One week he’s sitting by himself, the next he’s next to someone you don’t know. Here’s why Christian guys date outside their church.
I recently wrote about Why Christian Girls Date Non-Christian Guys. I wrote it in response to a number of my female friends bringing up the feelings they’ve felt about trying to find a Nice Christian Guy, and whether or not one truly exists. I pretty much took real statements that I’ve heard been made and decided to have a look at where they’re coming from and what’s really behind the decisions and the pressures we face.
And there was an overwhelming response. Unfortunately not in the comments section on the article itself so much where more people could join in, but on various shares on social media and multiple in-person conversations, it became obvious that it really is an important topic in our world today. Was I trying to say that all Christian girls go looking for someone outside of their faith background when it comes to relationships? Not at all. But there is an increasing level of pressure on churched ladies today that they may be wasting their time looking in church circles (which I don’t think they are at all).
A number of people came to me asking me to write the counterpart article to that one. Someone said I should write why Christian guys date non-Christian girls. After thinking about it, that’s not so much the experience of most of the guys I know – that is to say, I don’t believe the same pressure exists for us men. Sure, it happens, and I would guess that a lot of the reasons would be the same or similar to the ones I wrote in the other article.
But I had a number of guys come and tell me this is the actual topic that I should write about. And after thinking about it for a little while, I definitely think this is a more common reality of the Christian men in our world, affecting both themselves and the people around them, either for better or for worse.
I’m not saying this is wrong to do by any means, but sometimes people are left scratching their head as to why a guy would actively look outside his own church for love. And here are some of the reasons why. Let’s take an honest look at why Christian guys date outside their church.
Because he likes her. Last time I started with the easy one, this one I’ll start with the easy one again. It’s usually very simple why a guy dates a girl outside his own church – it’s cause he likes her. They meet at a non-denominational event, on a missions trip, at uni or in the workplace, on Christian Mingle, wherever it is, and they hit it off. Friendship ensues, friendship turns to affection, affection turns to love, and off they go. Sometimes the simplest reason it happens is just because he likes the girl and wants to get to know her better.
Because he doesn’t see anyone who meets his criteria. Here we go. I guess this is a universal one huh? Some of the guys I’ve known who’ve gone down this path have done so because they haven’t seen anyone in their regular church meetings that they go to that they consider “comparable”. Sometimes guys feel like because they’ve seen the girls in their world so often and gotten to know them over years – at meetings, post-church events, connect/cell/life/discipleship/whatever you go your small group group, missions trips, community outreaches, so on and so forth -they feel like they know the women they know well enough to “broaden their horizons”.
There’s two dimensions to consider on this one I think. On the one hand you can think, “well fair enough”. If he’s thought it through, really spent time getting to know people at a deeper level, and still can’t find what he’s looking for, maybe it is a natural progression that he continues his search elsewhere.
On the flip side, there are some amazing women in our church walls. Women full of grace, understanding, direction and calling. Sure, sometimes they don’t always have it all together, sometimes they’re unsure, and sometimes they can be real jerks (just like you and me – we all have times like this), but it’s sometimes a shame that people get written off before a proper thought is given. Many women I know go in to bat for the great women they know, and I fully agree with you.
Because he’s afraid. Here’s a common one from the opposite sex. If you’re a Christian guy, you’ve heard this one a lot. You’re too afraid to ask a girl out, especially one who is staring you in the face. You need to man up, you need to be an initiator – you know the drill.
Once again, I want to give credence to the two sides here. I never actually used to think that this one was true – my experience has been the opposite for the most part here with the guys I know. However, after spending time with more guys in more groups of friends and different churches and movements, I can say that there’s definitely some weight to this argument. This one falls to you personally, gents. If you like a girl and you’re not asking her out, that’s called fear. And you’re letting it stop you from what might be one of the best decisions of your life.
That said, I know plenty of guys who go after the girls they want to get to know better. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I think we’ve got to be careful waving this one around too much – for a guy who’s put himself out there and been shot down, it can be very destructive for him to be told he’s afraid and not man enough to make a decision. Maybe he’s just not telling everyone about it.
Because he’s too well known. Here’s a bit of a different one, but very overlooked. Men in leadership are often highly visible. Their lives are talked about and talked from. If they speak on stage, run key teams or have any other prominent role, their life is under constant surveillance and scrutiny. Before and after church, everyone wants to talk to them. Everyone wants a piece of them.
So sometimes, it’s just easier exploring your love life where you don’t have as much pressure on you. I’ve been to enough different churches to realize this pressure leaves a lot of guys feeling like they need some breathing room to pursue someone properly.
Because he’s not as close to you as you may think. It’s amazing how little we know about the people we spend time with the most. Sure, in church circles, we do lots of things next to each other, and with each other, but sometimes it’s all side-by-side activity, and not face-to-face.
There are so many guys out there who feel lonely even though their surrounded by their church community. Women are the same – this is a universal human experience. But just because you “do” things with him every week, doesn’t mean that he actually feels the closeness to move him towards exploring a deeper relationship.
You could argue that dating is exactly that – moving out of your comfort zone and getting to know someone better (that’s really all it is at its most basic level – special and intentional getting-to-know-you time). It’s a fair point. But for some guys they need a bit more friendship before they’re willing to progress.
Because he’s had a bad experience (or several). Ah gents, love isn’t easy, is it? The majority of times, a guy progresses to this train of thought because he has not had good experience dating the girls at his church.
Unfortunately the psychological phenomena of association can really have a strong hold on us in the love department. “I had a bad experience dating a girl at my church, therefore dating girls at my church is a bad experience”. Once again, unfortunately this means many a great option are overlooked and unseen because of the pain in his heart.
Bro, don’t blame the whole female gender for something one of them did to you. That’s just as bad as when a girl does the same with the guys she knows. I fully understand this one – when you’ve had a number of similar difficulties with similar types of women, it’s very easy to just reject them all in your mind. Just be careful you’re not shutting out everyone in your life, and that you’re properly processing The One That Got Away. The decision to stay brokenhearted, or to move on and find healing, is completely up to us.
Or maybe he really won’t find a good experience with the women he currently knows. Maybe the relationship he needs to go to the distance is with someone who’s sitting in another building this Sunday.
Because he isn’t aware that he has a chance. Sometimes we really have no idea who cares about us. When it comes to dating, you don’t always know who will say yes and who won’t. The friendliness and brotherly and sisterly love that exists within our church communities (which is one of my favourite things about church by the way) can sometimes also blur the lines of “love you like a brother” and “we could really love each other”. If he feels like he’s more of a brother than a lover, he might keep it that way in brother land, and go somewhere where he’s less of a brother (if that makes sense).
Still shouldn’t be a cop out if you want to pursue something, gents. It’s amazing what happens when you actually talk to someone about what you want to talk about.
What’s the point?
So, what’s the point in all this? My purpose with these partnered articles isn’t to slam a particular gender – I’ve tried to be as supportive I can of both men and women. The point of these is to really talk about some of the pressures that often break hearts and leave people feeling confused and, instead of having an angry ranting session about what he did and what she did, my intention has been to explore the why behind the pressures and the decisions we face.
I’m sure there are things in here you don’t agree with. Maybe there are some things you actually think are on point. But wherever you find yourself, realize that the men and the women in our world are people too. Just like us, on a journey, just like us. And instead of launching into a tirade or crying ourselves to sleep because of what certain people do and don’t do, let’s really try to understand each other here and work through this together.
So, across these two articles I’ve shared my thoughts. It’s only fair if you get to share yours. What are your experiences on this topic? Join the conversation.