I've read Boundless for several years since a pastor friend recommended an article from your site. I have read — to the best of my knowledge — every article on your website. I listen to your podcast semi-regularly. Perhaps I am just oblivious (which may be the case), but it appears you are have not focused very much on one particular group of young adults. (Feel free to point me to articles/information that I have missed or forgotten about.)
Let me explain: As a single young man and seminary student, I desire to get married — if the Lord wills. There are multiple reasons — more than the "he-is-going-into-the-ministry-so-he-has-to-have-a-wife" stereotype I am often labeled. Bottom line is that I believe that I would best glorify God by pursuing to be married.
I've done my best, by God's grace, to prayerfully pursue a godly and humble young woman with the goal of friendship that eventually leads to marriage. I have done this more times than I can count. However, it has been several years since the last time a young woman has agreed to go out with me again after the second date. After the first or second date, they don't want to go out with me again, and — most of the time — come up with a lame excuse instead of telling me they would rather not go out with me.
So it appears to me that you are missing this group of young adults: godly young men who desire and pursue marriage, but keep getting shot down.
There are many friends of mine in the same boat as I am. Ultimately, we realize it is not the Lord's will for us to be dating, engaged or married right now. None of us, to my knowledge, is bitter in the least. We are thankful for all He has given us already. We are perfectly content with Him alone. But we do desire marriage.
We have the "who" down (i.e., a godly woman). We have the "what" down (i.e., goal of marriage). We have the "when" down (i.e., as soon as you are mature enough to lead a young woman in marriage [e.g., one year away]). We have the "why" down (i.e., it glorifies God). What we don't have down is the "how."
Your note reminded me of the adage, "You'll never get a hit unless you step up to the plate and take some swings." You and your friends certainly can't be faulted for not stepping up to the plate and swinging! I commend your tenacity!
Being intentional about marriage is critical, as any Boundless reader knows, but as you've discovered, there's obviously more to it. Maybe your problem is not that you don't have enough second dates, but that you have too many first dates that should have never been. Let me explain.
I wonder if you're investing enough time on the front end before the first date. To stick with the batting analogy, this ain't Tee-ball. You don't just walk over, grab any ol' bat, close your eyes, take a swing and — wham! — hit it out of the park.
Just imagine all that goes into actually hitting a ball that is whizzing toward you at over 90 miles per hour, on a curved trajectory, being thrown by someone who specializes in getting you to miss the ball (and who might just decide to throw it at you)! Eyes, muscles, brain synapses and hours upon hours of training all coming down to an instant of perfect timing.
In the same way, we don't just pick out a godly girl, ask her on a date, tell her we're interested in possibly marrying her because marriage glorifies God and expect her heart to melt. Now, I'm sure you haven't been quite that cavalier about it, but you get my point.
Let's talk about whether you even need to be on that initial date to begin with. Have you done your homework? Is there at least some "chemistry" there? Have the two of you spent enough time together in advance to get to know whether even the potential exists for a relationship?
You might save yourself the time and effort of a "first date" by spending more time getting to know her in a more casual group environment that has the two of you interacting with each other more than just sitting in class together. That's where you discover "chemistry."
She's godly? Great. She's humble? Wonderful. I'm glad those are at the top of your list for qualities in a potential wife. They should be. But you're seeking a wife, not buying a fuel-efficient car. You need to let your heart in on the action too.
Remember: You're pursuing a person, not an institution. Yes, being married glorifies God, but it does so because two people love each other in such a way that it points others to the love that Jesus and His Church have for one another.
Can't get her off your mind? Keep wanting to figure out ways to be around her? Does your heart do a little pitter pat when she talks to you? In group settings do you two seem to always gravitate toward one another? Do others seem to notice the chemistry between the two of you? Maybe it's time to think about taking it to the next level, but first. ...
Right now is the time in your life to develop the habit of bringing God into your relationships. Have you (singular) sought God's direction on whether that initial date should happen? While we want you to be intentional about marriage and pursuing a mate, we also want you to partner with God in doing so.
God wants to be involved in every detail of your life. Again, you might eliminate a number of "first dates, but no second dates" situations by seeking God before you ask her out the first time.
Put simply: Ask God what He thinks about it. He'll let you know. He'll impress your heart or speak through friends or through His Word or any number of ways. One way or another He will answer your question.
Finally, stay with it. Don't be discouraged. If you're really seeking God's guidance in your pursuit of a wife, even the first dates that don't seem to go anywhere have purpose. God is not a God of waste. He uses even the things we miss Him on to teach us and bring us closer to Himself.
We're not just mice in a maze trying to find cheese for God's enjoyment. We're not just batters swinging at the air, hoping to miraculously hit the ball once. He is not merely playing games with you. He's going somewhere with it all. God has eternal purpose in everything He does in our lives. What is God wanting to teach you from your dating history? About Himself? About you? About marriage? About the wife He has for you?
I'm thrilled you desire marriage. Just put a little more work into the swing before you step up to the plate, and you'll have fewer strikes. But don't get discouraged with some strikes. They have purpose. Stay with it. The perfect pitch is coming. ...
Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.