They Do Exist.

Dating Tip #1: You Don’t Have To Date.

Editor’s Note: See over there on the righthand side? That little poll we’ve been running to gauge what you girls want to read most? You’ve all voted Dating Tips up to #1, so today, Brooke Odom has shared one with us. We’ll be sprinkling these “tips” in throughout the rest of the year for you. <3 Brooke lives in Los Angeles and blogs at brookeodom.tumblr.comLauren

So another one of your friends has gotten engaged.

Someone’s just had a baby.

The wedding pictures of so-and-so’s beautiful day have just been posted.

You’re a combination of happiness, for your friend’s happiness, mixed with a bit of befuddlement, because when did everyone start getting married?

And add to that a brief but potent jolt of panic that you’ve missed your time for rings and wedding bells and baby booties,

immediately followed by the incredulous laugh at your own silliness, because—

You’re only 22 years old.

* * *

I’ve known for a while that the Christian culture abides by a timeline separate from that of secular persons.

Christians get engaged earlier. Wed earlier. Have babies earlier. And everything in life seems to take its placement from that first head start.

So if you’re not having children at the same time as your friends, you’re not getting married with them, you’re not engaged with them, you’re not dating with them… you can feel a bit left behind.

A large part of the church wants you to feel the bliss of marriage, the joy of children, the wonder of building a relationship. So they – your pastor or your friends or your bible study leader – urge you toward all the things you really do want by… urging you to date. (Or just ‘get married soon!)

But what if you don’t want to?

I’m writing this post because I recently ended an emotionally exhaustive relationship with a Christian man. A lot of aspects of our relationship became tangled between his problems, my problems, and our shared religion.

Even now, nine months after our break up, I’m trying to sort through what ‘Christian’ really means to me, to others, and to a relationship.

I’m tired, I’m skeptical, I’m hurting, and I’m recovering.

I’m also hopeful, forgiving, growing, and faith-full.

But right now, the last thing I want to do is date.

* * *

I’m writing this post because one of my good friends ended her own Christian relationship around the time I did and she’s still working through it as well.

She lives across the country from me, and I was upset to read in her letters of the women at her church pressuring her to date, to find a good Christian man to settle down with.

Well-meaning women, content in their own marriages, pushing her toward a man she can build a life with. They tease her about the church bachelors, setting her up on blind dates, hinting to the adult sons of their friends how beautiful and smart she is.

They do it because they want to see her happy, but it leaves her feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, and a little ashamed.

* * *

Why do they think I need to be in a relationship to be happy?

We know that we don’t. And really, they do, too. They just think it will make us happier.

Why do I feel like I won’t be happy if I don’t date, yet the thought of dating makes me nauseous?

Things that we want in our lives are results of first having dated, and it’s understood that eventually dating is a necessary part of your future if you continue to want those things.

But here’s the thing— you don’t have to do it right now.

* * *

Being married does not hold a greater joy in life than can be found as a single person.

Being married doesn’t solve all of your problems.

Dating someone does not make a dull life vibrant, or a greyscale color.

Dating someone is not the answer to life’s every question.

You aren’t missing everything.

Because what those well-meaning people have, what your friends enjoy, what your church upholds? Their stories are not yours.

If you snapped your fingers and had a boyfriend, a husband, whatever… you still wouldn’t feel like they do. Your story is completely different from theirs (font, cover, page count, all of it), and

only you can live your story.

Who knows what it holds?

A relocation to a place you never thought you’d live.

A job you never dreamed you’d get.

A career, a passion, a wealth of friendships you couldn’t replace.

Yes, you may want those other parts— the husband, the children, the family.

But no one else is writing the words of your life except you and God.

You’re one who meets him, the one who falls for him, the one who says, “I do,” the one who sees the strip turn pink, the one who paints the nursery, the one who rocks the baby to sleep.

You know yourself and how God speaks to you better than anyone.

* * *

Hold on, let me say that again.

You know yourself and how God speaks to you better than anyone.

