Myth #4: All guys want is sex. (It’s not possible to date without it leading to sex before marriage.)

505841_99073813This is the fourth myth in the 5 Christian Dating Myths.

Many women don’t have a clue about men. But one thing they know: men constantly have sex on their minds. This idea is clearly and consistently taught.

While men must deal with the reality of sex on their minds, girls deal with the pressures of being told they need to keep themselves pure. Often young Christian girls are involved in purity rites and given jewelry in exchange for promises that they will protect their purity and save themselves for marriage.

Esteeming purity is a great thing, as God’s design for sex is solely within the bounds of marriage. But much of what we teach about sex, leads to fear about dating. The message many girls receive is: dating is dangerous, men are dangerous, they will be aggressors, users, and you have to be your own protector. Should you fail, the consequences will be devastating and life-long.

So when faced with living out those purity promises in the in the real world, how do you actually do this? Particularly in the days where dating in our culture often means sex after the third date.

For many girls, the answer is simply to avoid dating altogether. This is often not a conscious decision. If you talked to many of these girls, they are in tears about not dating. They long to be asked to the prom, to be out on a Saturday night, etc. But their fears keep them safely guarded against the possibility of failure. Their fears may range from fear about men’s intentions, their own abilities to stay pure, fear of having to set boundaries, of looking or feeling awkward, not wanting to disappoint someone, their fear of looking prude, etc. And this is not just the girl who has never been kissed before, this can also be the girls who has sexual sin in her past, but has a desire to stay pure in the future.

Fortunately, God has some very practical answers to these anxieties. For example, in my own journey, God made it clear to me one day that despite my past failings, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17) I had known that I was a new creation, and saw my desires for sex change when I became a believer. But it was years before I understood that I was also a new creation in the sense that I had new abilities to abstain from sexual sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. You see I did not really believe I was a new creation with the ability to do new things. I knew that I could believe new things, but actually do them? I had never tested that ability when it came to sexuality. Was it possible for me to date without succumbing to sexual sin?

By meditating on that verse, not only did God affirm my own identity as a new creation, He affirmed the men around me as new creations as well. As a believer who wanted to date other believers, God’s word provided me the assurance that the men I would be acquainted with also had the same desires and abilities as a result of their faith. Therefore, I could go forward and confidently date, knowing that there would be men who would be gentlemen with abilities and interests that went beyond sex.

God taught me this, but then I had to test it. What I found astounded me. I found that there were men who would take me on many dates without expectation of physical intimacies. This was a brand new experience for me, and it was so fun and refreshing! I also found that the conversations which I dreaded about sex were actually not that hard, were well received and not nearly as scary as I had believed.

Sex is a very real fear for many women when it comes to dating. But there are so many other fears that keep men and women from pursuing a mate with confidence and freedom. Jesus’ most often repeated command in the four gospel accounts is “Do Not Fear.” God longs for us to live confidently in the knowledge that He is a loving, sovereign and ever-present Father.   His message extends beyond just our confidence about where we will spend eternity, but also to the practicalities of our every day lives, even our dating lives!

Challenge yourself to identify the fears that are holding you back, and pray that you would begin to believe and act on God’s truth. Living in your fears may keep you safe, but Christ came to set you free. (John 8:32)

Written by Kristine Newton Sung, Licensed Professional Counselor, Heritage Counseling & Consulting, Dallas, Texas.

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5 Tips to Meet More Men (Especially written for shy, non-flirtatous girls)

This is the third article in my series on 5 Christian Dating Myths. This addresses Myth #2: Any guy worth having is fearless, confident and will know exactly how to pursue you.

Women who long for a mature, stable Christian believer, are often led to believe in church that those kinds of guys are ‘fearless adventurers’ and ‘spiritual leaders’ who will therefore know exactly how to pursue you for dating. But is it possible that even mature, stable, great Christian men are not completely fearless when it comes to romance? Is it possible that they, like most other human beings on this earth, shy away from rejection?

Through my journey, I began to realize that a little bit of encouragement can go a long way in increasing a guys desire and confidence about pursuing me. Not encouragement in a condescending, mommy/teacher kind of way. More so encouragement that you are actually interested in them, and that you are a safe and interesting person to approach.

You see, my passive, shy, patient demeanor was sending the message to potential suitors that I would be hard to talk to, that I wasn’t interested, or there was a high potential for failure, all of which was far from the truth. Who wants to talk to someone who isn’t interested?

How accessible and safe are you to guys? Are you approachable?

For a non-flirtatious gal like myself, here are some things that you can work to make yourself more approachable and meet more men:

  • Let men open doors. I had a friend who I noticed would stand to the side of a door and let men open the door for her. It signaled to men that she wanted and appreciated it when they were gentleman. Learn to let men do this for you, and make a point to show them you want it.
  • Make Eye Contact. Rather than nervously looking away when a guy catches you looking at him, keep eye contact for at least ten seconds. This demonstrates that you notice them, that you are confident, and perhaps interested in a conversation. (This was not easy for me, so to get better at making eye contact, I challenged myself to make eye contact with 10 guys a week. The more I did it, the easier it got.)
  • Smile. When you make eye contact, you often get warm friendly eyes looking back at you! Then, you can SMILE! Again, signaling that you are friendly and that you notice him. Not only does this make him feel good, you feel good too!
  • Start casual, light hearted conversation. It doesn’t have to be anything incredible. You can simply say “Thank you. I appreciate you being such a gentleman!” when he opens the door for you. Or just comment how happy you are to see the sun shine again if it is a nice day. Or how happy you are it is the weekend. Or, “Are you headed home? Happy to be done with the day?”
  • Build friendships with guys without any expectation of what might happen. Rather than overanalyze friendships, and what signals he or you might be sending, just develop friendships with guys. Don’t worry about whether you are attracted to them. If he asks you to do something one-on-one, don’t assume it is a date. Just go and have a good time.

