don’t ask people out.  We see a woman across the room that we want to talk to but we let the moment pass (Ladies – it is ok to initiate contact by the way – that is not the same as asking a guy out).

We have all sorts of excuses.  “I’m not sure I like her yet” – well how will you know if you don’t spend time with her.  “I don’t want to lead her on” – it’s one date – and get over yourself already.  We are scared of rejection and we are scared of success.  Some of us flat don’t know how to talk to women and have no confidence in this area.  Some of us are just lazy.

If you want to get married you have to get past all of this.  I’m not suggesting serial dating (I keep promising to get to this group and I will – because I’ve been there too), but I would argue that for most of the guys I know this is not the issue.

Here are some ways to get in the game.

  • Let your friends know you are looking.  Getting set up by people that know you can be good.  Remember it’s just one date
  • Talk to women.  I know this sounds simple but start doing it more – get to know women.  Work on being comfortable around them.  Even those you aren’t interested in.  They might have a friend.
  • Do online dating.  This is part of our culture and it works.  Seriously.  This will help keep you engaged.  Here is a great breakdown of different sites.  I’d suggest one site at a time – trust me (more on this soon).
  • Do ministry – serve
  • Don’t hesitate.  If you want to ask someone out – do it – right then.

Dating is risky.  It can be hard, frustrating and you could even get hurt.  You could also get married.

Passivity Is Killing Us

So yesterday was father’s day and that made me think of men and the struggles we often face.  One of the areas we really struggle in is our passivity.  It’s pretty much an epidemic really.  We so often fail to engage where we should.  Sometimes that comes from laziness but often times it comes from fear, and our number one fear is failure.

We are all passive in different places, mainly the places we don’t feel confident (which is a lot of places for most of us).  We of course try to only operate in the places we feel confident but that usually fails at some point.  When we don’t know what to do or are afraid to fail, we go passive.

One place that most men are passive though is in relationships with women. This goes all the way back to the garden.  In Genesis, Adam and Eve are in the garden when Satan tempts Eve to eat the fruit.  I’m not going to go into the female part of this here but I want to touch on Adam’s part.  Adam was literally right next to Eve as this is going on.  It’s not like she calls him over and says, “Hey come check out this fruit”.  No, Adam is “with her” and in the Hebrew it says he was literally with her, right at her side.

Adam is there and he does nothing.  He doesn’t lead, doesn’t confront, doesn’t rescue Eve, doesn’t stand up and say, “Hey go back to Hell.  We are following God”.  He goes passive.  Ever thought about why? I’ll tell you why.  He was more afraid of Eve than God.  I have a mentor that says most men are afraid of their wives.  I like to joke that I’m afraid of my wife and I’m not even married yet.

This leads to all sorts of trouble in marriage.  Husbands can become passive and then aggressive to make up for it.  They hide in work.  They can fail to lead their family.  Mainly there are just whole areas where they check out. But this is also extremely important as a single.

As a single person I think it is much easier to keep ourselves in situations that we feel confident without facing our fears.  There is often no reason bigger than ourselves to face them so we just don’t.  This is why having people that know your story, including where you are passive, is so huge.

And when it comes to how we approach women, it just creates one mess after another.  It can keep us from pursuing women that we really want to.  If we do pursue, it can lead to doing it in a nice guy, aw shucks kind of way at best, or make us creepy at worst.  We end up chasing instead of pursuing and that is not where you want to be – trust me I’ve spent way to much time there.

If we don’t deal with passivity as a single guy, one of two things is going to happen.  Either we are not going to get married or probably worse, we are going to marry someone we don’t really want to or someone who is controlling us.  In both cases we end up with a situation where they are leading us.  We end up in a marriage that is all backwards where we are emasculated or where eventually we grow a pair and it all blows up in our face.  All of this is bad, really bad.

Passivity kills masculinity because it steals our confidence and leads to sin. So we need to face it head on. Here are a couple of things that have been helping me.  First of all when you are passive in a situation, don’t spend time beating yourself up over it.  This accomplishes nothing good and in fact will probably drive you to more passivity.  Instead, ask yourself where are you passive?  What situations do you shrink back from?  A way I like to ask it to myself is where do I feel like a 5 year old?  Then ask God, where does that come from?  In other words what are you afraid of and where does that fear originate?  It will probably not be the first thing that comes to mind so engage your heart, and God.

So how about it guys?  Does this resonate?  Where are you passive?  What has it cost you?  How have you responded to your passivity?  Ladies feel free to chime in as well.