So trust yourself. And trust God.

If you don’t want to date right now, don’t.

Because you’re in high school, in college, in your twenties.

Because you’re focusing on your writing, your music, your athleticism, your SATs.

Because you feel God drawing you closer to Him and there’s not room for someone else right now.

Because you simply don’t feel ready, or there’s just no one you like. (And that happens, and that’s okay, and please, don’t ever force that for the sake of just dating someone, okay?)

‘One day’ doesn’t always have to be right now.

* * *

You don’t have to date. It doesn’t mean you never will.

You don’t have to date. It doesn’t mean you’ll be single forever.

You don’t have to date. You will discover that happiness and joy can be found in a thousand other ways and moments and relationships.

You don’t have to date. Don’t believe the lie that you won’t be ‘complete’ without someone else.

You don’t have to date. You decide what goes in the pages of your story. Don’t let other people skip a few chapters ahead because they prefer a certain type of content.

* * *

God will never pass you by or forget you. So rest your hopes in His hands and trust He knows better what to do with them than you ever could.

Be happy for those who love what they have and want it for you, and be okay with telling them, not now, not yet. This is my story.

You won’t do it because you feel like you should, or out of fear, or boredom, or co-dependency.

Date someone when you want to date them, not when you just want to date.

It’s supposed to be fun, remember?

Enjoy it when you do it, and until then, enjoy it when you… don’t.

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84 Responses

  1. Michelle

    YES! Wow. I've been in a place of both really wanting a boyfriend (ANY boyfriend!) and actually really NOT wanting a boyfriend, and knowing I'm not ready to date right now. Feeling both those things at the same time! 'Date someone when you want to date them, not when you just want to date.' YES! I don't want to settle! Thanks for this post, I will probably be rereading it a few times until it sinks into my heart!

    November 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

  2. Brooke, did you peek into my heart before writing this?! Your words are EVERYTHING I needed to hear!! At the ripe old age of 27 (sarcasm), being a single Christian who really doesn't date (like ever) can feel lonely at times and like I'm doing something wrong. This made me feel like I'm not alone. I was actually asked just the other night why I am not dating anyone and I mumbled some awkward answer about there not being anyone to date. Sure, I would welcome a date on occasion, but the bottom line is that I am happy (with or without a man). This is exactly where I'm supposed to be…single and all.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  3. Meredith

    This is phenomenal. I want to share this with every middle schooler, every high schooler, and every 20-something I know. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm struggling with being in a "not dating" phase of my life and I needed this reminder.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

  4. "God will never pass you by or forget you. So rest your hopes in His hands and trust He knows better what to do with them than you ever could." – Deep down I know this but I needed to hear it again today and be reminded of it, so thank you. I find myself in a similar place (though 27 and single), and feel as if I'm the target of many people's "set up mission." I'm in a stage where I desire to be married, and yet, dating does not feel enjoyable at all to me. I wonder why I get frustrated when everyone tries to set me up with "this amazing guy" when I should probably be flattered. But I think you nailed it when you said that deep down it conveys that they think I need to be in a relationship or be married to be happy. And that obviously isn't God's plan for my life at this moment. So once again, thank you for the reminder that their story is not my story, and even my timing is not God's timing. So thankful the Creator of the universe who knows me better than anyone is writing my story and that's the only story that matters.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

  5. Lauren Jean

    Here's my question: How, if you are ready to date, but not ready to intentionally start looking, like signing up for or go join the local singles ministry/meat market, how do you communicate that to the many married women around you? It's like, yes, having a date actually doesn't make me freak completely out, but at the same time, I still want it to happen naturally. I don't want to put up flyers, looking for my future Mr.

    And because I haven't dated in the past, these women are sure I need help in this area. The amount of times I've had people offer to pay for my eHarmony account setup is ridiculous.

