I’m a Christian that believes in dating. Scandalous I know. But please, before anyone starts hating my guts, let me explain my definition of dating. Dating begins when you have decided you are of age and would like to be married in the near future. Dating involves getting to know someone in groups and one on one. Dating involves progression. Meaning you don’t start by flirting with the person every 10 minutes and trying to make out with them. You take time to get to know them. Maybe because initially you were attracted to them in some way-nice smile, good sense of humor, whatever. Dating will also involve deciding whether to go on or not. And if you decide that you’re not suited, pull the plug and part as friends. Most importantly, dating should be a direct reflection of your relationship with God. Be honorable, be respectful, be kind, be honest.
Now how do I define courtship? The same way. But traditionally, how courtship seems to be defined is this: guy prays to God for the one, guy protects girls’ hearts by being friends with them only, guy (after much, much, much, much, much, much prayer, thought, and consideration) asks to court girl with the expectation that because of the much, much, much, much, much, much prayer, thought, and consideration, that this is THE ONE. girl expects the same because otherwise why would guy have even asked to court her? And if the girl decides to be courted, not only is there the expectation this will lead to marriage, there is also the expectation that guy will have to adjust to her exacting standards. It either ends in marriage or with girl crying foul and claiming guy defrauded girl. Following so far? Be honest now…how many people do you know that have gone through this scenario?
How did the concept of courtship get so twisted? Can I just say though? I get it. I get it guys. Why you feel this unreasonable pressure to get it right the first time. I mean really. If everytime you ask a girl out there is the potential of being accused of defrauding her…well, like I said, I get it. Add to that, guys are supposed to be the head of the home. The providers. And don’t you dare start “courting” a girl unless you have it all together. That’s the message being sent out. I know many good Christian guys that use this as an excuse. They don’t have their crap together so why date? They’re not “ready” for marriage. Well, let me play devil’s advocate here. Some men, yes, were never meant to be married. Single blessedness is also for men after all. And it doesn’t mean you are lacking, or God doesn’t have a plan for your life. His plan for your life will be just as fulfilling as a single as it would be for a married person. BUT-what if God’s plan is for you to be married? What are you doing to be ready for it? Are you spending money on sports cars instead of a condo? Are you not dating because you don’t have your finances settled? Stop making excuses. If you believe God’s plan is for you to be married and you are of age…then please. Do something about it. Man up. Ask a girl out for coffee. Make it clear it’s a date. If at some point it gets awkward because you’ve realized that you’re better off as friends…then LET IT BE AWKWARD. Why do we run from feeling uncomfortable and awkward? This is life. You’re not sinning if things get weird with someone. Guys, I’d like to say I don’t blame you…but I do.
Girls, I also blame us. I’m right there with you. I’ve put undue pressure on a guy before. I’ve bought into the belief that if a guy showed any slight interest in me then he was obligated to follow that through by asking to court me. And if he ever got around to courting me, well, he had to be the one. If a guy disappeared on me, well wasn’t he just the worst jerk ever?? Come on ladies! What are we doing to our brothers in Christ? Yes, we are princesses. Yes, we deserve to be treated with respect. This doesn’t mean that we set these incredibly crazy standards and write out 50 point lists about “the perfect guy”. (Unless of course, God really directed you to do that). It doesn’t excuse us expecting guys to act like they are some romantic lead that can read our minds, know what to say and when to say it, and give us the perfect gifts just at the perfect time. And if a guy “ends a courtship” with you…it doesn’t excuse catty behavior where we bash guys and blame them for engaging our emotions. It takes two to tango. Did it ever occur to you to protect your own heart instead of expecting the guy to single-handedly do this for you? Can’t we just set some basic standards? Must love God being first. Kindness, selflessness, honesty are all important. But guess what? Oftentimes you will need to agree to a couple of dates to figure these things out. Please don’t take every invitation for dinner as a marriage proposal. And again, I’VE DONE THIS. I’ve totally done crazy stalker girl. Who hasn’t?? Can we agree to cut guys some slack and can they agree to do the same for us?
I would love to see people embrace the concept of godly dating. Or godly courtship. Whatever you want to call it. It’s a step of faith. It’s awkward, messy, and uncomfortable. Life’s like that. But God’s there to catch you. Don’t avoid doing things (good things) for fear of sinning. Instead do the best you can knowing who you are in Christ. And when you fail, fail forward. Love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness are never more real to me than when I fail.
With all my love,
The Frog Princess