The Myths of Dating
16/06/11 08:14 Filed in: Ministry
Dating is one of those things that causes most people a lot of anxiety, especially in the single world. Relationships are already hard enough to establish and maintain with two independent people trying to figure out how to relate to one another in this identity called a “relationship.” Add to that the pressure to find the “one” who you will marry, have a family with and hopefully grow old with and you have a recipe for a difficult process. With all this pressure put on a few hours with another person who may or may not fit the profile of “marrying material” it is no wonder so many singles have been frustrated and lose a sense of hope when it comes to having all of their dreams come true. There are so many myths surrounding this dating process with advice coming from every corner, how do you navigate that advice? Here are some of my thoughts on where this advice goes wrong.
First you have the “list” people. You know how this works. You are told to make a list of all of the things you want in a person and then you go out and find a person to fit your list. It is kind of like shopping for a mate. After all, we shop for just about everything else in life, why not a future spouse? You are told to stick to your guns when it comes to your list and never compromise on that list. So singles go out and make a list that only God could fulfill and they wonder why they are not meeting new people or finding the right person to marry. Never mind that many of them could not live up to their own list or if the person on their list had his/her own list they wouldn’t be on it. With such a narrow list of attributes and things the person wants in a spouse, they miss so many opportunities around them because they would never consider anyone who doesn’t fit the list.
Then you have the “don’t waste your time” people. These are the people who say that you are only wasting time if you allow a relationship to develop over time only to find out that person wasn’t the one. So instead of wasting your time trying to figure out if this person is marrying material or not try to figure it out on the first date or second if you are not really efficient with your time. So you go out on a date and turn it into a job interview asking all kinds of questions, many of an extremely personal nature, to a person who you just met. Of course never mind the fact that you are projecting that this date is not for fun but an evaluation of the other person’s potential performance as an adequate suitor for marriage. What person doesn’t love having their performance evaluated? Everyone likes performance reviews at work right?
Next, you have what I like to call the “proper protocol” people. These people know how relationships are supposed to work and don’t cross any lines when it comes to those generally known rules. If someone doesn’t play by these universal rules than they must not be the right person to marry. You know what these rules are. The man is supposed to take the initiative when it comes to the relationship. He should know what he wants and he should do all the directing and asking in the relationship. If he doesn’t, then it shows he is not a good leader or is a terrible decision maker and therefore not a good candidate to lead a relationship. The woman is supposed to be good at following the lead and should look like a super model every time you see her. If not she may be too bossy or critical or only taking care of herself to get a guy and then will let herself go after they get married. Or you could have the reverse of these roles depending on each person’s perspective on how relationships should go.
Finally, you have what I call the “tea leaf” people. These people try to read the signs and determine whether a person is interested and what every move the person makes or doesn’t make really means for the relationship. Everything is analyzed from how soon the person calls or texts back to what certain conversations and topics really mean. He didn’t call back for two hours it must mean he is not interested in me. She didn’t laugh at my joke. It must mean she finds me boring. There is no end to the analysis and second guessing that goes on with this group. More time is spent on deciphering than is spent on really getting to know the other person and allowing the relationship to develop.
Each of these types of dating approaches usually leads to the same place, the end of a potential relationship. People are complex and yes you want to make sure you are making the right decisions when it comes to investing the direction of your life with someone else. But if you don’t allow that relationship time to develop and breathe without all the expectations and evaluations you are tempted to put on it, you will have a difficult time finding a relationship that could lead to marriage. In the next article I will discuss counters to each of the types of people above and some ways you can begin to overcome these mentalities to make yourself someone who others can relax with.