One of the best pieces of dating advice I ever heard my husband give was to a group of young men at church. He used to teach youth ministry and like many teenagers, they were secretly and even openly curious about girls, dating, sex, and intimacy. Their questions were vague and they just really wanted to see how to go about this whole “dating thing.” You know–get some tips.

Javier relished the opportunity. In fact, he seized the moment and made them wait for a second. Making eye contact with all of them, he said straight up: “Be a man and don’t fall for the easy stuff. Don’t use technology–a dating app, send a text, or even have your friend ask a girl out for you. Do the work, yourself.”

He continued to explain that dating is an opportunity to act like a gentleman. That may be unpopular, foreign and certainly awkward at first, but it’s the undeniable right thing to do. So face the fire squarely on, and ask a lady for a date to her face.

They were quiet at first and then busted out laughing. In fact, they thought this was outrageous and hysterical. (I have even repeated this story to my college students and the guys laugh wholeheartedly at my husband’s direct, no-nonsense approach to finding love.) One of the young men said, “So, you mean, we should be ‘old school.’”

How can this be so unique to many people today? How can asking someone out on a date seem “outdated” or “old school?” There must be a reason…

One of our biggest fears is experience rejection–especially by someone we like, respect and if we are attracted to them–that definitely stings more. Unfortunately, it is very easy and convenient to sidestep, avoid or simply “cop-out” (my husband used harsher words at the time) on this option and be sucker-punched by our own fears.

It is tempting to cut corners and skip “the work” of putting yourself out there to other human beings–bare your heart, be real, authentic and yourself. Yet, this is what we are called to do as Christians. To love abundantly and unconditionally–we need to force ourselves out of comfort zones and look our fears and in this case, our potential date, in the eyes with a gentle gaze.

Men of Christ know this. They are willing to stand up, stand out and vanquish what might be deemed as currently “cool” to act upon courtesy, consideration, and chivalry. They know it is their challenge and an integral part of their manhood and their spirituality to put themselves “out there’ before a woman to be accepted and, yes, possibly, rejected.

But, that’s part of living an authentic life and following your faith. You take risks for your faith, you follow challenging daily Christians that ask you to step into the person God knows you can be.

So to be truly dating, you have to earn the right to go out with someone. You have to clean yourself up, own your true self and ask God for guidance. It’s not easy, but putting yourself out there does get easier if you continue to do. You need to go “old school” and ask a young lady out to simply get to know her and hear her thoughts on life. That’s just the beginning but how a relationship starts really does matter.

Christina Llerena

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