Tag Archives: relationships

Date Me If You Can

The issue of reading women probably stems from this oxymoron: we’re sickeningly sweet to the ones we couldn’t care less about and stone-cold indifferent to the attractive ones.

In my life, this little fact has handicapped me from being approachable to the right guys. I’ll see an attractive person and immediately freeze. My eyes drop to the floor and I instinctively smile at my feet. Some would say I’m just shy, but even shy people look back up at the person of interest. Unfortunately, I’ve convinced myself that such a move would scream with blaring desperation “pick me, please pick me!” So I am unable to express openness or encourage an approach. No wonder guys have such a fear of being shot down. We look like disinterested monsters too full to consume the approaching victim. But hey! There’s always the chance we’ll kill you for fun and leave the rotting corpse in our wake. So how do guys read the signs?

It is not always the guy’s responsibility to interpret mysterious signs expressed by the female gender. Take me, for instance, I’ll run the opposite direction, zigzagging along the way to throw someone off my trail. . .if I like him, that is. That doesn’t build much confidence in a poor guy trying to pursue.

So, hopefully the following will help…

Here are some of the signs of interest:

First, she glances and smiles. Then, she gives a second glance… 3 seconds pass… she smiles again. Third time, …she smiles, …okay! It is time to approach. This girl is interested.

Here is when it is not up to the poor guy to read interest: if a girl glances, makes eye contact and looks away, never to look back. It’s her loss if the guy chooses not to risk rejection by approaching her.

Flip the scene: when we don’t like someone, we smile, we’re friendly, we joke, we laugh, and we act like they are the only person in the world. We’re comfortable, if not confident. We don’t worry about rejection or looking dumb in front of these guys. They get friend-zoned almost immediately, but we love hanging out with them. Insert every girl’s claim here: we want to marry our best friend. By this, it only means we want to get as comfortable with the one we’re attracted to as we are with the friend-zoned fellow.

There is nothing wrong with being nice to guys we’re not interested in, but it is immensely confusing to befriend all the ones we don’t like while giving icy glares to the ones we do.

Here’s something we girls can do: be friendly to the guys we want to approach us. Be open and welcoming. Guys don’t need us to take their hand and lead the relationship. They need some encouragement in the right direction. They are not mind readers or flawlessly confident men who haven’t a fear in the world. They are human, trying to navigate life.

For the guys: look for the signs of interest. If you are unsure but interested, go for it. Most of the time, we are gracious in our rejection. Don’t take it personal. It was a risk taken and a new direction to move in. This one didn’t work. Maybe the next one will.

We could all learn to be clearer with our communication, actions and intentions. We are friendly creatures, by default because we want to be accepted and liked. Unfortunately, it is easier for us to abuse our power with people who make us comfortable. That goes for both genders. We gladly accept the attention of a person regardless of our own disinterest in them. It makes us feel desirable and enables us a few back-up plans in case we can’t find someone better. The dilemma in that is, when a guy sees us with our “friend,” he regards us as taken and moves on. This inevitably works its dark magic on our esteem. Now, we wonder why the only guys we attract are the ones we don’t like. The simple truth is we’re afraid of the ones we like. We don’t want to show our vulnerable hearts to them. So we try to mask it, act tougher, show interest elsewhere in order to get his attention. If we could just learn to be ourselves— comfortable, friendly, and funny— with the right company, we might have the chance at a top-choice relationship. We wouldn’t feel the need to settle every time we’re single and alone. Fear is the partner of settling. Fear of being alone, being shunned by society, being an outcast or–God forbid–different! Another reason we settle is this, “Hey! If the guy I like sees me with someone else, he’ll know I’m desirable. He will try to win me over.” I’m pretty sure it’s every girl’s fantasy to be fought over by two great guys. “May the best man win!” This is our atrocious flesh rearing its ugly insecure head like a pimple on prom night. It’s a world of confusion with so simple a solution:

We need to be nice to the one we are actually interested in. Stop playing games. If the guy doesn’t have a chance, we should be decent and respectful and cut him loose. It only brings trouble to keep a hapless crusher attached. He deserves to be happy with someone who will like him in return.


Why Nice Guys Finish Last

We say we want a man to “take charge and lead the relationship.” Yet, we are adamant against relational tyrants. This is all quite understandable. What might add a twist of confusion to the mix is when such a large clump of women end up with tyrants, control freaks, manipulators, and abusers. All the nice guys are left wondering, “What is wrong with me?” Well fellas, here is how this works.

