My fiancé, Tyler, and I were out with friends one evening when he offered what I thought was really good relationship advice. We were talking with one of his friends (David) who had just gotten back from a first date with a girl he had been set up with through a mutual friend.
I asked David how the date went, and he thought it went well. He explained how she was easy to talk to and how he enjoyed the two hours they spent talking over a cup of coffee. They even made tentative plans to attend the same concert together the following week. So I asked him if he was going to ask her out again, assuming the answer would be yes since he seemed to like her. “I don’t know,” he responded. “I don’t really know if we have enough in common. I’ll probably see her again, but I might wait a week or two before I ask her out.”
David was overanalyzing a two-hour date with a girl he had just met. It’s an easy thing to do. It’s tempting to analyze the conversation to figure out if the other person is interested. We let insecurities, fears and confusion complicate a relationship before it even gets off the ground. I did the same thing after my fair share of first dates, trying to figure out if there was potential and if I was interested in a second date.
I was ready to offer all of the best advice from Boundless, so naturally, I started to encourage David to let her know that he had a good time and to ask her out again sooner rather than later. But Tyler explained it far better than I ever could. He told David that “dating is for knowing.” He explained that the point of dating is to spend time getting to know someone and using the dates to figure out if you have things in common. Dating is for spending time learning if you’re compatible with someone, but it takes time to know those things. But a quick note here: I’m working off the assumption that you already know your date is a committed Christian. The compatibility I’m referring to is more related to personality, background, interests, etc. Hopefully you’ve established that a shared faith is a non-negotiable.
Sometimes you know after just one or two dates that you aren’t interested in someone. But I found that more often than not, I felt the same way that David did after a date. I didn’t feel strongly that I was definitely interested in a second date, but I didn’t know that I wasn’t, either. And that’s a confusing place to be. But if we look at dating as having the purpose of getting to know someone to see if marriage is a possibility, then that takes off some of the pressure.
Especially during those first few dates, look at the dates as an opportunity to get to know someone. Ask interesting questions that go beyond just knowing the facts about someone. Plan an activity that you enjoy and see if your date enjoys it, too. Ask questions that flow naturally in the conversation — no one wants to feel like they’re in a job interview or that their date is keeping a mental checklist of each answer. It’s OK if it takes time for you to know how God is leading.
So date until you know. And when you know, do something about it.
Copyright 2015 Ashley Boyer Hendley. All Rights Reserved.