Last month, I wrote the blog post, Anatomy of A Date Part I. I shared my thoughts on the film, “The Dating Project,” as well as encouraged folks to polish up on their dating skills by reviewing my three part blog series, “Can the Bible Teach Us to Date?”
By referencing scriptures from my series, I would like to look at what makes up the anatomy of a date. If I could piece together a framework for a date utilizing biblical principles, what might it look like? I believe it would have the following three aspects:
Phase 1: The asking out on the date.
Ideally, this should be the man asking the woman out on the date. Please do not get upset with me yet – hear me out. God has designed men to be pursuers of women. Pursual is in the male DNA. Men are challenged by a chase and women long to be sought after.
Today’s modern dating culture has done the exact opposite. Often, it leaves men with little to no challenge and the chase has almost disappeared from the mix. Women frequently do much of the pursuing and are still left craving love.
Furthermore, when women do the pursing, it goes against our natural dignity. Also, it can keep a relationship ongoing that would have fizzled out much sooner or would not have started in the first place.
This dating principle is supported by the following scriptures:
- Proverbs 18:22 (NABRE)
“He who finds a wife finds happiness; it is a favor he receives from the Lord.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NABRE)
“This is the will of God, your holiness; that you refrain from immorality, that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God; not to take advantage or exploit a brother in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you before and solemnly affirmed.”
Since dating as we know it did not exist in biblical times, we must extrapolate principles and apply them to our current dating structure. From the above-referenced scriptures, we can see that God intended for the man to seek out and take a wife. It was not only the man’s role, but his responsibility.
Now, women you can put yourselves out there. You can encourage men. Please read Part II of Can the Bible Teach Us to Date. Principle number 4 talks about following Ruth’s example. I will not get into this in depth here since you can read the details in that blog series. However, a woman can put out “bait” for a man while at the same time not pursuing him. If the man does not take that bait and pursue, it is okay. A woman should recognize this as God working providentially in one’s life.
Phase 2: The actual date.
Initial dates are going to be different from a second and third date, at least in my opinion. Regardless of what you do – dinner, a movie, coffee, miniature golf – the point is to talk and to learn something about each other.
The man should provide for the date. Again, bear with me on this one. I believe this principle has lost its value in our culture today with both sexes. I have heard many men say that they should not have to pay for a woman since she works and can pay for herself. I have also heard many women say that they do not need a man to pay for them.
What do the scriptures say?
“(that) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” (Ephesians 5:28-30)
It is right for a man to love and care for his own body. Once married, the wife becomes an extension of the man, as the two become one flesh. A date is a representation of how each of person will live out the marriage covenant. I am not saying that once a dating relationship has been established, a woman cannot treat, or a bill cannot be split from time to time. However, there are certain ways of relating that are built into our nature. What is established during the dating relationship tends to carry over into the marriage.
Phase 3: The after-date time period
This is the time period between the date and the next time communication is made. It could be anywhere from right away, a day or so, to a couple of weeks. This is always tough as there really is no right or wrong answer as to what the appropriate amount of time is to wait to follow-up with someone.
Obviously, if a man is interested in a woman, he will communicate with her sooner rather than later. In Can the Bible Teach Us to Date Part II, I share a particularly important quote from the Book of Ruth. After Ruth had followed a societal custom for letting Boaz know she was interested in him as a kinsman redeemer (you can read more about that in Part II of that series), Ruth reported the outcome of events to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi responded, “Wait here, my daughter, until you learn what happens, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.” (Ruth 3:18)
I think this verse is crucial in understanding the pattern of male-female relationships. In our modern society, women think it is fine to call men, follow-up with them, or “help” them along because they are “shy.” Men do not need our help, only our encouragement. Pursual is built into their very nature. If a man is not following up or pursuing you, take it as a sign of non-interest or that there may be something intrinsically wrong that will show up later down the road. Again, trust this process as God working providentially in your life.
If you do not hear from a man at all after a date, it may sting. I encourage you to pray, talk to God about it. Another date will come along. It did for me. And I genuinely believe it will for you as well.
By Julieanne M. Bartlett All Rights Reserved Copyright 2021