Are you done “losing” in dating relationships? I know a girl who recently started dating, and she’s certain that this relationship is going to be a “win.”
How can she be so sure?
Not because she’s necessarily going to marry this guy. Of course, that’s the desired outcome. But marriage isn’t the goal.
If marriage is the goal of dating, then any dating relationship that doesn’t end in marriage is a failure. But if the goal of dating is learning to love another, then even if that relationship doesn’t end in marriage, it will have been worth it. I mean, come on, who doesn’t need to grow in love?!
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).
So she’s having a little competition with her boyfriend. They’re taking Romans 12:10 seriously. You might call it their north star:
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
See, the goal in singleness and the goal in marriage isn’t as different as we make it out to be. The goal is learning to love another flawed human being with Christ’s unconditional love.
You know what’s really cool? As this girl practices loving her boyfriend well, she sees that same pattern seeping into other relationships. As she seeks to “outdo him in showing honor,” she finds herself doing the same in other relationships. Pretty sweet, huh?
How about you? If you’re dating (or have dated or hope to date someday) what do you think the goal is? How can you make sure you never lose again in a dating relationship—even when marriage isn’t a guarantee?
“How to Never Lose Again in a Dating Relationship” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.
This blog post was originally posted on Brenda Rodger’s site, TripleBraidedLife.com. Enjoy!
Brenda: First, tell us a little about yourself – your name, age, where you live, and where you grew up.
Paula:Hey there! I’m Paula Hendricks. If you’d told me as a teen that I’d be 31 and single someday, I think I would’ve said, “Shoot me now!” What a journey it’s been . . .
I live in Michigan (you should too; it’s lovely!). I grew up in the Midwest, surrounded by cornfields (not a fan).
Brenda: Where do you work, and how did you get started in your job?
Paula:I serve as Writing & Editorial Manager at Revive Our Hearts, a women’s ministry calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. I’ve practically grown up here, as I started working at ROH over nine years ago, fresh out of college. It’s a real God-story how He led me here, but unfortunately too lengthy for this post. Ask me about it sometime if we ever meet!
Brenda: Tell us one thing you LOVE about being single and one thing you hate (or your biggest struggle) about being single.
Paula:I love the quiet. “Silence is golden.” It really is.
It’s also nice not to have to wear makeup everyday or worry that my armpits stink or . . . ut-oh. You just asked for one thing. Oh well, that was getting pretty personal anyway.
What I hate: going to church solo on Sundays.
Brenda: Do you ever get mad at God because you are single? When bitterness, discontentment, confusion, and even jealousy creep into your mind, how to you deal with it? Do you have a go-to person or scripture verse or something else that helps?
Paula:When I’m tempted to think wrong thoughts about God, I talk to myself and pray. It usually starts out something like this: “Thank You, God, that You’re not capricious. You aren’t cruel; You’re not trying to tease me. . . .”
Brenda: What is your biggest pet peeve about the way single women are perceived?
Paula:There’s this lie Christians have bought into that if a single woman will just relinquish her strong desire for marriage, then . . . poof! God will give her the gift of marriage. As if we’ve ever earned His gifts . . .
Brenda: Do you struggle with finding community in your local church? How do you find community in a world that seems coupled up?
Paula:If I’m looking for people who are just like me, yes, I struggle. There aren’t many older single females my age left. But if I’m open to God providing community through people who aren’t necessarily in my stage of life, then I realize how incredibly rich I am.
Brenda: Our perception of you is that you are living a fulfilled, purposeful life as a single woman. You’re not waiting around for marriage, but fulfilling God’s call on your life now. What would you say is your secret to doing this?
Paula:Actually, if I weren’t involved in meaningful kingdom work right now, I’d probably be pining away on my couch with a romance novel and a big bag of candy. I’m so grateful God allows us to play a part in advancing His kingdom here on earth. Not only is it crazy adventurous; it’s an awesome antidote to self-pity. You don’t need a public position to do this: volunteer at your church, rake that widow’s leaves, babysit for your neighbors . . . the opportunities are endless.
Brenda: What words of advice do you have for other single women who want to live with purpose now and not wait for marriage to start their lives?
Paula:It’s not original to me, but if you’re not content single, you really won’t be content married. Begin to live fully in the moment. It may seem God isn’t answering your prayers, but He’s not just answering them the way you want. Ask Him to help you see the incredible ways He takes care of and loves you each day!
