I’m not ugly. When I look in the mirror, my reaction usually falls somewhere between disgust and thinking I’m a Victoria’s Secret model. So I feel like that’s accurate. My personality generally doesn’t suck, I’m relatively easy to talk to, and I’m pretty dependable (or so I’m told). Did I mention I’m wildly single?
Relationships are the driving force of our existence. After all, we are created for community, with God and with each other. But relationships also seem to be the one thing that we love to talk about, the one thing that no one understands, and the one thing that everyone wants.
I’ll be honest. If you’d asked me a couple of months ago for my advice or opinions on dating, I probably could have given you five or six neatly recited bullet points. But honestly, I HAVE NO IDEA. I grew up in the era of the “True Love Waits” movement. In theory, I think the heart behind this was good, promoting purity and everything that goes along with it. But I also think that it harmed a lot of young adults. Why? Because it essentially became this unattainable Christian fairytale.
“Like, omg, If I just wait for the one, then one day the one is going to find me and everything is going to be magical and we’re going to have so much sex and everything is going to be perfect because God is going to bless me so hard because I waited for the one.”
Anyone? Just me? Cool. So then what happened? The True Love Waits kids got married, divorced, or died waiting for the one (AKA from not having sex). Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but seriously, we saw all these relationships fall apart, because everyone was waiting for love, but then when love came, we didn’t know what that actually meant. And then things didn’t live up to our Christian fairytale, and it all just got really, really messy.
Can I be real for a second? I get a little worried when I think about the phrase “waiting for love”. Why? Well, because it seems a little passive. Of course, we should trust God with all aspects of our relationships. And I’m a girl and a feminist, but I still like the idea of a guy pursuing me. But, trust me, I don’t have a line of guys at my door. I have some amazing guy friends who I think are incredible, but no one’s really asking anyone out.
WHAT IS GOING ON?! It’s the one thing that everyone wants, right? To fully know someone and to be fully known by someone. And be fully loved by that someone even though they know all of our messy parts. But the bottom line is, we’re scared. And I get it…. Like I said, we’ve seen so many relationships fall apart, and the aftermath of that is devastating. But I believe that we have the ability to both commit AND stay committed.
Sitting around and talking and complaining and joking about the dating culture isn’t going to change it. I think, in waiting for love, we have to make a conscious and intentional choice to get to know people of the opposite sex and figure out if we could see a future with them. Sure, it’s scary. But guys, I don’t want to die alone. I want to have babies. Coffee isn’t marriage. And if you ask me out, I’m not going to immediately have a photo album of our future lives together (Cue: How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days). If we want the normal to change, then we have to be the ones to change it!
Sure, it will be awkward at times. I will probably (100%) spill something on myself and trip over my own feet. I will definitely text you the wrong thing at the wrong time and talk about Justin Bieber more than I should, seeing that I’m a 30 year old woman. But, I’d rather muddle through the awkward moments, get to know someone, make memories and hopefully eventually find someone brilliant. Trusting God doesn’t have to look like sitting on your couch with Netflix (and no chill) waiting for a knight in shining armour to magically knock on your door. It’s time to kiss dating (proactive waiting) hello.
(There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. We want the way that doesn’t leave a trail of broken hearts. More on that in Part II.)
By Jenna Frank
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