I originally wrote this article for a young men’s devotional Bible that will release next year.
One of my college professors ended the semester in each of his classes with his infamous “Dating Speech.” He was sort of this grandpa figure to many students, so the speech was less a talking to and more like grand fatherly advice.
It went something like this: The problem with young people is that they don’t date enough! So whatever you do, date. Date around, with lots of different people, and date often.
Whatever you do, date and date often. Counter intuitive, I know! Especially from a Christian college professor.
But let’s face it: choosing a life partner can be daunting. And that’s where his advice comes in. If you think about it, it makes sense in two important ways:
First, we need to know and understand ourselves well enough to discover who it is that God has in mind for us.
Does this mean treating women like the buffet at Golden Corral—sampling a little sweet potato, some collard greens, and vanilla pudding? No, way! That’s not what my professor is advocating. We’re absolutely responsible for how we handle the emotions of women and need to be sure we’re not leaving a trail of broken hearts in our wake.
But dating often helps you answer important questions like this one: if you had an evening free would you rather spend it at a concert with friends, or alone at home watching a flick or reading a book?
When you understand yourself you can better discover and serve the unique person God has in mind for you—the one who would want to share such an evening with you—in order to then pursue that person as a life-long partner.
Second, what my professor urged was intentional pursuit. Getting out and dating puts us in a posture of pursuit as much as it helps us discover the unique person God has in mind for us.
Guys, women want to be pursued. They long for a man to seek her with every fiber of his being. In fact, a popular dating site shows that some of the top complaints women have about men is that they’re all talk and no action.
Seizing your dating days helps you pursue a woman with the same focus and energy you put into your XBox or work or intramural team.
Let’s be honest, we are often passive when it comes to women. Which is why we need the dating advice from both my professor and the Bible.
Dating advice from the Bible?
Absolutely! There’s this ancient book in the Hebrew Scriptures that speaks of this sensitive pursuit, this crucial dance between lovers in choosing a life-partner.
It’s called Song of Songs. It is a collection of unashamedly sensual, erotic love poems that we’d do well to pay attention to. This love story teaches us a thing or two about finding and pursuing our life-partner, and with great care.
The book opens with a woman longing for her lover to come to her, to pursue her. The long winter has passed, springtime is in the air and she wants her man! She imagines him running toward her, swift and agile.
And he does, “like a gazelle or a young stag.” (Song of Songs 2:9) She says, “Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice. My beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.’” (Song of Songs 2:9)
There it is: standing, gazing, peering, speaking. Now I wouldn’t advocate peering through the dorm or house windows of your lady of interest. But I think you get the point.
This guy knows what he wants because he knows himself, so he pursues her with gusto and sensitivity. Then he invites her to join him in his life, eventually marrying her and starting a family together.
So whatever you do, men, date. Date often and date different women. Not to callously hustle the field. But for the sake of knowing thy self more and seizing your dating life with intentional pursuit. In order to find and serve the life-partner God has in store for you.