The cocky, take-charge man that we all say we hate has some appeal to his manner of approaching relationships. He knows what he wants and he is confident in his pursuit. That type of guy realizes –at least, some of them do- they may fail. The relationship may go bust. However, that does not stop them or hinder their pursuit. From a girl’s perspective, we can spot insecurity a mile away. After all, many of us are hitched to it like a ball and chain. It is something we hate about ourselves. So, when we see it in a potential mate, we are practically ruthless in shutting that person down. We need someone who will balance us out. Be a rock when we’re a mess, be level-headed when we’re freaking out, and be an open ear when we are rambling a million words per minute.

The female gender is astutely critical. We most often criticize ourselves, but when that cup overflows, we look elsewhere for targets. I am not proud of this, nor do I justify the weakness. But, I do know that it happens. It’s our weakness. It can be an asset when we use the criticism to better ourselves. But when it is exercised to belittle our mate, compare ourselves to other women, or complain about features we cannot change, it isn’t being put to good use.

Here is how nice guys fit into the mix. “She would never go for a guy like me.” “If she really likes me, she’ll talk to me.” The nice guy can be so shy and passive that he doesn’t even ask a girl out. Sometimes, the “nice guy” stereotype comes with something else: insecurity, uncertainty, inability to take charge and lead.

My first love was one of those guys: so very nice… so very insecure. We were snowboarding buddies. I loved how daring he was on the slopes. I wished he would become more daring in our friendship, too. But, he was deathly shy and couldn’t seem to put one relational foot in front of the other. So, I grabbed his hand and lead the way. We liked each other that much I knew. One night, before departing ways he asked me what I was thinking. Being a silly little girl, I told him exactly what was on my mind. “I want to kiss you, but I don’t know how.” Yeah, that was a lie. I knew how. I just wanted him to lead this relationship, not me. Our young love sprouted and we kept seeing each other. But I was the leader. I instigated, I lead, I controlled the relationship, and I hated it. He would look at me, stand near me, tell every other guy not to go for me. But he himself could not make the moves. Miscommunication and lack of leadership on his part lead our relationship on a merry-go-round with no destination. It was a fun ride, but had little purpose. I regret how it all ended, but I wasn’t prepared to get down on one knee and propose to the guy. So I walked away. And like a typical romantic comedy, I wished and prayed he would stop me, come after me. He didn’t.

Sorry guys. This is just how it works. If you are nice, but can’t lead a relationship, things are going to crumble fast. One of two things might happen. Scenario A: it’s a sweet, but boring date and interest chokes with the first bite of food, can’t get resuscitated by dessert, and gets buried when the two say their goodbyes. It’s a hopeless cause. Scenario B: it is an opportunity for the woman to take charge for a bit. She’ll lead the relationship awhile until she grows bored or meets a confident leader who can make decisions and hold a conversation. They say nice guys finish last. Sometimes they do. And this is why. Women crave men with leadership abilities and confidence. Women will go for a confident man over a “nice guy” 99% of the time. The key is to become both.

Nice Guy, put yourself out there more. Take chances. You may fail thirty-seven times, but when it does work, it is worth it. Be confident in this: you are exactly who you are supposed to be. God created you a specific way. There is a type of girl who is madly wild about your character. So be confident, be bold. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to say all the right things and ask all the right questions. We’re learning together. Just roll with it. If you make a mistake, shrug it off. Life is fun and relationships are incredible gifts from God. Treat every woman like you’d want your sister or future wife to be treated and you will leave every girl better off than before she knew you.

I respect a man who will put himself out there. I’m not talking about the creepy guy that accosts me in Wal-Mart ranting about my outer beauty. I’m talking about the budding friendship that clicks well. Most of the time, I’ll say yes to a date, especially if a friendly platform has been established first. There, that should be the hardest step covered. The actual date is the fun part. A plan is good. Questions are great. But stress is unnecessary. It seems like a lot of pressure, but there is only one thing you need to do on this date: be confident in yourself. Now, if the date doesn’t go well, so be it. Not every girl is the right fit. The confidence part is what you can control. If you are confident you will shine and exude a certain authenticity that is attractive. That is how you will have a good date, regardless of the outcome.