    I would like for things to happen somewhat naturally, as opposed for putting my name down on some list that says, Lauren is ready to marry! Come and get her! Seeing as I've never been on A date, the thought of that just terrifies me. It just seems like especially in the Christian community, it's only one extreme or the other, and while I do think the purpose of dating should be to get married, I'm not there yet. How do you make that clear to people, without making it sound like you just want to fool around a bit before getting serious?

    Anyway, I know this is a little off topic, but I would love any advice you ladies have!

    November 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

  6. Mari

    This is a very timely article,I'm a sophomore in college and I just got out of my first ever relationship, an "almost" relationship (the relationship was not defined and when I tried to get a answer…he turned a cold shoulder and tried to make it seem like I was the one who didn't want to commit to being exclusive. oh well there's other fish in the sea) And I can relate to what you mean about "I’m trying to sort through what ‘Christian’ really means to me, to others, and to a relationship.I’m tired, I’m skeptical, I’m hurting, and I’m recovering. I’m also hopeful, forgiving, growing, and faith-full." For a split second I forgot that just because a guy goes to church doesn't mean he necessarily will act christian. There were some things that happened during the relationship that were red flags but I ignored it. To add to that, before this relationship I was already kinda skeptical of love and dating because of my parents marriage, so this relationship made me realize that I need to deal with past demons before I can truly date someone with a pure and honest heart. For know I've decided to dedicate my attention to finding my identity in God and school because the brief relationship made me realize that since my identity in Christ was not solid, I could be manipulated and controlled easily by the person who I thought cared about me, so much so that I couldn't properly focus on my school work.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

  7. Tausha

    Love this! My 7-year old daughter has been telling me that she's going to go to college to find a boyfriend to marry! My mommy-heart just breaks that at this age she already thinks "that's what girls do". I got married to my high-school sweetheart and have never regretted it, but I want her to be free to be herself, to find herself, to enjoy adolescence and find out where God is leading her before she decides to enter into any serious dating relationships. I want her to get this. I want her relationship with Christ to be her guide – make sure that the men she is interested in will see her like Christ does (and that SHE is aware who she was created to be in Christ), that she will be fulfilled by Him first before she seeks that elsewhere because it can't truly come from anywhere else. I hope and pray that there are many more women that step up into this mindset and see that although marriage and kids can be amazing, life can also be amazing before that and without that. God has designed you to be you – He may or may not have designed a partner for you, but He loves you and can provide so much that we miss because we're looking for it in our partners and spouses. Thank you for this post!!

    November 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm

  8. justsaskia

    Yes! Love this!!

    I have been trying so hard to communicate to people that I am currently content being single, and that I am so overwhelmed by all that is going on in life and work, the thought of even trying to figure out dating gives me a stress headache. Most people just smile and nod, and glance at their significant other, like, 'Ya sure your content Sas…'

    It is so good to be reminded that God gives us permission to just be, to figure things out step by step. He keeps drawing us in to His story, inviting us into a journey that is big, beautiful, and above all eternal! There are so many good things He wants us to join him on, and those things may not involve dating, marriage, or babies, at this time. Thank-you for the reminder that this is more than okay.

    November 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm

  9. Ruby

    I'm so thankful that even though I am 22 only one of my close friends is married, and in my immediate circle of friends there are only a few who are engaged. In high school I was convinced that I knew how my story was supposed to go – meet a guy early in college, get engaged around graduation time, be married at 23, have kids around 26. But in early college I had to learn how to be happy without a boy who I'd one day marry, and how to be my own person who relied on God for being given life rather than other people.

    And then I met this guy. Pretty soon we'll celebrate a year together, though our story starts a while before that year ago. But even in the midst of that, this exact "tip" is what I try to stress on my friends who worry they're going to be alone forever because in their early 20's there is nobody who seems to want to marry them. I know that believing that wholeheartedly, both in and out of a relationship, is what set me up to meet this wonderful boyfriend of mine. Yet I know that if I hadn't met him, I would still be okay, and that even after having him in my life I am not suddenly cured of every insecurity around love, and life, and the future.