Brenda: And some fun stuff!
Brenda: Which do you like best – Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or all of it!)?
Paula:None of them. I honestly think I belong on the prarie making homemade soap and fighting off wild bears. But since people are on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve caved and joined them. You can find me @PaulaWrites678 and Facebook.com/PaulaWrites678. (The “678” is reminiscent of Romans 6–8 as the truths in those chapters changed everything about me several years ago.)
Brenda: What’s your favorite drink?
Paula:That’s tough. Right now apples are in season, and I have some mean fresh apple cider in my fridge. Yum!
Brenda: Where would you want to live the rest of your life – beach or mountains?
Paula:Beach. I have a dream of owning a house made of sand—well, at least having a bed of sand with sand floors so I’d never need to sweep the sand off my floors.
Brenda: Do you read more fiction or nonfiction?
Paula:Probably more nonfiction, but my true love is fiction. I’m working my way through the classics now; the last one I read was The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Brenda: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Paula:50/50, according to the tests.
Brenda: What’s something quirky about you?
Paula:I “pluck” (a.k.a. demolish) my bread. I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house . . .
Brenda: What else do we need to know about you? Where can we connect with you online?
Please don’t think that all my posts from now ’til eternity are going to be about what Christian guys think about [insert topic here]. BUT . . . because of your huge response, I’m going to follow up last week’s “What Christian Guys Think About Makeup” with one on how Christian guys think about pursuing Christian girls.
Here’s what I asked my guy friends this week:
What would pursuit of a girl look like for you personally? I ask ’cause a teen girl recently told me her fave quote is:
“The next time a boy pursues you, he better do it like a dying man looking for water in a desert. When it’s the right guy, you’ll know, because he’ll cherish you.”
Might be me, but I just don’t think that first sentence is realistic, and I don’t think it’s gonna necessarily be that obvious. Am I wrong? Please help a girl (scratch that—lots of girls) out.
Here’s what they had to say:
“That’s over the top. I want Christ to be my top priority and then if He brings along a girl, then that’s good. I certainly want to cherish her but not like a dying man. For me personally, pursing a girl looks more like becoming good friends with her first, and when the time is right, with permission from her parents, taking that relationship/friendship deeper.” —Trevor J.
“As the other Trevor said, I think that picture of pursuing a girl is a bit over the top. The picture in Jeremiah 2:13 of forsaking the fountain of living waters (God) for broken, dusty cisterns (anything that is not God) comes to mind. My thirst needs to first be satisfied by God and then by a wife (Pr. 5:15–23).
“For me, pursuing a girl looks like befriending her, seeing what her trajectory in life is like, speaking clearly about exploring the possibility of marriage, and then moving forward from there, certainly keeping her parents in the loop all the while.” —Trevor M.
“Haha yeah, I’d say that statement is a little extreme. The start of pursuing a girl for me is more about getting to know a girl and seeing if there is even any mutual interest. Extreme desperation is probably not the best place to start.” —Mat
Now, I will say God does challenge men (specifically husbands) to cherish their wives, to follow Christ’s example and lay their lives down for her in the daily grind of everyday life:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . .
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church (Eph. 5:25, 28–30).
But expecting a guy to leap from admiring you from a distance to pursuing you with the zeal of a dying man looking for water in a desert seems unrealistic and unhelpful (and quite possibly unhealthy) to me.
How about you? What do you think?
Fact is, there is a man who pursued you all the way to death, the God-Man Jesus. He didn’t do this out of desperation for your love, (Acts 17:25 tells us He doesn’t need anything!) but out of obedience to His Father and out of pure, selfless, sacrificial love that was looking out for your best interests:
God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
“I don’t have a problem with makeup, but I think it should be used tastefully. Light makeup is usually the best.” —Mat
“No makeup: totally ok.
Some makeup: totally ok (personal preference). Tons of makeup: tacky.
“Girls shouldn’t approach makeup with the thought of trying to add something to their physical appearance for the sole purpose of being more physically attractive.
“The greater focus when it comes to thinking about physical appearance and attractiveness should not be on the external, but on the internal and spiritual (1 Pet. 3:1-5). That said, I think it is totally possible for a girl to wear makeup while not unduly craving a more attractive physical appearance.”