Beyond The Pencil-Prick Life

The question should never be, “When will I meet that special someone?” Instead, this is the question we focus on: “Does my life exemplify Christ to the world?” Whether single or married, one fact remains true of all lifestyles: the safest place to be is in the will of God. If He allows us to enjoy the benefits of marriage for the next 50 years then we will do so within the boundaries of His will. If He gives us the freedom to spend our days as a single person then we shall lavish in the moments and spend our time for the Kingdom. Without Him, I am lost. With Him, I have all I need. So it isn’t a matter of finding someone, or being someone such as a girlfriend, a wife, or an old maid. It is a matter of fostering a right relationship with the King of all creation. After our 80+ years on this earth we will move on into eternity. Everything on this earth will fade in time. We will be taking nothing more than our spirits to heaven. We won’t have Mr. and Mrs. titles in heaven either. Whoever the godly man is that we marry is not the means to an end. He plays a part in God’s story as well. Our job in his life is to build him up and encourage him forward. Too often I hear single people swoon over marriage, “Oh! If only I was married… When I get married… Things will be different when I’m married…” It all sounds so final. All the “someday-when-I’m-married” stipulations will hold no bearing to the truth about marriage being a temporary, earthly example of Christ and His Bride. The ultimate relationship is with Jesus Christ. Not even death can separate that relationship. He is our first love. Meaning nothing should EVER take His place within our hearts. Even if we marry the greatest guy in the whole world, that relationship STILL falls short compared to our love relationship with Christ. We are not necessarily held responsible for whether or not we marry, but whether or not we fulfill our calling. It is that big. It is that crazy, wild, and adventurous. It will bring us to life like nothing else in the entire world. Our callings stimulate us and shape us into the representatives Christ has called us to be.

I’ve had some of the sweetest, most exhilarating moments with God. I’ve shifted away from the busyness of life to meet with Him in some of the most remote places where His beauty shines and His Spirit speaks softly. I am filled to the brim with unspeakable joy, peace, and the assurance of His security. He is ready to pour out His blessings and share His love at all moments throughout the day. The reason the moments happen less frequently than they should is because I get too busy. I misplace my focus and start building my little earthly kingdom or I get distracted by the shiny objects in this life. He fills my heart afresh every time I meet with Him. But it goes against my human nature to seek Him and please Him. My spirit and my flesh are at war all day every day. The more time I do spend in His presence, the stronger my spirit becomes and the more Christ becomes my sole focus. I know Satan can’t stand a powerfully selfless child of God. He subtly brings on the distractions. And before I know it, it’s been weeks and I haven’t had one of those awe-inspiring, soul-refreshing, spirit-awakening moments with God. We mustn’t let go of our first love. We cannot let ourselves get so busy we neglect that meaningful and life-transforming relationship. The way we treat Him is going to hold bearing on the way we treat our future men. Will we give our time to Him even in our busiest pursuits?

And when we come fully alive, we will encourage our significant others to become fully alive. The verses concerning two being better than one truly make this point: we can do marvelous things for the Lord as a single person, but when two people come together and pray into something and encourage each other along, build one another up, and step out into darkness together, they can light up the world. That’s why it is so important to make sure we are both chasing after the same goal. And the goal above all goals is to glorify God in everything we do. We find a guy with that same focus and we’ve found a treasure.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

What amazes me is that God is always moving. Even when I sleep, He continually originates desires and plans in my life to tug me along on His glorious and adventure-filled path. Everything in the universe is the story of God. God created all things to glorify Him. I want any role in the never-ending story of God. I want my life to shine a light on Him. I desire to bring GLORY to God in ALL I DO! And when we partake in this story-no matter our role-we get to participate in the glorious, heavenly after-party of God. We are allowed to come into His presence because Jesus Christ came to this miniscule planet to save us. He saved me. He rescued me. My life BELONGS to Him. I was made for Him-for His glory. That is such a jewel to possess. This life is NOT about me. It is about Him. What can I do with my pencil-tip-length of life to bring glory to His name?

Life. He is the way, the truth, and the LIFE. In Him, our spirits come alive.

 


Jabber Mouth Princess

“I’m going to be true to myself,” Jackie claimed as her approach to dating. If she had feelings for a guy, she let him know. If she wanted to talk to a guy, she called him. If she was scared she might lose a guy, she’d cling to him and ask for some reassurance. If she liked a guy, she threw herself into a relationship head first, whether he was open to it or not. There was no mystery, or chance for a guy to lead the relationship. She made the moves and made sure not even a day went by that he didn’t hear how she felt. A lot of people might wonder what’s wrong with this bold approach. There is a time to share feelings and have defining conversations for the direction of a relationship. But there is also a time to be patient and silent.

A girl sometimes talks just for the sake of talking. If a moment becomes too quiet, she gets nervous and feels the need to tell a story, or rant on about meaningless nothings, “This one time, at band camp….” This inevitably makes her look as insecure and nervous as she is feeling. Many guys have something important they could share, but they choose not to when a girl goes on and on … and on. “So like, today was just the best day! I was driving… to like, work or something, and this BABY BIRD flopped into the road in front of me. Luckily, I was at a red light or like, I might have squished that poor, helpless creature. And then, like, how would the momma bird feel?? How would I feel?? Oh my gosh! So then, anyway, I went shopping after work and bought this pretty pink shirt and these leggings. I was totally about to buy some new socks with puppies on them, and some new shoes, but then I remembered I needed to go to the post office for some stamps. I was talking to my best friend on the phone and she said her boyfriend’s mom’s boyfriend bought a new Porsche. He modified it so it cost, like, more than my whole wardrobe. It’s a pretty metallic color with flames and chrome wheels. I’m going to get a Porsche someday. I think they are so pretty, don’t you?” On and on… it’s meaningless, but it beats the silence, right?