    It's heartbreaking to watch friends beat themselves up emotionally only because they're not dating, and I sincerely hope that everyone in that place knows they are loved by others, even without someone who cuddles with you.

    November 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  10. Kait Jones

    This is so perfect! I was laughing as I read your intro to this because I literally could not have stated it any better myself! I just turned 23 and the majority of my friends are married, engaged or at least dating. This was very encouraging for me to read! Thanks or sharing :)

    November 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

  11. Justin

    I think it's very important to find your worth in Christ first, get your life and priorities in order and begin praying that God would provide. Yes, you don't have to date right now. But at the same time, remember that men and women were designed by God to enjoy one another. It's unfortunate that the years most girls spend "finding themselves" happen to be their most fertile and beautiful years, and that it begins fading around 25 or 30. And men are pretty shallow, we are attracted to that youth and beauty more than anything. If you want to find a good man (not an exciting jerk who will leave you), I wouldn't wait until those years have passed you by! Men have a larger window and are less pressured in that regard.

    November 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm

  12. I loved this!! Thank you!!

    November 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm

  13. Elizabeth

    This is good! Thank you for sharing. Wish I had read it 5 years ago :)

    I'm 25 & married now. I dated my 1st boyfriend at age 20 (only lasted a few months). Then I started dating my 2nd boyfriend at age 21, got engaged to him at age 22, married him at age 23. Now that my younger sister is 23 and not in a serious relationship yet, I'm finding myself growing anxious about her future. This post is a good reminder to me that her story is not my story and we both will have different time lines in our lives. Instead of worrying myself or pressuring her I am committing to praying and trusting God to guide her and help her to find fulfillment in her life now as a single woman! Although she has dated nearly 10 different guys, she often says "I don't think I want to get married" and this scares me. Selfishly I want her to settle down so we can have couple date nights and eventually have children close in age that can grow up as cousins together, etc. But I am letting go of these expectations so I can trust God to unfold his plan for my sister. I know He has a good and perfect plan!

    Also, to any single 20-somethings out there: If you feel like you're the anomaly, considering you've never been kissed or never had a long-term relationship, etc., be encouraged that you are NOT the only one. I just remember dreading the "past relationships" conversation b/c I was afraid that I would freak out any men that I tried to date when they discovered how little experience I had. But to my surprise, I found out that my boyfriend (now my husband) had even less dating experience then me. He seemed so confident and relaxed on our first couple dates that I had no idea. :)

    November 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm

  14. Katie

    Just what I needed to hear right now :) thank you

    November 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

  15. The first section echoed exactly my thoughts a few years ago.

    November 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

  16. mquinnalt

    Thank you for this :)
    As a married lady w 10+ years of full, rich single life behind me I am grateful everyday for the prayers God answered differently than I thought he should have at the time. The last crush in the years before I met my husband was a one-sided heart-breaking experience. Including being sent to his online list of what his perfect girl would need to have- with a picture. That was my wake up call to have friends, stop trying to get my emotional needs meet by one relationship and not evaluate every guy as a prospect.

    God blessed my chasing after Him with friends and family that loved me for who I was (and am) and many years with the whole range of emotions that I wouldn't trade for anything. God has your back just like he had mine. Commit to someone when God wants and not a minute before.

    November 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm

  17. golfgal90

    This speaks right to my heart. Thank you so much for writing this.

    I feel lately like I am just stuck wanting to date because I see everyone around me dating and “happy” (and I do use the term loosely) while I’m alone. But I look around me at the guys I meet, and there’s no one I would date. I actually have to convince myself NOT to like them sometimes because even though I know I don’t want to date them, my loneliness clouds my judgment. Emotions are ridiculous sometimes.

