And when she says she wants somebody else I hope you know she doesn’t mean you

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 know 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

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0 Responses to And when she says she wants somebody else I hope you know she doesn’t mean you

  1. Am I allowed to say “Amen” or something similar to that?

  2. Id love to read a blog in response to this… as in someone who doesnt agree with you, casue Im sure theres someone. Carla, kudos to you on this one.

  3. Alisa, I can’t get over how quickly you commented. 🙂

  4. Wow….you’re so,…right.

    Yet another good reason I won’t be recommending this book.

  5. You tapping into my brainwaves again?? 😉

  6. Steven

    Carla, thank you for your honesty. Keep going!

  7. There’s nothing wrong with being serious about dating. Where people are going wrong is in letting their fear of rejection be masked by the IKDG ideology. In rare cases, I think it’s hard to know how a relationship will work with someone until you’ve dated them. Does that mean you’re going to fail a lot? Yes. Is that a problem? No. You only have to succeed once … everything else is a weeding-out process.

  8. Right. Like I said, I’m not in favor of dating just for the sake of dating. My focus is still very much “Can I see myself marrying this person?” I just don’t think I need to know that before the first date ever happens.

  9. Steven

    weeding out process? I don’t know about that…

  10. I agree with you that having to know before the first date is too extreme: why DATE at that point? Why not get engaged and married within the week? Dating, like someone mentioned, is a weeding-out process. There will be failures.

    My take on it has always been, go on a date, or two, or ten, with this person. Ask yourself and Jesus, “Is this the guy for me?” If the answer is a resounding, “NO!” then get the heck out – don’t waste your time, or his time. If the answer is “I don’t know!” then there’s nothing wrong, so long as you’re being true to yourself and to Jesus, with continuing the relationship, until you get a definitive answer.

    One must be careful, however, not to invest oneself too deeply, until the answer is “YES”. THAT’s where we get into trouble.

    All the best!
    ~ Raelyn

  11. I love you Carla in a “no I don’t want to date you” kind of way. 🙂

  12. mb

    It’s been a long time since I read IKDG, but was Josh’s point that we should only “court” people who we know we are going to marry? I thought his point was more about taking more time before dating/courting to get to know the person, and then when you do decide you want to pursue something deeper, that you know going in what the sole purpose of the courtship is about.

  13. great post, Carla Jean. I reject most of the side-effects of the IKDG phenomenon, but I still consider myself to be a bit overly cautious about making the right decisions.

    However, from your blog I’ve learned that as a man, I am likely to blame for something, so I’ll just cut my losses and pre-emptively dump this girl.

    😉 (totally kidding)

  14. Peter, Peter, Peter.

    Have you not figured it out yet?

    The aim of my blog is to convince all men to hate me!

    If any man has the courage to ask me out after reading my numerous rants, he’s a keeper.

    Heck, forget asking me out. Just propose.

    After all, that’s what Josh Harris would do.


    (And again – I am KIDDING with the Josh Harris jokes. 🙂 I actually liked that book better than most people.)

  15. Wait.

    Liked the book better than you like most people, or liked the book better than most other people like it?

    Then again, I’m not sure I want to know that answer.

  16. Chris, you are officially a goober.

  17. All men are goobers in some way or another. You should write a book about dating… wait… 😉

  18. Good thoughts, Carla…and I tend to agree with you. 5 years ago, I could have written a blog entry for the opposing viewpoint. I was only going to date one man, and only give my heart to one man…the man I would marry. But as I’ve gotten older and more mature, wise and desperate, 🙂 I’ve realized how unhealthy and unrealistic that way of thinking can be.

  19. Date someone. That is my advice in all situations because it brings about the most awkward reaction.

  20. Tim

    I think I have done well for myself avoiding this book. I just can’t see how dating can be bad if you are dating with a view to marriage. If you know you can’t marry someone, then dump them, otherwise, as long as you are honouring God in your relationship, then it is all good.
    As for why it is a whole messed up Christian system. My big rant revolves around girls who think that taking a biblical attitude toward dating means they can’t let a guy know that they like them, this going to the point where they will even ignore a person they like in social situation, in case other people find out that they are interested. Man I think it just calls for more honesty on both sides of the fence!

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