Overall you are trying to plant seeds and show that you are a warm, friendly gal who might possibly bring improvement to his life if he took a risk and stepped towards you.

Though I am now married, I still practice these skills. Not to attract a man, but rather to be someone who actively acknowledges other people’s existence and tries to create opportunities for relationships. Isn’t that part of what it means to be a disciple-maker? It isn’t always easy, it takes risk, bit of discomfort and intentional effort. But the work is often rewarded by others and by the Lord!

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Christian Dating Myth #1

This is the second in my series about 5 Christian Dating Myths. Often Christian girls are told that there role in dating is simply to wait to be pursued. They are led to believe that there is nothing women can or should do to improve their dating life. Just have faith and wait on God’s timing. Whatever you do, “don’t chase boys!” Recently I read a church singles blog that went so far as to shame a girl for “taking matters into her own hands” simply because she wanted to tell a guy that she liked him.

In many ways there was a lot I and other single girls like about this myth: I have no responsibilities. I don’t have to take any risks. I just need to be myself and God will ensure someone will notice me. And being shy means that I am a ‘good’ Christian girl.

However, for me, as the years passed I wondered if this was true. Was it biblical to simply wait and pray? It seemed that in every other area of life God requires my active participation. Finding a job, making friends, doing ministry, going to seminary all required me to take some action. So why was dating any different? If I did something beyond praying and waiting, did that mean I was taking over for men and sinfully thwarting God’s design for marriage?

Looking to scripture, I saw, there are women who we admire, who take active roles particularly in the way they relate to men. Ruth is probably the best example. She perfumes herself, dresses up and then presents herself at Boaz’s feet after he climbs into bed. That seems a lot bolder than telling a guy that you like him! And scripture applauds her, it does not condemn her.

There are times when God calls us to patiently wait on his timing. But perhaps like Ruth, God wants you to take some action. This is not unspiritual. In fact, it may require greater faith in God for you to take a risk, be vulnerable and perhaps learn some new skills that will help you better relate to those around you. Perhaps instead of telling women to simply wait and pray, we need to be teaching women how to be open, friendly and available so that men are more encouraged to step out and ask girls out?

For myself, I fell for this myth hook line and sinker, for two reasons. One I was shy with guys and stepping out was uncomfortable and scary. So I loved the idea that I would just have to be myself and someone would notice me. I believed God loved me and would simply give me the desires of my heart.

Secondly, I was fearful of becoming a woman who controlled her spouse. I thought by waiting for this courageous pursuer the church kept talking about, I would get a guy strong enough to fix my tendency to control. Along the way, God graciously reminded me that my hope for a great marriage was not in finding the perfect guy to counter balance my sinful tendency. My hope is in Christ who loves me despite my sin, and who promises to day-by-day make me more like himself as I walk with Him daily. It is through him that I find the greatest hope for a happy and blessed marriage, not by following a man-made dating prescription.

How about you? Are you falling for this myth? What would it mean for you to become more active in your dating life?

5 Myths I Believed About Dating

I see so many great, smart, cool, fun women who are not getting asked out. I was one of them for many years.

So what’s the deal? Why are great women often overlooked? Certainly, we hear how men need to step up and initiate more dating. That is great!  But is there anything that women can do to have an impact on their dating lives? Often we are told: “Be patient, pray and wait.”, “Don’t chase boys” or “The guy needs to take the lead!” Is that it? Is spending years on the sidelines waiting patiently the spiritual exercise God intends for women who are not getting asked out?

Could it be there are myths women learn at church that lead to non-existent dating lives? Could these myths be encouraging anger and discouragement with men and God rather than encouraging spiritual growth, self-examination and personal responsibility? I believe so, and I’d like to suggest there are at least five myths that I believed which hindered my dating life for years:

Myth #1: There is nothing you can or should do to improve your life. (Just have faith and wait on God’s timing.)

Myth #2: Any guy worth having is confident and will know exactly how to pursue you. (Guys don’t need any encouragement from me.)

Myth #3: Dating is about marriage. (I should only say yes if I suspect there is potential down the road.)

Myth #4: All guys want is sex. (It’s not possible to date without it leading to sex before marriage.)

Myth #5: There are no good guys out there OR There must be something wrong with me.

In the days that follow, I will explain how I came to believe these myths, how they impacted my dating life and how God challenged and changed those beliefs. What I’d like to suggest is that there is more hope for women than to simply “Be patient, pray and wait for a guy to pursue them.” And that God desires more than you spending years on the sidelines waiting patiently.

The result has been a deeper relationship with God and a better understanding and belief in His truth, as well as finding and marrying my best friend. As a small group leader and a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have seen these ideas help not only myself but also other girls who have gone from never getting asked out on a date, to dating and for some engagement and marriage.