    November 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

  18. Ashley

    Wow. Thank you. I've recently moved to South Korea from America to work as an English teacher. I've been here a few months already. It's had it's hard times, it's many good times, and those moments that make you wonder, "Is this really where God wants me?" Dating and finding a spouse here is a very important part of life. If you are 26 years old here and you are not dating anyone, then there quite possibly could be something wrong with you . . . or so those around you think. I'm only 22, well 23 in Korean years but that's not important right now, but being here only a few months has begun to make me acutely aware of my the fact that I'm single. I am continuously asked if I am dating and when I reply a confident, "No," all I hear is "WHAT?! Whyyyyy?" My mind was beginning to slowly feel like there was something wrong with me because I did not have a boyfriend. So thank you for using your experience to share advice with others. Thank you for letting God use your hurt to help encourage and strengthen and revitalize me. Thank you.

    November 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm

  19. Grace

    God will never pass you by or forget you. So rest your hopes in His hands and trust He knows better what to do with them than you ever could

    I just turned 24 on Monday, I have never dated, but still hopeful someone will come along and for my 24th year I decided to focus on God and me. No boys/men at all. I'm always being asked why I don't have a boyfriend…and I honestly don't know why, but now I have a reason. He will come when the time is right. My decision has reduced all the pressure I had placed on myself as a result of society's expectations. But I'm over that now and to God be the glory. I pray that he uses my singleness for his glory.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:34 pm

  20. Nicole J.

    This is a great article but man, I must be in one of VERY FEW churches who does not encouraging dating! lol Live life! Dating isn’t Biblical anyways. Courtship is where it matters. :)

    November 2, 2012 at 1:35 am

  21. Lori M.

    This whole dating thing is fascinating to me but very complex. Unlike all the previous commentors, I was married for 16 yrs. but sadly, it didn't work out. I have now been single for 12 years and still choose not to date. Why? I have children, and have decided to put my focus on them, on my faith, on friends, and on doing things that make me happy and fulfilled. I have many well meaning family, friends, and even my ownchildren, who think this isn't healthy, isn't happy, isn't the way it is supposed to be. I have learned to gently remind that I am okay with this. Who knows, perhaps God will send someone unexpectantly my way and that is okay if it happens. However, I am simply content with my life the way it is. Thanks for reminding me that know matter how long it is, it is okay to not date.

    November 2, 2012 at 9:29 am

  22. lindseyreneegrace

    I agree. I was single (and when I say single I mean I didn't date at all) until recently. I have my first boyfriend at 25 because before this I was busy. I was in school, I was involved with different activities and I hadn't found a guy I really wanted to date (though I pseudo-dated a lot). Those years I wasn't dating weren't a waste and they certainly weren't all that boring. Dating hasn't radically altered my life. I'm still struggling with life post-grad. Still having up and down days. Sometimes when we're together it's amazing and sometimes it just simply is (not amazing but not awful).

    There is nothing wrong with deciding not to date. In fact, it can be very freeing. Having a relationship can be rewarding but it can also be very demanding of your time and energy. Sometimes, being single is what you need right now. Though it can feel like that season of singleness will never end, it will.

    It's always better to be single than to be with a man who isn't good for you. Or in a relationship that isn't worthwhile.

    November 2, 2012 at 10:41 am

  23. Olivia

    What terrifies me as a 22 year old girl as a Christian college is the enormous pressure to get married quickly!!! Each time I have started dating someone, he has brought up marriage within weeks of the first date, and each time I freak out and call it quits soon after. They are awesome guys but I feel smothered and the pressure is enormous. I can't explain why I don't have a bf to everyone that asks (and I know they mean well) but, can we be real, finding a man is not my focus right now. I look forward to that season of my life when I hopefully fall in love and I will totally be that doting mom, but I am in a WHOLE DIFFERENT SEASON right now! Haha People don't get that.

    November 2, 2012 at 11:01 am

  24. I pretty much just started fistpumping while reading this article…probably cause I'm from Jersey. I go to a conservative Christian small college and my roommate is in the process of getting engaged, and many of my friends are in serious relationships. Meanwhile, I am grateful (I'm so glad I'm not getting married at 20!) and also wondering…am I missing out on something? Should I be opening myself up to potential relationships instead of pursuing my crazy huge passion for a career in ministry and nonprofit work as a college senior about to graduate?
    Nope. Sounds exhausting and like a waste of time. I'm going to enjoy the guy friends God has put in my life and keep on living my life. Thanks for the affirmation!