“I’ve known many girls who have become super self-obsessed when it comes to makeup. At that point, they’re not really doing it to bless others but probably more from pride or fear.
“I like it when girls wear makeup. I think it shows they take care of themselves. It can be over the top, though, and when it gets too excessive it’s more of a turn-off for me. —Trevor J.
“Honestly, and maybe surprisingly, I don’t really think makeup is a big issue. However, I think makeup use can reveal heart issues very easily, and so we can tend to call makeup the problem, instead of addressing the deeper issues like:
1) Someone always has to feel like they ‘look good,’ or they stress out.
2) They talk a lot about how they look bad when they don’t have time to put makeup on.
3) One of their main concerns is how they and others look, not who they are, and much of their conversation revolves around those two things.
“When I see these things—along with a lot of makeup—the girl is usually dealing with a lot of insecurity. I will usually not spend much time with these girls, because of the chance that they will try to find security in me.
“If their makeup use shows that they are not content with the way that God made them, I believe that they don’t really know that God loves them for who they are. Therefore, they won’t believe that other people love them for who they are.
“Makeup, done for the right purpose, looks great! However, makeup will never cover up insecurity or bad character. I wish girls knew how attractive God made them to be to us! Godly girls are beautiful inside and out! So . . . trust that God and others will love you for who you are and not how you look. And then use however much makeup you want to.
“The root issue is where we (guys included) are finding our identity and worth. If we are finding these in our appearance or in our acceptance by the opposite gender rather than in Christ, we cannot manage our appearances correctly. (Snap! I just preached a sermon to myself.)
“If the heart is in the right place, makeup is more of a preference thing. Some girls look awesome without makeup. Some look awesome with it. Personally, I think a lot of girls overdo it; I tend to think simpler is better. But that’s just my personal preference.” —Micah
“Inward beauty is much more important than outward beauty (1 Pet. 3:4). That being said, I like it when girls take care of themselves. I like it when girls use makeup to enhance their natural beauty. In my opinion, if a girl does her makeup right, I shouldn’t notice it. The makeup won’t be distracting. Ultimately, it’s not about the makeup. It’s about your heart. If your focus is first on pleasing Jesus, and then you want to wear makeup, then great, go wear makeup.”
I hope you found their thoughts helpful! I’m curious: are you a no-makeup, some makeup, or tons of makeup kind of girl? What makeup are you sure to apply before you leave the house?
I’ve started a new tradition when I speak—collecting girls’ deepest questions on index cards (that way no one knows who the questions belong to). This last time it seemed nearly every girl wanted to know about kissing.
“Is kissing guys prior to marriage okay?”
“Your opinions on kissing before marriage.”
“What is your viewpoint on kissing before your wedding day?”
Well, for the record, I’ve done it—kissed a guy before marriage. Three, actually. And we’re not talking just a peck on the cheek.
I’ve realized God didn’t love me any less when I kissed guys as a young teen, and God doesn’t love me any more since I’ve stopped kissing guys.
However, it’s been fifteen years since my last kiss. That’s right. I kissed for the last time on my sixteenth birthday.
Don’t cheer for me too soon, though. I stopped for all the wrong reasons.
I stopped kissing because in my mind, no kissing = “doing the God thing.” I thought I’d make His VIP list ’cause of my commitment. Since then, I’ve realized God didn’t love me any less when I kissed guys as a young teen, and God doesn’t love me any more since I’ve stopped kissing guys.
Well, if that’s true, does that mean I can just pucker up and kiss any ole’ guy I want to kiss?
Nope. Romans 2:4 tells me God’s grace is meant to lead me to repentance.
Today I have five very different reasons for not kissing:
I want to “kiss the Son” (Ps. 2:12). I don’t literally and physically kiss God (God is Spirit, after all). But my desire is to pursue and exalt God as my greatest treasure—to “kiss” Him through the way I think about and draw near to and obey Him.
I know myself. Kissing just leaves a girl wanting more (at least this one!). If I date in the future, I hope to stay as far away from kissing as possible this side of the altar. I don’t know that I’ll make it (sounds tougher than running a marathon!), but by God’s grace, I will choose to love and not lust after my boyfriend from the start.
I’m not married yet. While I can’t go back and erase my past, I can start new! I’d love to save all my kisses from sweet sixteen on for my future husband as a gift. Once (or rather “if”) I marry, that’ll be the time to be extravagantly generous with my kisses.