I cannot stress enough how vital it is to get comfortable with silence. I know some women like to talk. They use more than ten times the amount of words men do… each day. That does not mean every moment and every day should be filled with mindless banter.  There is a time for everything, including silence. How will we ever hear those few important sentences other people need to speak if we do not give them the opportunity?

We all know that girl who jabbers a million miles an hour. It doesn’t go well for her on a date. She goes home thinking she met her future husband and feels great that she shared so much of her heart. He, on the other hand, was ready for the date to end right after they sat down for dinner. She told him about her best friend from middle school, her popularity in high school, that she was on the honor role, how her dog Skip died, about all nine of her boyfriends and why it didn’t work out… with each of them, her favorite pastime, what she likes to eat while watching TV, and the names and personalities of all seven of her cats. She connected. He didn’t.

There needs to be some mystery. The most exciting part of getting to know someone is discovering their personality through questions and interactions. If a girl tells everything about herself, without even taking a breath, the date loses its mystery and the girl just comes off as a boring braggart. We don’t need to chase after or pursue anyone.

Joann pursued Tony. She is gorgeous and outgoing, but doesn’t have a lot of self-respect. She eventually snagged him. Soon, his disinterest and boredom became evident. Predictably, he began to look elsewhere. He wanted to pursue someone with mystery who would take some effort to finally win. No matter how beautiful she looked, it wasn’t enough to keep her man occupied. Men are made with a desire to win a battle, and fight for a woman. It’s not our job to pursue. It is hard to keep that kind of relationship. Of course, that is not always the case. I realize there are some special circumstances. But let me be clear, those circumstances should be the minority, not the majority of relationship beginnings.

There are a few exceptions to the rule. When a guy is outrageously shy, it is okay to throw a few extra hints his way, perhaps a sky message that reads: “I like you, shy guy, when you ask me out I will say yes.”

Another case that might need some encouragement: sometimes we give ‘hands-off’ messages to guys. I started to develop some interest for a friend of mine. Throughout our friendship he saw guy after guy pursue me without luck. We would even talk about the other situations and how awkward it was for me. Their desperation to win me, a stranger, was unnerving. He admitted to me that he didn’t want to ever pursue me because he was afraid I might categorize him with those others. I did like him though. As our friendship blossomed but never progressed, the time did come when I shared my heart with him.

Making the moves can be an intimidating and nerve-racking process. It is never fun to risk rejection. So if we are clearly telling people we don’t want to date and we don’t want a boyfriend, the right, respectful guys will step down and either be a friend or move on. If an interest is formed for one of these respectful men, a hint or two might be needed to encourage them in the pursuit. In this case, a conversation might even be best. The conversation, though it can be scary, should be easy-going and honest, “Hey, we’ve had ____ many months to get to know each other. I just want you to know I appreciate _____ and _____ (character qualities) about you. I have developed stronger feelings for you. But you do with that knowledge whatever you see fit. I cherish your friendship, so just let me know if there’s something there for you or if we should just keep being friends.” If this conversation is going to happen, breathe. Don’t get worked up over what needs to be said or what needs to happen. We can only share what’s happening on our side. Feelings have to be reciprocated in order for a relationship to ensue. We have no control over that, so there is no point in stressing. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, there is always going to be someone better suited.

These are not common situations. Guys have an innate desire to pursue. When they step into their God-given leadership roles they become more alive as men. Their masculinity is strengthened when we allow them to make the moves and do the wooing. The more we scream out equality on the playing field, the lazier our guys become. “Don’t wait for him to call you. You call him.” Just as we need to learn silence in order to give our guys a chance to share deep stories, or ask personal question, we also need to learn patience when it comes to first moves. We have to be careful about making hasty decisions or running ahead to take the lead. The most loving approach we can take in new encounters and relationships is to be open and friendly; not brash and outspoken. This isn’t a competition or a burping contest. We have an innate desire to be pursued. We don’t need to prove our worth or independence in order to impress guys. When we understand our security is found in Christ, we will learn how to respond to the right guy’s pursuit. There is no need to blare a loud horn to get a guy’s attention.