    November 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

  25. Kacie Lynn

    ohhh, yep. as the first woman in my family in 4 generations to not be married by the age of 21, and as a 23-year-old who – yes – would like to focus on my writing, my job, my Jesus, and just plain laughing through life right now…I just love every single word of this. FREEDOM, ladies. Jesus died for it. we have it. Thanks Brooke – get it girl :)

    November 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm

  26. Amanda

    Genius. I needed this, thank you!

    November 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

  27. Hannah

    This is great! I keep changing my mind between wanting to date and get married within the next few years and not caring if it takes 30 years. I do like someone (actually two guys D:) but I also want to be happy with the here and now. I also have that nagging feeling like I should be dating, or at least having guys asking me out because if I'm not/they aren't it means something is wrong with me-but I know that's not true! It just means my prince isn't here yet and that's okay!
    Anywho, thanks for this.

    November 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm

  28. gwp

    If you are not interested in marriage that's fine, but you should then decide not to date at all.
    When women aren't interested in dating, yet think it's okay to to date "for fun", they can easily hurt the men they date.
    Most Christian men don't date women for "fun"; they are looking for marriage.
    If you don't save your dating until you are serious about pursuing marriage, then you are only setting him up to anticipate a potential relationship that you aren't willing to give him. It's unloving and unfair.
    If you don't want a relationship, don't date. Dating isn't a form of entertainment just to make you happy, it's meant only to consider building a lasting relationship with another. Fun is just a bonus of, not the purpose of dating.

    November 2, 2012 at 10:42 pm

  29. gwp

    "Well-meaning women, content in their own marriages, pushing her toward a man she can build a life with. They tease her about the church bachelors, setting her up on blind dates, hinting to the adult sons of their friends how beautiful and smart she is."

    Many well-meaning church women try to set-up their male friends with their other female friends, not because they want their male friend to be happy, but because they think that male friend will make their female friend happy, and they really want their other female friends to be happy.
    They are more concerned about how good of a match the man would be for her (and her happiness) than how good of a match she would be for him (and his happiness).

    November 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

  30. Anon

    "Why do I feel like I won’t be happy if I don’t date, yet the thought of dating makes me nauseous?"

    Choosing to start a relationship (to move past fear, to become vulnerable, to trust another, to invest in someone else's life, happiness, and well-being at the expense of some of your own freedoms, plans, and perhaps some opportunities, and some of the control over your life) is a VERY selfless choice. You are trading a small part of your individuality to build something new with your husband. He is making the same selfless choice as you, to build a new happy life with you.

    A loving relationship is a selfless relationship. The purpose of dating/marriage is to honor God by honoring your boyfriend/husband. The purpose is not to seek your own happiness. Happiness is by-product, a result of two people loving and serving each other well, not for your own gain (for you to receive) but for your boyfriend's/husband's gain (for you to give). When his goal is to love and serve you as Christ loves/serves the church, the by-product or result is your happiness. He is not seeking his own happiness, but yours, and so you feel happy. You are not seeking your own happiness, but his, and he feels happy. Together, through selfless love, respect, honor, and service, you both will be happy.

    If you are choosing to date only because you want to be happy or to enjoy a man's attention and affection (to have fun) without choosing to invest and commit 100% of yourself to the relationship to make him happy, you are being selfish and stealing his time, energy, heart, and affections from both him and his future wife.

    Relationships are only for GIVERS. Don't be a TAKER.
    TAKING from others is not love, no matter how cute you think he is or much he makes you laugh.
    If you are not willing, able, prepared for, and determined to GIVE selflessly to love, respect, honor, and serve your boyfriend/husband (as God would have you do), you should not even be dating.

    Dating is not a game.

