The other day I was happened on a video win which Dave Ramsey was talking with Anthony ONeal about a recent dating experience he had. First a quick background in case you are not familiar with Ramsey and his people. The short version is that they help people get out of and stay out of debt. Anthony works with younger folks and is a young single man. One of the keys to getting and staying out of debt is having a budget . . . that you actually follow. I’ve talked before about as a single person having a “dating” line item in your budget. Suffice it to say that if you are single and want to date, then why not have a budget for that.
At any rate, here’s the story. Anthony goes out with a young woman on a date. They have a good time. At the end of the date they both want there to be a second date. The woman suggested that she would really like to go to a particular restaurant in town. Anthony says he will look into it.
One of the problems in our culture when it comes to singleness is that the word single is too broad. It means far too many things. As I’ve stated before here, this is especially a problem in Christian culture because there are varying scriptural instructions for different groups of unmarried people. There are at least the following biblical examples of marital status: The married, the divorced, the widowed, those not yet married, those celibate by birth, those celibate because of the fall of man and those who are called and choose Celibacy for the Kingdom. Needless to say, all of these are different.
But in our culture we have added a group that amazingly I’ve never directly addressed here at the blog. That is those couples that live in cohabitation.
So recently Charlize Theron stated in an interview that she was shockingly single. She said she was available and that someone just needed to grow a pair (Christian leaders would say “Man Up”) and ask her out.
As soon as I saw this story I started laughing. I laughed for two reasons. First, I knew that a bunch of people would ask her out through various means and second, that she was completely full of it.
And . . . that is exactly what happened. A good looking man from Kansas City (shout out to my home town) sent in a video asking her out. She signed a picture for him. Uh yeah, not what he had in mind. You can see both her original statement and the guy asking her out in this video here. It’s great.
There is so much great material here it could probably be 5 posts but I’m going to break it down in one and look at what we can learn from it.
I’ve shared a lot of things on here about what I’ve seen done wrong in how we talk to/about men – single and married. Let me share about one of the best events I’ve ever been to and why it stood out.
A group held a special event a couple of years ago in a community near me. They hosted a “Father’s Night”. They invited the people from the community to come to the school auditorium to honor some fathers from the community. They first had three very different speakers talk about fatherhood and what it means. Then, get this, they actually honored some fathers with fatherhood awards.
One of the complaints I hear all the time from men (and that I used to make all the time) is that women, and in our case Christian women, always seem to choose the bad guy over the good guy. If you are a consistent reader hear then you know that I would say that is the wrong view of a real issue.
Here is what women do – they choose the guy they are attracted to over the one they aren’t.
There are a lot of men who say that women should date them because they can be a great husband, are trying to be godly etc, even though they are not, for whatever reason attractive to women. I would ask that guy, are you asking out women you know to be godly that you are not attracted to? I’m guessing no.
So rather than sit around and complain, maybe we should think about what is attractive and work on it.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about chasing vs. pursuing. I’ve already decided we need some new language to make all of that more clear, but that is not the topic for today.
I received a note from one of my female leaders asking a good question in response to that post. In actuality she asks a much more important question, perhaps without knowing it. I don’t typically write specifically to women here because, well I’m not one, and I don’t come from that experience. But I think this is important and merits an post.
In follow up to the post on chasing vs pursing, may you write a refresher on how women should appropriately response to being chased or pursed? I think that for the well liked, popular Christian single lady, it may be easier to differentiate the two and act accordingly, perhaps due to exposure or experience. For other women, especially when requests and invitations are few and far in between, or even non existent, it can be hard to tell what is a good and noble pursuit versus what is simply a chase because we are a woman. Sadly, I have fallen for this one, and I would appreciate insight on how a woman should respond to such encounters in the future.
This question brings up a few very important points that we need to consider. So let me take a crack at them here, while hopefully helping answer the intent of her question.
I recently have received a couple of notes from readers asking for more on the difference between pursuing and chasing. In other words, we are taught, especially in Christian circles, that we should pursue a woman we are interested in. But as I have stated here many times, we should never chase a woman that we are interested in because it pretty much ensures failure.
But in our culture and language this can be a really fine line. Let’s face it, from a purely linguistic standpoint they are very similar and we should probably find other words. But when I think of these two words in the context of trying to find a spouse, I think they are worlds a part.
So what is the difference? How do we pursue and not chase? What does it look like?
If you are not called to celibacy and you desire and feel called to marry, as I see it we often struggle in at least one of three ways. Some can’t get a date, some can’t get from a date to more, and some can’t make a commitment to marriage. I’ve been all three of those guys at one time or another in my 20+ years of singleness.
Here at this blog we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the first one. We’ve talked about attraction, what do we do when we are attracted and how do we approach women etc. We’ve talked a little about the third group. The idea that men can’t make a commitment is sort of an overblown sentiment. True there are some fears, habits, and various other things that can create that situation. But it’s not as many men as people make it out to be. At least not men that are following Jesus and living purely. I’ll have some more to say about this group later.
But today I want to focus on the second group. In one way or another, I think there are a lot of people stuck here.
I want to continue to try to answer a question that reader Stephen asked me a few weeks ago. Here is the question.
Everyone talks about women wanting guys who “lead”, who “aren’t pushovers,” who “aren’t nice guys,” etc. Question: what does this mean in the context of DATING. NOT MARRIAGE. Its fairly obvious what this means for married men. But when I’m asking a woman out for the first, second, or third time, the only things we’re going to disagree over, or have to decide together, are whether we’re going to Chipotle or Olive Garden. What if I really don’t give a darn? How am I supposed to “lead” while I’m casually dating a girl? I’m not an integral part of her life, I’m not her primary counselor, I’m not even likely to be *informed* about serious decisions that she has to make.
I tackled the general nice guy question previously, but I think Stephen raises a very interesting question when it comes to leadership.
First of all, let’s clear a couple of things up. Nowhere in the bible is the phrase spiritual leader used. It’s kind of inferred in several places but we’ve sort of created this phrase so that we don’t have to use words like headship. But regardless of all of that, and no matter what you call it, when you are dating someone, you are not her spiritual leader or head of anything. You are not saddled with that and you don’t have to love her as Christ loved the church (any more or less than you would any other person) and she is not called to submit to your leadership. Ephesians 5 is not about dating.
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.