Some women are shy, so this approach is easier for them. And then there are some of us who are go-getters and major competitors.  It is hard to practice patience and self-control. We know what we want and we’re ready to get it. The downfall of this trait is a hasty decision. Backpedaling is hard to do when we’re already going down a hill. It is important to learn patience. Every man is a leader, or meant to be. Some have had their leadership squashed by so many women that it takes them a bit more time to pursue. They do have it within them. We can be a part of a great lesson for these guys if we just learn some patience in their pursuit. Just like talking, he’ll make the move, if we just step back and give him the floor.


A Cup of Confidence & A Spoonful of Strategy

Strategy: “First, pillage the nest. Clip wings. Now, blunt his beak. Crack eggs. Scramble, pinch of salt. Touch of pepper. Flip the omelet. Additional seasoning required. Breakfast is served.” –Sherlock Holmes, Game of Shadows.

Smart people strategize in life. They don’t “Just Do It” unless they understand the reasons and repercussions. They weigh the options and go with the best choice.

Strategy also works in dating scenarios. And first dates are the perfect opportunity. It’s exciting, tense, nerve-racking, and exhilarating. It is fun to ask questions, discover common ground, laugh, and even find chemistry when the date goes well. So how does one have a good date? Yes, we must keep in mind that there are two people making choices that determine if the date will go well. But there are many tactics we can use in order to make the environment comfortable, have plenty of questions to ask, and determine what the next step should be, if any.

Usually, women can tell if they like someone within the first five minutes of talking to the guy. A first date can make or break a relationship. This is probably why so many people feel pressure, nerves, and anxiety in the moments leading up to, and even throughout the date. If we could find a way to alleviate some of that pressure, wouldn’t we want to at least give it a try?

7 Strategic Tips For Successful Dates:

1. Make a mental note of questions to ask throughout the night when things get dull or awkwardly quiet. What do we want to know about these guys? We must keep in mind it’s a first date so questions concerning his thoughts on kids, what he’s looking for in a wife, and are we prettier than his ex are completely out of the question-no pun intended. We scratch the surface of these incredible human beings as we spend time with and get to know them. “Where did you grow up?” “What are some of your favorite memories of that place?” “If you had a chance to go back in time to one place in your life, where would it be, what would you change?” “What do you enjoy recreationally?” “What job do you have/want?” “What is your favorite aspect of God and why is that important to you?”

The main purpose to these questions is to find some of the depth in these guys and whether their interests meld with our own. Truly, I have a hard time connecting with guys that don’t have a sense of humor, an appreciation for life, a taste of optimism in their character, and security in Christ. When these are lacking, it is as though we are walking on two paths. First and foremost, there should be a foundational connection through Christ. If that relationship isn’t established in both parties, something innately necessary is amiss. It does help to find common ground within our two distinct personalities. I’ve heard opposites attract, but even in that, there is always some common ground. The bits of opposite are meager differences that can actually complement the two people. One is strong where the other is weak.

2. It is important to pay attention to his stories. We should ask specific questions to show we are listening.  Jared was a sweet, smart gentleman. On our first date he mentioned he was pursuing a Kinesiology major. ”Why did you choose Kinesiology, Jared?” “Originally,” he smiled, “I was going to be a doctor.” “Oh! What changed your mind?” He paused thoughtfully, and then continued, “My sister was paralyzed in a car accident when she was little. I’ve been taking care of her all her life. I guess I finally realized I wanted to help more people like her. I want to be a Physical Therapist. I want to see people reach for the stars and accomplish things they never dreamed they could do again after an accident.” It was amazing for me to hear him share such a deep part of his world. It was building a connection between us. He was uncovering something beautiful about his heart and passion. This was all possible with a few of the right questions and a tuned ear to listen.

3. When answering a guy’s questions, the first date is not intended to be a tell-all right away. Guys crave challenge and mystery. Talking/telling too much can put a major damper on a potential relationship. There is mystery in a woman who discloses information at the proper time in a relationship. It goes along the same lines as being intentional about everything. We must be intentional about the details we share. If we share our entire life stories within the first few weeks of a friendship, where can it go from there? There isn’t anything more to find out because we’ve disclosed it. Especially when it comes to deeper parts of our personalities, meaningful stories, and childhood insecurities, we hold them dear for the right time. We are worth the pursuit. Let him pursue. There is a perfect time to share stories and experiences. It just may not be within the opening five minutes of a first date.  

4. It is so important to be comfortable in our own skin. Being shy is one thing, but deathly insecure is another. We must come to a place of acceptance. We are all different and all beautiful in unique ways. Beauty isn’t a physical appearance, but how we feel inside. The true test of confidence is when we know and embrace our uniqueness and immeasurable worth in our Father’s eyes. When we know the God in Heaven approves of us and MADE us the way we are, confidence will exude from our beaming smile and balanced posture. Oh yes, posture is a part of this. Posture is the sweet little sister of Body Language. When observing someone’s posture it says numerous things about a person.