    If you aren't ready to be serious about a man, then work on becoming the kind of woman you would want your future son to marry.
    A woman who is beautiful, intelligent, capable, wise, not given to daydreams or fairy tales, but is present and active in her life, serves people well, respects the men in her life, and loves Jesus passionately. Imagine all the wonderful things you would want your daughter-in-law to be to make your son happy, then become those things on your own.

    Don't expect a man to complete you, but find out what amazing qualities other older married men would want in a wife and become those things.

    You can't control how happy a man will make you, and God doesn't want you to, but you can choose to love and respect a man as God would want you to.

    Here is scripture on marriage:
    Any woman who chooses to live these words will become 1000 times more attractive to men, and men will respond.
    Loving and respecting men as Christ does will not guarantee he will be perfect or immediately loving in return. You should still use wisdom when choosing a man to begin a relationship with. The man who will want you to be truly happy will want to live these words as well.

    Ephesians 5:21-33 (AMP)
    21[Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). ] [ ] 22[Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. ] [ ] 23[For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body. ] [ ] 24[As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. ] [ ] 25[Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, ] [ ] 26[So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, ] [ ] 27[That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. ] [ ] 28[Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. ] [ ] 29[For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, ] [ ] 30[Because we are members (parts) of His body. ] [ ] 31[For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one ] flesh.[ ] [ ] 32[This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church. ] [ ] 33[However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [] [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and ] [that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. [I Pet. 3:2.] ]

    November 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

  31. Ani

    Precious and phenomenal. Timely and true.
    I cannot thank you enough for putting this into words and for sharing it.
    This is truth, Truth, TRUTH and is more refreshing for my soul than any other post or article on the subject I have ever read. It takes so much pressure off that never needed to be there in the first place.
    He writes our stories beautifully.

    November 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

  32. Linnie

    Sorry to be negative but I really dont like this article. As a 30 yo woman, for years since I was in my 20s, i've been longing, hoping, dying to get married and its just not happened. I loathe the fact that people want to hang around trying to find ' the one' I dont think people hung around in biblical times. They got married very very early on so as to avoid the temptations that come with being older and single. Good luck to you all though. I for one am fed up of waiting. I worry about loosing my looks and no guy wanting me anymore when i'm no longer young and pretty. God help us! Sorry to be ngtve just crying my heart out here.

    November 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm

  33. wondering

    But what of those who are not 22? They are late 20's and early 30's and wondering where their man is and not when it will happen, but now if it will at all. They are my friends and they have dreams of a family they are re-evaluating and trying to rationalize. They have been jaded by failed relationships too many times. They don't want to date, they just want to be in that stable committed relationship with no desperate attempts to be anyone but themselves.

    November 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm

  34. Amanda

    I read this post a few days ago and since then I have been doing some searching in my heart. I am 20 years old and have never had a boyfriend, never even been on a date. I always think there is something wrong with me. I always thought that "dating someone would be the answer to all of life's questions". Then after I read this post, something clicked.

    You know how a stereotypical hollywood type father has his shotgun and brings it out when boys come around the house so that he can protect his daughter from the boys?

    Well I really believe that is what God is doing for me right now. With the place my heart is at, I know that if I have a boyfriend right now, I will make mistakes that I will regret for a long time! Even though I want one really badly just to feel "normal", I wholeheartedly believe that God is keeping the boys away from me in order to protect what is left of my already broken heart.

    This was a beautiful post Brooke and really opened up my eyes! Thank you!!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  35. margaretfeinberg

    great topic! Thanks for approaching such a sensitive subject!

    November 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

  36. Shannon

    I wept when I read this article because it spoke so deeply into my heart. The words that describe how God speaks into our heart in a unique way really resounded with me in the journey I'm on right now. It's also really uplifting to hear the stories of the other women who commented on this post.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:08 am

  37. thought

    The problem with Christian dating is the unbalanced teaching. It is too woman-centered! Yes, men are to treat women well, and woman should avoid men who treat them poorly, but that seems to be where the teaching ends, and doesn't even consider a man's perspective. A more balanced approach would require "the church" to have reverence for "Christ," not the one-sided requirement that "Christ" die for his "church", but that is not politically correct enough for most modern churches. The modern teachings for church dating lead to "Christ" dying for nothing.