I’m brand new (2 Cor. 5:17). God has cleaned me up and declared me holy through Jesus’ righteous record. I choose to live in light of who I am. For me, this doesn’t begin with staying away from kissing—it happens long before, as I control my thoughts rather than letting them control me. I don’t struggle with not kissing in real life ’cause I’m not fantasizing about kissing in my thought life anymore.
I have God’s Holy Spirit living in me, which means I finally have power for holy living (yippee!). I no longer have to be controlled by my desires; I get to control my desires by tapping into the Spirit’s self-control (Gal. 5:22–23). So thankful I have some help!
How about you? Why are you saving—or spending—your kisses this side of the altar? I’d love to hear your reason(s).
I’m pretty big about communicating winsomely. But would you mind terribly if I ranted . . . just a tad? (Pretty please?)
There’s a “truth” I hear tossed around Christian circles that makes my stomach churn. It goes something like this:
Marriage is the ultimate reward for living a life of purity right now.
Come again? Marriage is a great gift, but it is not the ultimate reward!
It can be hard to believe, but God really is the ultimate reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.
Then there’s the line that:
The ultimate reward of oneness in marriage will be worth every moment of loneliness.
Yikes, that’s a looong time for tween and teen girls to wait for their reward—especially in a culture of instant gratification where the average marrying age for females is 27–30.
God really is the ultimate reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.
So a girl’s to pine away in loneliness for three long decades? And then, suddenly, it’ll all be worth it? I don’t see how that’s good news.
But this, on the other hand, is: You and I don’t have to wait until marriage to experience the happiness we’re looking for today! It is ours for the having—right now.
Single or married, sixteen or senior citizen, joy is found in God’s presence, which can be experienced anywhere, anytime:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).
Our hope for the “good life” isn’t tied to marriage; it’s tied to the One to whom marriage faintly points.
At least, that’s what I thought . . . until I was corrected by Matthew 5:8. You know, the verse that says:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall snag a great husband.
(Oh, whoops, I grabbed the wrong translation!) Let me try that again:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
There. That’s right. Seeing God is purity’s reward. God-gazing is the greatest reward that exists.
David got that. In Psalm 27:4 he asked for just one thing,
“One thing have I asked of the Lord . . .”
What one thing would you ask God for? For most of my life, a husband would’ve been at the tip-top of my list. But when we read the context of Psalm 27, we learn that as David writes this wish, he has an enemy army encircling him. You’d expect him to ask God for weapons or a divine rescue, right? But instead, He asks to be able to gaze on God’s beauty,
“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
Let’s make sure we’re not misleading our girls. God is their reward; not a guy, not a relationship, not marriage.
And you, if you’re single, or you, if you’re in a miserable marriage, you, too, can experience the happiness you long for. Today! It’s found in His presence.
Last week on the blog I shared what Christian guys think about flirting. After reading that, I anticipate a lot of you wondering, Yeah, but if I don’t flirt, how’s a guy ever gonna notice me? So I asked the same guys to answer that question for you in advance.
The way you act now as a single is how you’ll act as a married woman. You don’t need to “dangle.”
For starters, here’s a comment a married man happened to leave on the blog this past week:
To my single sisters, the way you act now as a single is how you’ll act as a married woman. You don’t need to “dangle.” My wife attracted me with her conduct and her heart. —”Book314″
And from the single guys:
A girl can show she’s interested just by responding with interest when I talk to her or by being casually, but clearly, open to do something with me—even if I just invite her to do something in a group.
I’ve learned that most girls naturally show they’re not interested just by not showing interest when any opportunity, no matter how small, arises for us to get to know each other more. If she’s interested, I’ll usually see a smile when I ask her to hang out with other people, or she’ll love spending time talking to me whenever we’re in the same place (or at least not seem like she just wants the conversation to end). Those two things are huge.
She could just be friendly and feel like I’m a safe guy, but her interest shows she’s open to me as a person. It allows me to initiate further to see how interested she is. —Justin
From a guy’s perspective, a girl speaks more through nonverbal than verbal: the way she dresses (modesty), carries herself, and interacts with people speaks much of her character. It is those qualities that “attract” or pique interest in a guy that is seeking a God-loving woman. —Tony
It’s a good thing to be friendly and kind instead of far off and distant. Some girls can have it so strongly in their minds not to be a flirt that they end up overcompensating and coming off as cold and uninviting to guys.
