I'm a 28-year-old Christian single guy and have been single for the past nine and a half years (my last dating relationship was back in high school). My entire dating history is only about four months of my life, so I'm pretty inexperienced in this area. I'm a shy guy, so I have trouble meeting new people; plus I have a tendency to push people away when I'm going through something personal.
Anyway, there's a new girl at my workplace, and I sense I may have feelings for her. She claims to be Christian as well. She and I have only hung out once when I invited her to come with me to a NHL hockey game. We had a great time, and for someone who has never gone to one, she seemed to really enjoy it.
I can't seem to shake these feelings I have. I haven't felt like this in years. I even tried deleting her number and a couple pics I have of her on my phone (taken at the game). Nothing works. When I'm around her, I'm nervous, and by nervous, I mean I start shaking and my heart beats really hard. I'm afraid to say anything for fear she doesn't feel the same. But after nearly 10 years of singleness, I'm getting a bit anxious to venture into the dating scene. Do you have any ideas that could help me?
Dating can be just as hectic as an NHL hockey game. Just as in hockey, you have to take certain risks that may end up in a scored goal or your face being smashed into the glass in total humiliation. It is, in a sense, a gamble, but there are certain things that can help us Christian men better our chances of having a successful, Christ-honoring dating relationship. I can certainly relate to several of the feelings you have right now with this girl you are thinking about. Feeling nervous, uncertain of yourself, uncertain of her, struggling to trust in God's provision and timing — all these things are common to most Christian men looking for a spouse. I have a few suggestions that might give you a better frame of reference when it comes to dating.
According to 2 Corinthians 6:14, a single Christian should look only to date another Christian. This is the first and most important issue you need to address, because if she is not a Christian, you don't even need to be thinking about her. Why? Well, for one, she is not building on the same foundation as you. And two, if you are "unequally yoked," the relationship is most likely bound for failure, and it will pull you away from Christ. Whereas if you were dating a solid Christian girl, the two of you would be able to love and serve one another, and by doing so, glorify God through your relationship.
Here are a couple questions to think about: Have you had any spiritual conversations with this girl? Have you asked her what she means when she says she's a Christian? Is she active in a local church?
Regardless of whom you end up dating (as long as she is a Christian), the main question is: Where is your heart at in terms of pursuing a relationship? You mentioned in your letter that you were nervous to the point of shaking when thinking about asking this girl out. Why is that? It's natural to be a bit nervous when asking a girl out on a date, but I want to make sure you are nervous for the right reason. It's OK to be nervous in an excited sense. I mean, come on! Who wouldn't want a girl to say "yes" to your asking her out on date? It's exciting! But I'm concerned that you may be nervous in a fearful sense, and that, my friend, may be an indicator that your hope is not fully in God.
So strive to fully trust in the God who will provide a spouse, in His timing, if it's His will. The book of Proverbs speaks of a wife as a beautiful blessing from God (Proverbs 19:14, 31:10). As men, we should trust that God is the One who is going to provide us with a spouse, but that can only happen if we rely completely on the One who has saved us. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and this should earn our trust in His person and character. We need to trust Him even when we doubt and feel afraid — even when we are lonely and feel like there is no hope of ever being with a woman.
Even as a single guy in a Gospel-centered church with lots of single girls, it's still difficult. In fact, I've recently experienced rejection when I asked a girl to coffee. I had to come back to the Lord saying, "God, I know that my identity is in You. This obviously wasn't the right girl for me, or maybe the timing is not right. But at the end of the day, my saving faith is in You, not a relationship with a girl. My confidence is in Your ability to provide in Your perfect timing. I trust You with my life."
I'll admit that there is certainly a sense that "I've failed" and "I've been rejected," but I don't let it get to me for long because I know that God has another plan. The psalmist says to God in Psalm 31:15, "My times are in your hands." What are you placing your hope in? At the end of the day, this isn't just about a girl, but rather this is about your relationship with Jesus and how much you trust Him.
Brother, I want to see you smash that puck into the goal by trusting God, walking by faith and truly assessing your heart. It may seem dangerous out there on the ice of the dating arena, but don't be afraid. Always bring to the forefront of your mind that we are sinners in a fallen world in desperate need of the Gospel. Just think: A merciful and loving God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us. He took the punishment for our sins, and we are forgiven by placing our faith in Him. Now that is where we can put our hope! We don't even deserve life, much less a beautiful, loving and godly woman — a partner, a helper. I'm right here with you in this, walking by faith and not by sight.
Copyright 2011 Thomas Snow. All rights reserved.