    Men are taught vaguely to " treat women well", never the descriptive and practical needs that Love and Respect teach. We do learn how to do some basic things to keep women happy and avoid upsetting them. Women seem to be taught only to expect that ALL men will hurt them, therefore trust no men, as if the nice church men they see on Sunday are going to betray them as much as the bad men outside of church that they are more attracted to. So they learn to react with fear and harshness when they don't understand the nice church men they are dating. Women never really learn in church how to make men happy or avoid upsetting them. Nobody probably ever told these young women that the nice boys grow up to be nice men, and they only want the best for their women. So women learn to fear church men and look for and judge every little issue, rather than allowing those men to be human, learn, and grow. They think their automatic suspicion is helping them avoid trouble when it is really causing them more. Women should stop treating men as if they are guilty before they even give men a chance.

    November 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm

  38. theslopes

    A-M-E-N to every single word! I'm in love with this post and the comments. Thank you for putting into words what I'm trying to tell everyone for the last four years.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  39. I love this, I so love this. This has been weighing on my heart so heavily lately. Thank you for this article!

    November 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  40. Genevieve

    Amen. :)
    God loves us much more than we could imagine.

    November 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm

  41. Emily

    Thank you for this post!

    November 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

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  43. Blake

    I'm a single late 20's male living in the same church culture. I agree with this article. Very well written. I get so sick of hearing from people that if your "priorities" are not dating and marriage, then your "priorities" are flawed. If you yourself aren't happy, then what do you have to offer those of the opposite sex? I say, quit searching for happiness by finding someone to "complete" you. Find passion in your career, your life, and then you become infinitely more attractive to the opposite gender and offer more to society. Sometimes I can not stand the church culture, well, most of the time, 90% of the time. I personally find it very attractive when a girl's primary focus isn't always marriage, I think it can be very unhealthy.

    December 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

  44. Alyson

    Thank you. It is hard because the secular culture and the Christian culture both put so much pressure on people to date, and this is one of the only topics where both cultures are pushing hard in the same direction, so it is hard to resist even when you are certain you're not ready.

    December 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm

  45. Some people feel depress because they more likely left behind from their friends because they don't have a date. But nothing to rush up, love will come in our way no matter how much effort you stay away from it. It will come.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:22 am

  46. Anonymous

    This post doesn't hold much water when you're still single at 43 (or older)…

    March 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

  47. SoulEna

    (Part 1) The author is this blog is brilliant, or more accurately inspired! How refreshing it is to read words from women who have God in their hearts. All of the comments on here have been so inspiring. This proves just how many GOOD women are still in this world. And you all truly do have your own special story.

    I would like to add a slightly different perspective to this. I have personally come to learn just how much our lives are in God's hands. All we can do is live in faith and persevere the best we can. I am almost 32 years old (although people say I look 25 or 26). I use to think that was old, but now I see it all differently. I literally have 2 shoe boxes full of friend's wedding invitations from over the years. I was engaged briefly when I was younger, and am so thankful it didn't happen. It is such a big commitment, and it needs to be right. All of you women are right. Focusing on our personal relationship with God should come first, and then the rest will fall into place.

    March 23, 2013 at 2:18 am

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  49. Ada

    Well, I saw this blog and I loved it. Keep up the good work. I am 17 and in my first year of uni, there was a time when I was obsessed with finding a boyfriend but now I am fine. Infact,I do not want a relationship as I am getting closer to God and I love that feeling to the point that I am thinking of staying single forever.
    But this guy just told me that he likes me and I like him too but I still do not want a relationship but I am rethinking my single future. I do not want to hurt him neither do I want to date. How do I do it?
    All in all,I want him to not regret our friendship when he looks back but be better but I do not want to be romantically involved(at least not now(though I am still skeptical too)). I need advice.

    October 25, 2013 at 4:26 am

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