I am awkward, I admit it.
I hate stepping on cracks because I envision my mom screaming in pain. I put deodorant on before I go to bed because I don’t want to smell when I sleep. I even change outfits 2 or 3 times a day because that is what people in Florida do.
But most of all, I am awkward in relationships.
I, like most Christians, have been schooled in looking at every casual outing with the opposite sex as a trial run for marriage. This leads to some tension in my mind that really screws me up. I am trapped into asking myself dumb things like “How can we figure out a name for our baby when we cannot even agree on musical choices?” or “If she only wants pepperoni on the pizza, how can I expect her to take on the care of multiple children?”
I have this deep fear that halfway through a conversation that a girl may turn out to not be the way she seemed.
Instantly, when something happens or there is a character flaw, we retreat from the issue with the white flag of “never meant to be.”
In efforts to fight this fear I feel that we, as Christians, have devised a plan. Subconsciously we shut everyone out. Keeping relationships at an easy surface level helps when sifting through the thoughts that jog along in our mind whether or not some one is “worth our time.” Therefore, instead of allowing for a deeply meaningful conversation and questions, we hide behind conventional topics about the weather or sports.
Recently, I had a privilege to be with my parents for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. It was a really magical event; twenty-five years of marriage seems more and more uncommon these days.
In my father’s speech about my mother he said, “There is no secret to being married twenty-five years. If there was I would have told you. We never set out to be married for twenty-five years – we focused on being married today, in hopes that tomorrow we would still be married. Eventually, twenty-five years just seemed to happen. I want to make sure that I love my wife today, and when tomorrow comes I will try to love my wife tomorrow.”
It occurred to me that maybe we, as Christians at least, don’t date to be friends. Dating for some reason has become a prologue for the person known as The One.
Instead, we end up viewing dating like a puzzle.
When solving a puzzle, it’s easiest to start on the outside and have the corner pieces set before filling in the rest. We want everything to look as our dreams before we are willing to act. The job, the spouse, the supreme looks; and then once those become the standard everything seems to “fall in place.”
But maybe, when it comes to dating, we should start the puzzle from the center.
It starts with small glimpses, conversations and character slowly comes out. But it is only a seed – the seed could be anything – but without knowing what the seed is it would be a disservice to creation to not water it, using the excuse “it doesn’t look what I want it to look like.”
So, why shouldn’t Christians date? We have lost sight of today. Christians seem to be in the habit of viewing dating as the first step to marriage, rather than an opportunity to get to know someone. Going on a date has become a binding contract rather than an opportunity. Flirting and dates are only appropriate if you are “ready,” – whatever that means.
I want my life to be one of faithfulness to God in my daily effort, which means being present where I am. The hardest part of life seems to be balancing the desire for tomorrow but living today.
Be willing to take a chance today, and when tomorrow comes worry about it then. The day that is lived today will never come back. So date for today, even if it doesn’t fit the mold that you think it should. Often it is the chances that are NOT taken that are regretted more than the ones that are. Take a risk. If rejected, wipe the dirt off and move forward.