It all makes so much sense now.
I’ve ranted and lamented my way through the hurt and anger of my recent break-up (20 days and counting). Some of my friends have endured far more than their obligatory earful. Of those, a few have joyfully accepted their role and joined in the raging.
My bitterness isn’t directed at the ex (though I reserve the right to regress!) Now I vacillate between fascination with the opposite sex and an abhorrant attitude toward men. At lunch on Tuesday, my friend Natalie was eager to add her perspective to what’s wrong with dating – especially among Christians.
That male bashing attitude came to the front of our conversation again on Friday night. We completed the tour of my apartment and moved to the living room to plot our next moves. As the conversation turned back to dating, her words surprised me.
“Did you know that
Junior was going to ask you out?” she asked.
“No!” I exclaimed.
The next evening after our girl-power lunch, Natalie had discussed dating (and the problems that lie within) with Junior. I’m supposing that it was during this conversation that this piece of information was shared.
Based on the comments that he made during their discussion, she guessed that he didn’t get around to asking me out because of the general attitude toward dating in that particular church group.
You guessed it – it’s the hyper-Josh Harris “Not only have I kissed dating goodbye, but I’m not going to go on a date unless I that it’s with the person that I’m going to marry” mindset.
Thus begins yet another rant about the Christian dating scene. No complaints – I warned you that it was coming! 😉
Natalie and I agreed that there must be something wrong when there are a large number of fantastic Christian men and women, and virtually no one is dating. I know plenty of beautiful Christian girls who are in their late teens or their twenties and have never even been asked on a date.
That’s not normal. Heck – I would go so far as to say that’s not healthy!
Go ahead and laugh. Tell me that my rage about this phenomenon is based in my recent break-up and the four (and a half!) years that have passed since my last date.
You’ll be right, in part.
But my frustration is also rooted in my own former attitudes toward the mysterious relationships between men and women. Yes – I admit it. I am a recovering Harris-ite.
I don’t mean to dump all that I think is wrong with dating among Christians on Josh Harris. I’m sure that many of the problems pre-date his book. They’re certainly not based only on what he wrote in those pages. (If there’s a chapter that instructs us to revert to junior high dance tactics of boys on one side of the room and girls on the other, I must’ve skipped it.) But I do think that the IKDG mindset has at least a bit to do with the present state of affairs.
I read that infamous book as a freshman at Florida State. I’d been serious about my relationship with Jesus for only a couple of months, and I wondered how my newfound faith would and should impact my dating life. In the months preceding this life change, I’d been basing my sense of self worth on the opinions of others – particularly the opinions of boys. I knew that wasn’t the godly attitude to maintain, but I didn’t know what was appropriate.
Harris’ book was a starting point for developing my own convictions about dating. He got me thinking about and searching Scripture for God’s perspective on how I should live out my faith. Later, Jeramy Clark encouraged me to do the same, though his perspective was different from Harris’.
I was an IKDG girl. I led a small group on the book during my sophomore year of college. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t go on a date with a guy unless I’d known him for at least a year. I prayed for my future husband – not that he would be the next guy I dated, but that he would be the next guy I liked.
(I’ve now disclosed embarrassing secrets that even some of my closest friends probably didn’t know. ;))
And then one day I woke up and realized how extreme I was being.
I know a few people who were fairly certain that their date was going to be their spouse before the first date came along. But I think that in most situations – or at the very least, in my life – if you’ve reached a point where you can say with confidence that so-and-so is going to be the person you’re going to marry before so-and-so ever enters a dating (courting, whatever!) relationship with you, there might be something wrong. For me, this would mean that I’ve given a guy waaaaaaay too much of my heart outside of a commited relationship. I don’t think giving away that much of myself is wise in that context.
So sue me if I go on a date with a guy who I like but am not in love with. (Heck, if Mr. Ex and I had ever gone on our first date, that would’ve been the case! :)) Realize that I’m not promoting the opposite extreme, either. Please do confront me if I go on a date with a virtual stranger.
But for now, I leave you with four precious words regarding my rants about Christians dating.
I told you so.
And for the record, the saddest part of all this? I think I would’ve said yes! It’s been about nine months, but I wonder if it’s too late… 😉
*name changed to stop the nosy