When I was a teenager, I got hooked on the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. (Anyone else?) These teen romance novels set on the California coast stirred up hopes in me that I might just find my own cute surfer boy. Here’s a description of the first book, “Summer Promise”:
Christy Miller has the dream summer ahead of her in sun-kissed California, staying with her aunt and uncle at their beachfront home. Aunt Marti loves to shop, and those surfers are cute — especially Todd. Christy promised her parents she wouldn’t do anything she’d regret later, and some of her beach friends are a little wild. But Todd and his “God-Lover” friends are giving Christy a new image of all things eternal. Can this summer live up to its promise?
Like the book’s protagonist, summers always felt “full of promise” for me when it came to relationships. And when you think about it, a slower pace coupled with extended daylight provides greater opportunity to cultivate a relationship.
Maybe you’re hoping for some romantic developments this summer. I don’t know if the season holds an edge for blooming relationships or not (or if teen fiction is the best place to get inspiration), but here are a few ideas if you want to jump into dating this summer.
1. Plan summer get-togethers.
Take advantage of summer events. Barbecues, pool parties and beach trips offer great opportunities to expand your network. If no one you know is hosting, try throwing one yourself. A few years ago, a friend of mine hosted a barbecue that brought together her friends from work, church and the gym. She enlisted her roommates to do the same, and the result was a lively group of people who were meeting for the first time
One summer, a group of us from church (mainly singles) watched a movie almost every other week (on discount night) and then went out to Chili’s afterward to eat and hang out. I’m a movie lover, so that is still a fun memory.
2. Maximize outdoor activities.
If you’ve been thinking of getting to know someone better, take a hike, climb or bike ride. These are low-pressure “dates” that work great in the get-to-know-you phase. One of my first dates with my now-husband, Kevin, was a hike in a local park. When he asked me if I wanted to go, I didn’t have the stress of deciding what to wear or what to order off a menu (that date came later). Similarly, a friend of mine met her fiancé through a meet-up hiking group in her city.
If you’re hoping for romance this summer, pray for it! Pray for it daily. It was freeing for me when I realized I could pray for a spouse just as I prayed for other things in life. Much of this encouragement came from reading Candice Watters’ article “Pray Boldly.” In it, she explains that we can and should pray for marriage if that is a desire. But, she warns, these prayers aren’t primarily about wish fulfillment.
Asking God to help you find a mate is asking Him to take you from a place of single focus to one that will require selflessness. Far from being the answer to all your dreams and fantasies, marriage is a crucible for making you more like Christ. Thankfully, in the midst of the refining, marriage also provides the opportunity for friendship, companionship, romance, love, fun and yes, sex.
When you pray for a spouse, be mindful that you are asking God to introduce a radical (but good) change into your life. You’re not asking for a Danny and Sandy kind of love. You’re asking for something much deeper and more meaningful.
If a woman has caught your attention, take a risk and ask her out. Along with the variety of outdoor activities and group events already mentioned, most communities have free summer concerts, fairs and festivals, providing multiple cool date ideas. Invite her to join you.
And women, don’t put all the pressure on him to impress you with the perfect date. My first real date with Kevin ended up being dinner at a casual restaurant after the game night we were supposed to attend together got canceled. When he asked if I’d still like to get dinner or coffee with him, I quickly agreed, and we had a great time.
While summer romance may not often play out the way it does in the pages of a teen romance novel, the season does hold promise for those looking for love and serious relationships. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Many times the biggest key is engagement. Go to the group hangout. Organize the outing to a concert in the park or summer blockbuster. Ask someone on a date. And pray for God’s overall guidance and favor in your love life. Then have a great summer!
Copyright 2019 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.