If a girl doesn’t act like she even wants to be around me, then I usually take that as a strong indication that she is not someone I should ask out on a date. On the flip side, when a girl is obviously being flirtatious and trying to gain attention, it tends to turn me off. I want to date someone who is grounded in Christ and not looking for their affirmation in a relationship. —Trevor
If a girl is interested in connecting, but I haven’t initiated conversation yet, I usually know she’s at least interested in learning more about me if she doesn’t immediately look away when we meet eyes—even if it’s just for an extra half second. I appreciate little signals like that that are obvious but would go unnoticed to someone else in the room. Otherwise, just trying to initiate out of thin air is difficult because, as strong as us guys can be, we’d like to limit the amount of rejection we get, if possible. —Justin
I wish I could tell this to every girl I meet: In 1 Peter 3, Peter talks about the beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit. This is not the beauty of a quiet and gentle personality! Many girls seem to get hung up on this and try to be sedate and not talk and end up being miserable.
When a girl knows who God is—I mean really knows, not just talks about Him—she will have a peaceful spirit. She knows God will see her through and she trusts Him, so she is not going to “give way to fear” (1 Pet. 3:6). Therefore, she is not clingy to guys. She looks to God to satisfy her first and knows a man never fully will.
This is beautiful and incredibly attractive to mature Christian guys! It is hard, because you cannot see what God has in store for you, but God does not need your help (a.k.a. flirting) to bring the right guy along. —Andrew
Great stuff, huh? Now you’re probably wondering, What now? What do I need to change?
I can’t answer that for you since I don’t know you personally, but here are a few questions for you to think through or ask someone who sees you interact with guys:
Do I “dangle”? Is God’s love real and personal to me, or am I seeking attention from any guy who will give it to me?
Am I afraid to talk to or smile at guys I’m interested in? Have I gotten the idea that it’s more “spiritual” to stay far away from them and hide the fact that I like them? (Check out Proverbs 27:5 if so.)
If you’re like me, you want to “crack the code.” What do guys—particularly Christian guys—think of flirting? I asked some godly guys I know, and here’s what they had to say. (Something I learned from their input: it doesn’t take much to get their attention!)
Interest in flirts is fleeting. Attention for girls who don’t flirt starts slow but lasts. Even flirting guys respect girls who don’t.
Love and pursue Jesus as your number one priority, and guys who want a godly wife will notice. But that’s not really a good reason to pursue Jesus . . . it’s just a side benefit. —Ben
Don’t be afraid to be friendly to a guy you may be interested in. Nothing wrong with making conversation and being cordial. Don’t get carried away, and don’t over-think everything. —Mat
Interest in flirts is fleeting. Attention for girls who don’t flirt starts slow but lasts. Even flirting guys respect girls who don’t. —Sudhir
When is flirting helpful?
Flirting is usually helpful within the context of an already-established relationship. However, I don’t mean that flirting is all the relationship is made of. When I see a “relationship” that consists of nothing but bantering back and forth, trading sarcastic comments, pretending to overreact to something the other person said, and alternating between clinging to each other and pretending to be mad, I know it is not a good relationship. You need a foundation of honesty to build a good relationship on, and flirting is almost all pretending. —Andrew
How is flirting harmful?
If I am flirting and then not pursuing her, I am playing with her heart. Shame on me. Unfortunately, I do this sometimes without meaning to. —Matt
It can make you act differently than your real personality, until you don’t know how to be real anymore.
It will attract guys to someone who isn’t real.
It can be a waste of time.
It makes you look shallow/desperate.
It is self-focused, rather then Christ or others-focused.
You don’t really learn to communicate.
What do you think of a girl when you see her flirting with another guy?
Ugh! It’s fine to have fun with guys, but don’t lead them on. Don’t use guys to get a need in your heart satisfied. Be satisfied in Christ fully, and then have a great time with the guys. —Matt
What do you think of a girl when you notice she’s flirting with you?