  • Girl with slumped shoulders: I don’t feel good about myself.
  • Girl with an overextended chest and swayed back: either I have back problems or I’m trying to get you to notice my assets.
  • Girl with her head down, sneaking into the room with darting eyes: I’m terrified the mob will get me. If someone even notices me I will bolt.

Bad posture is more than just bad posture. It makes a woman less flattering and seemingly less confident than she may actually be. Sometimes we get lazy and allow our shoulders to slump. But it is valuable to make a habit of holding our shoulders back, our smiles wide, and our heads up. This is a pure and simple sign of confidence. It is also very attractive to see, whether it is in a guy or a girl, and we will always notice a person who walks tall and smiles bright. There is something appealing about those people.

Now that the first-date jitters are over, it’s time to strategically work through other obstacles.

5. Be comfortable with silence. Give these guys the chance to think of their own questions. It’s time to throw the ball back into their court. It is fun to be on first dates because we can guide the conversations by asking specific questions and getting to know if these guys are good for us or better suited for another girl. But there is also a point when silence is golden. It gives these guys a chance to weigh their moves and ask their own set of inquiries. It also shows how collected we can be–as women–to allow silent moments. Just relax, smile, and enjoy the trickles of sweat that start forming on his forehead.

6. “Intentional” and “Communication” are two words that should go hand in hand in relationships. We need relationships. We need to learn from each other. Not every friendship with someone of the opposite sex will enter intimate territory. I have a friend who set clear guidelines from the beginning of her relationship- no talk of marriage, just get to know each other for a few months. They decided when the three-month mark hit they would reevaluate and make sure the friendship was satisfactory for both. If they had stronger feelings by that time, they would pray about taking the next step in the relationship. There were no false expectations or confusion as to where the relationship was headed. If they reached that three-month mark and one did not desire the next step, it was easy enough to say so. No pressure. No obligation to move toward a commitment neither wanted to make.

7. We should tell the guy if we don’t want to be in a relationship straight off (which we shouldn’t). Take the time to get to know these guys as friends. Sometimes, we have certain guy friends in our lives for a specific season, but then in the next season the friendship may not be as close. God continually brings people into our lives to teach us something. We learn from every relationship. It could be good, positive lessons, or sad, hurtful ones. Let’s hope for and practice the former. Let’s aim for all of our relationships to be beneficial and positive from start to finish. It may not always work, because there is another human being involved, making independent decisions as well. We can’t control the outcome of a relationship. However, we can control OUR part.

Every encounter we have is a gift. Every guy we meet is valuable. We gain small treasures and simple designs in our memory bank from every relationship we have. These tips are not meant to manipulate guys into relationships or put the best foot forward in order to snag a boyfriend. There is a great way to experience relationships and a rocky way. Dates are not just fun little activities to ward off boredom. There is a purpose to each of them. Strategies such as the above help us make smart decisions and prevent us from wasting anyone’s time. I respect men far too much to play games and date them for a free meal. Everyone deserves a first date, but they also deserve the decency of truth if the relationship is not going anywhere. And women are worth more than blind affection and quick relationship statuses.

In the land of the ‘savvy’ society, body language is a woman’s greatest weapon. She uses it to toy with men. She reels them in like fish on a hook, but isn’t able to detect whether the fish is a tender, exquisite Salmon or a bottom-feeding carp.

Before reeling in the next stranger with seductive body language and risqué clothing, let’s imagine how it would feel if some girl was behaving in that manner in front of our men or even our brothers. We should protect all of these guys as if they were someone else’s future husband. Not saying that to deter anyone from ever dating again, but we should take into account the guy has a heart as well, and it can be just as easily broken as ours. We should always behave respectfully, and expect the same treatment. These dates are opportunities to showcase God’s beauty and His guidelines for first dates. Dating can be fun, exciting, and healthy with the proper mindset and a holy purpose. We bring Jesus into every first date, every relationship, and every friendly encounter. We glorify Him with our attitudes, body language, posture, and conversations. Dating truly is one of the greatest opportunities in life.


