Let’s Be Clear (Reflections on the “We’re Just Talking” Article)

There’s a post going around Facebook from another blog/publisher talking about young men and women caught in the pre-dating post-friendship stage known as “talking”. Here’s the link to those who haven’t read it.

 http://cbmw.org/men/manhood/were-just-talking/

The first time I read this a couple months ago, I nodded in agreement. I really just skimmed through it, enough to get a good feel for what it was saying, and I still do agree with most of what it says.

Young men DO have an issue with committing to anything. They, and WE, are sometimes afraid to go for it, to define the relationship and be clear about our intentions, to be decisive, and this can have the effect of the young woman feeling like she’s being strung along by the boy. I have something to say to both the young men, and the young women.

Men, in my lifetime I’ve come to realize one resounding truth: a woman desires to be DESIRED. They want someone to want them. This is why young women so often wear provocative or revealing clothing, why they become overly flirtatious, why they get such horrible body image issues. They want a man to desire them, but they read their inner desires badly, and they feel that their body is the best way to gain attention. I’ve been proud to see girls posting web links and statuses about being a Proverbs 31 woman, about being beautiful on the inside and loving God above all else; these ladies are fighting to make it known that their body is not the only thing about them that is desirable, and they refuse to be objectified. Good for you ladies, keep it up! Men, a woman wants to be fought for and pursued. They want someone to overcome some obstacle to have them. They want the man to pursue them and try to win their heart, to work through the difficulties and dig into their soul and love what they find there. There is nothing wrong with that, and you young guys need to understand that in order for that to happen you can’t just dilly around and hope you stumble upon that. You have to be decisive, be bolder, be insanely brave for just a few moments and put yourself out there.

But…

But women. Ladies. You need to stop emasculating us. I don’t think women really understand how intimidating they can seem. We live in a time where women, even Christian women, seem to be super sassy and feminist, and their body language and words just scream out the message “I don’t need a MAN to do ANYTHING for me. I can do it ALL by MYSELF.” Some girls get offended when a guy holds the door for them, some get offended when the guy is doing his best to be what he has been told is a gentleman’s deed. If chivalry is dead, I think women were the ones who buried it. 

So often I find women listing off all of these qualities in a man that they want, nay DEMAND, leaving no room for error. Christian woman want a tame man, a man who is groomed and obedient and quiet and soft and not dangerous. If he doesn’t lead songs at church, he clearly isn’t a good leader for my household. If he struggles at his job, he must be a deadbeat. If he has a beard, he’s a slob. If he enjoys a good cartoon once in a while, he’s immature. They say they want a man to lead, and then take his ability to lead away by listing off all these other qualities that he HAS to possess. You can’t MAKE someone lead you. That makes you the leader, doesn’t it? I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to see females talking about God having the perfect husband in mind for them in the future, like he’s a plastic Ken doll just waiting for them to unwrap and have him be exactly everything they want, with no personality quirks or flaws. Guys get a bad wrap for being too picky and unreasonable in the body they want their future wife to have, but ladies, you should be made aware of that plank sticking out of your head. You are just as picky about the personality your future husband better have, and he had better have it right when you two meet or it’s game over.

One of the most wonderful things I’ve found in developing my relationship with my girlfriend is that we are so different in some aspects and the same in others. Our relationship isn’t perfect in the sense that it has no flaws. We are flawed people, obviously we will bring that flawed character into any relationship or occupation we will ever have. Finding your significant other isn’t about finding someone with no character flaws, it’s about finding the person who you fit with. I saw a blog a year or so ago where a woman said that girls need to stop listing all of these requirements that their man should have, even if they seem holy and righteous, and just find a man who can make them laugh, who is attractive to them, and who loves God. Here’s a link to the full post:

http://theartinlife.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/my-husband-is-not-my-soul-mate/

The rest is a blessing and an adventure, it is a sign and becomes a witness to how God can work in someone’s relationship. You don’t find the perfect unflawed soulmate, you find someone who you can work with and learn to love and you grow into each other. A good relationship isn’t a microwave dinner from the freezer aisle, it’s a slowly prepared meal that takes time to put together. You don’t just find someone who fits your every need, you find the main ingredients, the few truly important things, and you go from there until you’ve built something you can find satisfaction and joy in. 

Ladies, what my message to you specifically is, you can’t tell a man that he needs to take some initiative and step up to the plate of dating you. You’ve then not only placed yourself on a pedestal, but you’ve also cut his legs out from under him. After that point if he does ask you out it’s because you told him to, not because he worked up the courage to do it. Nearly every couple ends up having the DTR talk. Define the relationship. There comes a time to do it. Right at the start isn’t always the right time, ESPECIALLY if your reaction to him asking you on a date is “I’m not looking for anything serious right now,” or “I just don’t want to date right now, I have so much going on.” This makes me furious, because it’s a total lie. If it’s not a lie, then it’s dishonest at best. I can’t tell you how many times I heard of girls saying that to a guy, and then within a month they are dating some other guy. That is SO damaging to a man’s self-esteem. You want to know why some guys don’t try to better define a relationship? Why they go for less scrupulous women, why all the “good” guys are taken? It’s because they’ve tried to define a relationship with a good girl, to be clear about their intentions, and the girl shot him down and then ran off with another guy not two weeks later, after telling him that she wasn’t looking for anything. There’s any number of reasons that a young lady might tell a guy that she isn’t looking for anything serious right now, but if young men should be required to define their intentions, then young women should be required to speak the truth. You may think you are sparing the young man pain by telling him you see him as a friend, or he isn’t quite your type, or you aren’t looking for anything right now, but it hurts worse when they think you just aren’t being honest with them.

My big point here is that ladies, if you want guys to be manly, to be clear and concise about their intentions, then don’t punish them by shooting them down. You have to let MEN be MEN, warts and all. Even a Godly man is imperfect. Don’t have such high, impossible, unreasonable standards for him that you reject him outright when he does try to ask you out. Maybe someday your husband will meet those standards and be everything you dreamed he would be, but I’d wager that most of the time he wasn’t all those things right when you met him. Stop thinking “Is this the man I’m going to marry? Is he everything I want in the father of my children?”

Instead, simply ask “Can I enjoy myself around him? Is it possible that he could grow to become someone I admire, someone I would follow?”

For all young people, male and female, you have to realize that you should never continue to date someone you’re sure you can’t see yourself marrying. If you know for sure you are heading towards a dead end, end it before you crash and burn. However, you can’t always be sure right when you meet someone that they AREN’T someone you could marry. It takes time to learn about someone, time to reveal their flaws AND their strengths, their dirt and their diamonds.

Don’t avoid dating, don’t be afraid to be clear about your intentions or to have someone be clear about THEIR intentions. Don’t run away from it. If someone is mature enough to be clear about their intentions, or to work up the courage to clearly ask you out, then I imagine they would be mature enough to handle the situation well if things don’t work out. Who knows, that person you knew for years and never even considered could be the one you’ve been looking for all along. 

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