I am torn. I so love the attention, but I know it’s superficial. I know at the end of the day I am not really cared for; I am possibly being used to have her needs met. —Matt
Personally, I don’t always notice flirting unless it’s really obvious. At that point I would say it’s not very attractive. —Justin
First, I like it! A lot! God has created a desire for emotional closeness with others of the opposite gender, and it is fun! However, God has created us to enjoy the opposite gender within the context of marriage, and I want to be careful to not arouse those feelings too soon.
Second, it causes me to be wary. I don’t want a girl to get emotionally attached to me, and flirting is usually a sign that she is emotionally needy. I will almost always pull away more, because I want to be friends with girls that know to run to God and not guys.
Third, I want honest, meaningful, and fun conversation. Flirty conversation is rarely honest or meaningful, even though it can be fun. If a girl seems to only be able to relate to me in a flirty way, I don’t really see any point to it. It is certainly not going to keep me around her as much as a good conversation would.
Have you flirted with girls? Do you? If so, why?
Yes, I have. I try not to. It’s fun to stir up the emotions of a girl and fun to get my emotions stirred up . . . but in the end it doesn’t help anything. I like the attention, and she does, too. Where is the line between having fun and goofing off with someone of the opposite sex and flirting? I don’t know. I love to have fun, and I love to have fun in the company of girls. —Matt
Flirting has been a confusing thing to me . . . and something I tend to enjoy more than I would like to admit. —Micah
I struggle with flirting. Flirting is so easy to do, especially when you want someone you like to notice you. But at the same time it often has a self-seeking reward. I want her to notice me, so I flirt with her. We need to be careful that we are treating people in a respectful and God-honoring way. Flirting should not be the basis for love—it is a risky thing to place your hopes in. —Brad
I want honest, meaningful, and fun conversation. Flirty conversation is rarely honest or meaningful, even though it can be fun. If a girl seems to only be able to relate to me in a flirty way, I don’t really see any point to it.
What do you think girls should know about flirting?
First and foremost, a guy can’t meet your needs. Only Jesus can. Love Him with all of your heart. —Matt
That if she wants real, honest, mature friends, she needs to be a real, honest, and mature friend. I would tell her that flirting is not a good basis for a friendship, and certainly not a relationship, and even when it can be added, it should be added in small amounts. —Andrew
Don’t. Enjoy their company, but don’t seek to get your needs met through them. Let them pursue you. Respond to their attention, but don’t give your heart away. —Matt
What do you think of a girl when you see her flirting with another guy?
Usually it causes me to stay away from them. I want real relationships in my life, and it is hard to get past the pretending stage of a flirt. I also don’t want to be distracted; it is very alluring to have a girl focus on me, even if I know it isn’t real, and I like it. I don’t want to use her to satisfy my desire to get attention.
When your friendship consists of nothing but flirting, you end up in a relationship based on neediness. This is not solid ground for a friendship or a relationship. This is not a healthy way to relate to others. The purpose of a godly relationship is to glorify God and point others to Him! —Andrew
How do these guys’ thoughts change your outlook on flirting? Do you still feel like you need to flirt in order to get guys’ attention?
(If so, come back next week for “But If I Don’t Flirt, How Will He Ever Notice Me?”)
You’ve asked about flirting. And asked. And asked.
I Can’t Hear You!
I’ve pretended not to notice. Not because I don’t care, but ’cause:
I feel disqualified to answer. I mean, if you only knew. In high school, I remember leaning forward so my (male) biology partner would . . . (you can figure it out.) Yeah, I wish I had a do-over!
As a teen, I’d regularly attend a summer camp where my aunt served as the cook. She’d watch my interactions with guys and accuse me of being a flirt almost every year. (I always denied it adamantly, by the way.) I’m a huge fan of being friendly and have always loved to make people feel welcome—regardless of their sex. So I dismissed her concerns.
Flirting is foggy. How are we supposed to know when we’ve crossed the line from being friendly and having fun with a guy to . . . flirting with him? And is flirting even necessarily wrong?
I fear making you feel paranoid about whether others (like my aunt) think you’re flirting or not. I want you to be yourself; I have no desire to make you feel self-conscious whenever you’re around a guy.
But it’s an important question. You want to know, and I want to know. Is flirting harmless—could it even be chivalrous—or is flirting . . . plain ‘ole wrong? There are a whole lot of different opinions out there. Click here to watch a few:
But Flirting Is Natural. And Fun!
Let’s face it. Flirting comes naturally (please tell me I’m not the only one!). And flirting is fun—especially when it’s returned.