Test Drives & Motocross Riders

“Let’s take it for a test drive.” John was a good-looking, successful bachelor. He liked organization and perfection. He would not compromise on one particular issue. He fell in love with Janis, but wouldn’t marry her until they took the [sexual] test drive to prove their compatibility. Janis stood firm in her belief to wait until marriage. Inevitably, their great relationship dissipated since neither would compromise on this important issue. However, in many cases, women are duped into the test-drive pit-stop. They start dating a guy who is nice, independent, financially set, and virtually perfect… until he drops this line, “How will we know we’re a perfect fit unless we take the test drive?” It makes a little sense, but most women aren’t convinced and need more coaxing, so the next lines ensue, “It’s an important investment so I’m not willing to commit unless I know it works for me. Like buying a house, or a new car, I have to make sure everything is perfect.” So it’s a big investment for him, that’s understandable. Unlike his material investments, he’s not buying a woman. Unless, she’s in a country where dowries are set and brides are purchased. To be blunt, he can’t demand to test drive a human being.

We think it’s our responsibility to take care of these guys and keep them happy. At what expense though? Is it our own virtue? That is a line that should not be crossed. God will never ask us to give our purity away. Why should we listen to a guy when he asks or demands it?

I was enamored by a pro motocross rider named Jake. He was an adrenaline-junkie, manly to the max, ruggedly handsome good looks, and purebred bad boy. He ignited the rebel in me. The fire in his eyes was mesmerizing. There was a great allure to fall for this impossible relationship. It was easy to get sucked in with no commitments attached. We were extremely affectionate with each other, but my boundaries were as intact as an electric fence. I wouldn’t go beyond my comfort zone or into roll-around-the-floor-“wrestling”-territory. He was respectful, surprisingly. One day, we had a little conversation about my stance. He inquisitively asked, “So, you won’t sleep with anyone until you get married?” “Yes, that’s right.” “Why on earth would you do that? Don’t you want to practice and have a little fun first?” “I’ll have plenty of fun when I get married. Until then, I don’t need to go there.” He sputtered, “Well then, marry me! We can fix this right now!” I wish I could say I wasn’t flattered by his words. But he was something special. Still, I couldn’t imagine myself with him. I liked him, but would never tether myself to this tempestuous man. And truly, he was really just asking for the thing I wouldn’t give until the seal of matrimony. Guys are smart and some know exactly which manipulation tactic brings results. Some use the “test drive” theory, while others stride down the commitment tract under pretense in order to get what they want. We have to see past the users and abusers, the bad boys and the rebels. I’ve encountered the bad boys and had my heart flutter from the whirlwind of risk and danger. But as my heart grows softer toward Christ and the life He has for me, I find my attraction taste has changed. The bad boy, no matter how great looking his shell, does not appeal to me in the same manner. I wouldn’t marry him so why waste my attraction and affection on him? There is something beautiful about the heart of a man after God’s will. I want to be the kind of person I would look for in a relationship. If I chase after God and pursue His will above all, I will encounter like-minded guys. If we know this and keep pursuing the wrong relationships, our hearts will grow harder and colder toward purity. It is crucial to see the truth and turn from old patterns, especially when it comes to bad boys and the temptation to let our hair down in the presence of fleshly freedom.

The philosophy that we can play now and not pay later is a lie. There will always be consequences attached to games with the bad boys and test drives with the rebels.


The Shape of Confidence

 

 “Does this dress make me look fat?”

Most of the time it is asked by women who already feel they might be too big for the tight jeans or dress they just huffed and puffed their way into. Men lie through gritted teeth, “No baby, you look great!” If they actually admitted the truth, there would be tears, silent treatment, a screaming fit, or bulimia summoned straight on the spot. So what is the real answer to this question and many others we’ve heard: “Do I look prettier than her?” “Am I beautiful?” “Would you love me if I got fat?”

Weight has always been an issue for women. It’s a hard topic to discuss because it’s been swept under the rug. According to the Center of Disease Control, that pile of dust has caused a pretty big lump under our United States rug. Over 35% of women in the U.S. are obese. Some women eat unhealthy food, sit idly all day, and then, in a moment of reality, can no longer fit in their clothes. They need to justify their laziness by putting pressure on the guy to answer that awful question. When a guy says, “Uh, no, of course you don’t look fat!” it validates the woman to continue the pattern: fatty foods, idle movement, and shopping in the wrong sizes. This lifestyle also fosters insecurity, health problems, and a genetic disposition for their children. Not only is it damaging to these women, it is harming their husbands and kids, which balloon just as quickly under such habits.

