Guest Post by Melissa Mills
I’m a recovering serial monogamist, which basically means that I’ve been in several relationships in my life, beginning at 15. As part of this, I’ve dated a variety of guys and have learned quite a bit about what to do and what to avoid. That said, the most interesting part of my dating journey has been moving from never thinking that I would want to date a Christian (mostly out of fear, if I’m honest) to wanting to date someone who not only goes to church but who loves Jesus with both his words and his actions.
Having navigated the dating world before and after deciding to follow Jesus, I think that dating as a Christian can be more confusing than dating outside of the church. That’s why I have a passion for talking about relationships, dating, and helping women navigate the process.
When Dave asked me to write a blog about common mistakes that I think women make, I was excited to share my thoughts. This is by no means a complete list, but just some of my thoughts as I’ve been both a participant in and an observer of the Christian dating scene.
5 Mistakes Women Make When Attempting To Date:
1) Avoiding Dating Out Of Fear.
I’ve talked to many a woman who “just isn’t looking for a guy right now.” Let’s be honest, if we’re single and in our mid to late 20s or 30s, we’re almost always looking. We just say that we aren’t because we’re afraid of rejection and disappointment. I know because I did it. And then my roommate told me to stop pretending that I wanted to be single for the rest of my life and told me to take an active role in my own dating life. She told me I needed to try online dating again. I did and, a month later, I met my boyfriend. Don’t let fear be a factor. Get to the bottom of why you’re afraid to date, get rid of that outdated stigma that online dating is taboo, and join a site.
2) Writing Him Off Too Soon OR Assuming He’s “The One” Before The First Date.
First of all, where in the Bible does it talk about the concept of “The One”? Second, you don’t have to know if you’re going to marry a guy in order to go to coffee with him and if you do already know, the rest of us want access to your crystal ball. That kind of knowledge only comes with time. On the flip side, you never know what you’re going to learn about yourself, your preferences, or a guy unless you go out on a date with him. It may even take 2, 4 or many dates before you know if there’s a possibility of something more than friendship. Give it a chance if you’re being too closed and if you have the opposite problem, get grounded quick. Otherwise you may end up in Disappointmentville, population: you.
2) Dating Outside Of Community
You know that girl. The one who disappears when she starts dating? I could have been the president of that club. The problem with dating in a bubble is that you may not be yourself in your relationship, but you’re so emotionally involved in the relationship that you can’t see it for what it is. I have this friend who was in a relationship and every time she was around this guy, her voice got several octaves higher. She had no idea. I tried to tell her that she wasn’t herself around him but until she let me and other friends into her bubble, she couldn’t see it. Ultimately, they broke up. Lesson is: date in community. Bring a few trusted Christians into your process and they will help you with wise counsel as you make decisions about your future.
4) Moving Too Quickly Across Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Boundaries.
I don’t really need to tell you why this is a bad idea, right? Get accountability with a friend who can help give you an objective perspective about your relationship. Moving too fast means disaster all around. Don’t learn this one the hard way.
5) Neglecting Your Character Formation While Dating
I recently read that the majority of Christian marriages break up because of “irreconcilable differences” which could also mean selfishness. Many of us don’t want to submit to another when we’ve gotten so used to the independent life. Take time during your dating process to seek God at every turn. Bring Him into it.
Nothing brings up character issues like trying to communicate and understand another person. Because we’re human, messy, and flawed, our issues will come to the surface. Take this chance to work on any unhealthy patterns. Seek counseling. Pray about it. Journal your thoughts and feelings. You’ll thank yourself later. Promise. :)
These are just five things that I’ve noticed in my own life, although I’m sure you have more. What are other mistakes you’ve observed or experienced with regard to women and dating?
*A lot more of these tips are found in Dr. Henry Cloud’s book “How To Get A Date Worth Keeping. “ It’s basically become a dating manifesto for many of my now dating friends. Give it a read.
Melissa's Blog: Where My Heart Wants To Go