Now for the men. Before we go any further, I must give credit to David Platt and Matt Chandler for some of the ideas I am going to present.
David Platt speaks of men and dating in his Secret Church: Family, Marriage, Sex and the Gospel. 10/10 would recommend. And Matt Chandler spells out his ideas in his book "The Mingling of Souls." Another fantastic resource for dating and how to date.
Also, before I begin, any men reading this must know this will not be an easy read. This is going to challenge you, push you, and it may even sting a bit, but my goal is to inform men of the truth of how we, as men, should act.
It was hard for me to think through what I was going to write because I also fell short of some of these truths that I am going to spell out. However, that is the thing about truth. It challenges our ideas and molds us into a better person. If we let it.
So let us begin.
Before any man should date, he needs to BE A MAN!
I do not mean you need to be overly masculine and have hair protruding from every part of your body, but I do mean you need to quit being this weird mix of pubescent-men that has arisen as of late in our culture. Make some sort of effort to become independent, before you pursue any kind of romantic relationship.
Whether that be school, or work, or any other facet that allows for independence, MAKE A MOVE! You cannot pursue a wife while you are prolonging adolescence by staying with your parents until your late twenties or thirties, and playing video games all day.
If you want to depend on your parents until they die, so be it.
But you better not pursue a woman. As a wife, she will already be helping you raise your children, she better not have to raise you with them. So make something of yourself if you want a wife. Work hard towards your independence, so you can learn how to lead your family well, not follow behind your parents while picking up their scraps.
After becoming a man is a reality, a man should desire CHARACTER OVER BEAUTY in a woman.
This has been preached at men for ages, but for some reason it hasn't stuck. I'm not narcissistic enough to think that me saying it will make it stick, but reinforcing a good idea leads to it being accepted as true. Worldly beauty will fade 100% of the time. Character will not.
It is foolish to pursue a woman based on looks alone, because looks aren't raising your children, or earning you a second income, or making you a better man, or any other scenario that is of the highest importance other than what happens in the bedroom. Looks won't cut it.
As a man, work towards finding a woman who is strong and willing to come alongside you as you both do life together. If you find a woman with excellent character, I promise you she will instantly become more beautiful than she already is.
Once a woman who will make you a better man is found, LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE!
Women are generally more emotional than men. However, that does not mean that men can use the excuse that "they just aren't emotional" to avoid communicating with their wives or girlfriends. "I just ain't an emotional guy" is something I have heard men say, but I am going to go ahead and call foul on that one.
Yeah right you aren't emotional, but when your football team scores a touchdown you're up hooping and hollering. Or when you get a raise at work, you aren't just casually strolling back to your desk or post because "you're not emotional". You are emotional towards the things you care about, so quit giving that crap excuse and start caring about your girlfriend or wife.
Learn how to talk with her in a way that builds her up, not tears her down; give her non-sexual hugs to show you care; constantly be pouring into her; be her best friend as you both wade through life together.
This last piece of advice falls on Christian men specifically, but non-believing men can still use this application and it will work.
BE WILLING TO LOVE HER LIKE CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH!
This is the hardest one to follow and it may seem a little vague, but our example is perfect and our model is pure. Christ laid down his life for the church.
It was undeserving and ungrateful, it was rebellious and self-serving, and the people He was dying for were the ones driving the nails in His hands, but He still loved them. If you are dating a woman, ask yourself if you would be willing to do the same for her.
If you aren't dating, would you be willing to possibly do this for someone? Because as a man of God you are called to love your wife as Christ loved the church, and if you aren't willing to sacrifice your live for your future bride, you need to reevaluate your heart, and your relationship.
I, in no way, claim to be the expert on dating. And I am definitely not perfect in my own relationship, just ask her. However, I know the gospel and what it means for us and how we should live, and my prayer is for men of the church and of this world to stand up and start acting like men.
I hope this was eye-opening and helpful to any man pursuing a relationship. Give it a like and share if you agreed and comment if you don't. I'd love to discuss these things.
Photo creds go to my friend Shelbi Renaldo. Look her Facebook up for info about scheduling shoots.