I’ve seen many women ‘let themselves go’ after they married. After the vows, “For better or for worse,” some feel safe that they finally made it to ‘wife’ status and refuse to practice fitness. If anything, the opposite mindset should be the aim: now that I have a husband, I am going to take extra good care of my body-for him, as well as myself. We must remember two become one. Our bodies are no longer just our own after marriage. When we are joined to the life of another person, our choices will include and affect them. The shopping list, the meal choices, and thus, the loved ones living under the same roof are all affected. Even parenting is affected, “Eat all your Twinkies so you can grow up to be big and sturdy.” Oh wait! That’s not how the saying goes. As a kid, I was told to eat all my vegetables. I disliked some of them, but cultivated healthy habits under the guidance of my parents. Once, they jokingly told my older brother that if he didn’t eat all his veggies he would blow away with the wind. He took their words literally. In Alaska, the wind could get a bit feisty. Next time he went outside, he stuffed his little blue overalls full of teddy bears and his pockets with rocks. When the wind blew harder, he held on to the stair railing for dear life. Children are influenced by their parents’ words and habits. Good habits are so important for our own health, as well as the precious little people we bring into the world. It is no surprise that those same healthy habits will build our confidence and outlook on life, whether married, dating, or single.

The aim is not to change our genetics. Society does it’s best to replicate a “perfect image” for everyone through cosmetics and plastic surgery. We shouldn’t be about self-absorption and duplication. We must learn to accept the way God created us: unique—not a fingerprint is identical. But we must also learn discipline and healthy lifestyles. It’s about our health and our daily choices. It does take effort to maintain healthy habits, but they are well worth every sacrifice and heart-pounding, sweat-streaming exercise.

While I’m single, I work out for myself: to build my confidence, keep fit, feel safe, and be comfortable in my own skin. I do not rely on any man to make me feel beautiful or to build my confidence. That pressure is completely unrealistic. Sure, we can use the line: women are just insecure and that is why they need reassurance. But let’s dig into the ugly truth of insecurity: it’s a sin. It’s a blatant disregard for the Creator and His beautiful creation. He made each of us incomparable. For us to dislike ourselves or wish we looked like another is a slap in His face. Coveting and jealousy also tear down the beauty God designed in us. Of course I’m not perfect and I have definitely wondered what it would be like to be someone else. But at the end of the day, there is only one me on this earth. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” -Oscar Wilde. There is a God-stamped authenticity in each person on the face of the earth. The more we discover it and live out of that knowledge, the more beautiful we become. It is so much better to be ourselves than scramble exhaustively toward unrealistic, shallow pursuits to look like another person.

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else” -Judy Garland.

It is not up to our guys to reassure us or make us feel confident. We need to know who we are and how to take care of our bodies. When we work out, we get fit. When we get fit, we get confident. When we are confident, we don’t need to ask the question, “Am I beautiful?” Because we already know the answer: “I am beautiful.”

Women are absolutely beautiful just as they are, no matter the size. When I see bigger girls jogging down the road, lifting in the gym, or even jiving to Zumba, it makes me proud. If a girl is genetically big-boned, has a true thyroid condition, or tragically suffers from health conditions, there’s no fault in that. Those women can still do their best. The goal is not to become skinny, modelisque material. I have an average build. I take care of that shape by strengthening the estimated 640 muscles within it. We must do something beneficial for our physical and emotional health. Fitness is not just about physical beauty. For health reasons alone, it is crucial to exercise at least 20 minutes a day. What does that look like? It varies between people. Basically it is any activity that increases the heart rate, draws a little sweat out of the pores, and activates the muscles.

For some, it is hard to learn discipline. Exercise can be considered a drudgery. It is important to understand anything that makes us sweaty and sore is not eagerly anticipated at the beginning. The key is to find activities that suit individual interests. Many of my friends are avid surfers, snowboarders, and hikers. Fitness doesn’t need to be the conventional trip to the gym. There are some incredible hobbies, sports, and extreme adrenaline rushes that can activate muscles and spike the heart rate. “I don’t want to get all buff and macho.” I hear this all the time from my dainty female friends. This is an excuse to resist fitness. Some girls think that if they are skinny they don’t need to work out. They may be genetically blessed with a high metabolism so weight is never an issue. But health goes so much deeper than the surface and size of a woman. Some of the skinniest girls in the world die from malnutrition. Everyone needs exercise: energetic children, wobbly geriatrics, paralyzed patients, and average individuals with hectic lifestyles and poor food choices. There are some hard choices that must be made daily. “I don’t want to do this, but I need to do it.”

Obsessing over fitness is not a healthy mindset. Anorexia is more than depriving one’s body of food. It is also about a paralyzing fear of weight gain, and an obsession with exercise. There is a balance to everything. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial (1 Cor. 10:23). Likewise, an excessive amount of exercise can be harmful. It is important, but like all other things, it should come second to God Almighty. “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” -1 John 5:21

Start small with a walk around the block to enjoy fresh air and conversation with the Creator. And then, increase the intensity. Make conscious efforts to park a little further from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and set goals to accomplish each week.

“Hey honey! I look gooooood in this new dress, don’t I?!” Confidence makes a woman feel beautiful.


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