Well, I should clarify. It’s fun in the moment. Afterward, it’s usually plain ‘ole depressing ’cause (let’s be honest) we did it to get a certain result and then . . . nothing. Nothing really changes.
And let’s be honest: Just because something’s “fun” and “natural” doesn’t mean it’s best. I mean, when you were little it was “fun” and “natural” to:
pull your little sister’s hair.
refuse to eat your peas.
stand on your chair.
say “no” instead of “please.”
But that didn’t make it right.
So today I’m taking the plunge. I’m going to get a conversation rolling about . . . flirting.
What Is Flirting, Anyway?
First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when we throw around the word “flirting.” For the sake of this discussion, we’ll go with the Dictionary.com definition. Flirting is to:
toy or play with another’s affections.
deal playfully or carelessly.
Ouch. Sounds a lot like, It’s all about me, doesn’t it?
As fun and “natural” as flirting is, it’s also contradictory to who I now am in Christ.
Funny, though, how we can convince ourselves we’re actually building that guy up with our smiles, words, and playfulness. We can almost think our flirting is . . . chivalrous.
But based on this definition, here’s one conclusion I’ve reached about flirting:
Chivalrous Flirting Is an Oxymoron.
Huh? Come again, you ask?
Okay, let me break it down for you.
Chivalrous means “considerate and courteous.”
But based on Dictionary.com’s definition, flirting isn’t considerate of the other person; it’s completely self-centered. (If you’re not sure about that, read through the definitions again, and ask if you’d want a guy to treat you like that!)
That’s why “chivalrous flirting” is an oxymoron—it’s completely contradictory. And as fun and “natural” as flirting is, I’d have to say it’s also contradictory to who I now am in Christ. Why do I say that? Philippians 2:3–5, for starters:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
The next time you catch yourself flirting, I dare you to ask yourself why.
Why Do I Flirt?
I asked a few people why we flirt. Here’s what three people had to say:
Panic that no one will pay attention causes the urge to flirt.
While we flirt, someone is positively responding to us and accepting us, so we’re encouraged to continue.
I think part of it is the thrill of the chase. Flirting is not just to get a person, but to get a reaction. Sometimes girls flirt even with a guy they don’t really want.
How about you? Why do you tend to flirt? When you dig deeper, what’s really going on in your heart?
Hang in there—we’re just getting started! Come back next week for what Christian guys think about flirting.
You notice him right away. The new guy at youth group.
He’s seriously good looking. You try to focus on the open Bible on your lap, but the letters blur together.
He answers a question, and you listen carefully. He nailed it. So he’s model material AND he knows God’s Word, you celebrate.
But only for a second. Pull it together. You shake your head and force your attention back on what the youth pastor is saying.
After a few minutes you raise your hand, share a thought, and . . . Mr. Model catches your eye and smiles!
You don’t get much out of youth group that day; you’re too busy praying the new guy will ask you out or at least talk to you. Hey, you’d even settle for him following you on Twitter!
It’s hard, isn’t it? Christian guys can seem like an endangered species. So when one day the heavens open and an eye-turning Christian guy is dropped into your life, your brain instantly jumps into high gear trying to figure out how to get his attention. (Let’s be honest, you know the other girls’ antennae are up, so you want to snag him before they do!)
In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to think of the new stranger as more than a potential boyfriend. But let’s face it. He is more . . . a whole lot more.
He’s your forever brother. If he trusts in Jesus’ righteousness rather than his own, he’s your blood-bought brother in Christ. You’ll spend forever with him, right there along with Jesus Himself.
So will you ask God to help you view the Christian guys around you as more than potential boyfriends—as forever brothers in Christ? Here are a few practical tips:
Pray for them. Pray the very best for them. Pray that they’d be kept from temptation. Pray that their enjoyment of Jesus would grow like crazy. Pray whatever the Spirit leads you to pray for them.
Encourage them. Rather than admiring them from a distance, let them know when you see Jesus in them.
Don’t dress to distract them; dress in such a way that they’ll be able to worship Jesus without extra temptation and distraction each Sunday.
After all, that’s how we’re told to relate to guys—even the really cute ones!—as brothers, in all purity:
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity (1 Tim. 5:1–2).
How can you treat the Christian guys near you as more than potential boyfriends?