Crushing the High Stakes: A Challenge for Guys
If you read my last post, you’ll know I’m pretty passionate about relationships and particularly about seeing our Christian dating culture change from “high stakes” to a healthy pursuit of connection. Marriage is high stakes. Engagement is high stakes. A coffee date? Not so much. But when I look around, I see men and women tied up in knots about this simple step towards connection. This week I want to challenge the guys. Are you thinking too hard about getting to know someone? Men, I know the thing you hear more often than not when it comes to this subject is “grow a pair.” And sure, no man gets to win the heart of a lady by being a coward. But that’s not what I want to challenge you on today. I believe that when it’s time to pursue, you’ll do it. I love the picture of Jesus coming out of heaven to pursue his earthly bride. This is what you’re called to, men. There is something in the heart of every lady that wants to see her value through your eyes. You were made to pursue. At the right time, this will awaken in you. But that moment is very rarely (if ever) before you actually know that person, or have built any connection. A high stakes dating culture tells us we have to have all the information before we take a step towards someone. A healthy dating culture tells us that everything we need to know can only be found inside connection, so there’s not much point trying to figure it out from a distance. Spend some time together. See if you like being together. All the judgments we make from the sidelines are assumptions. When it comes to relationships, what you need to know is not more about her. It’s more about who you are together.
If only we could move from high stakes to “why not?”. “Why not?” opens us up to friendship. It builds connection slowly, step by step. “Why not?” lowers the stakes. Yet it does require something of you. To keep stakes low means keeping them low in your mind and emotions as well as your willingness to say “yes” to connection. It means trusting yourself to communicate clearly. Is there a risk she will jump ahead? Sure. But that’s not on you. If we’re going to change this culture, it means being courageous enough to lead the way, fully confident in our ability to navigate each stage of relationship.
Let’s be honest, it’s a bit weird to be full-on pursuing with grand romantic gestures in the early dating phase. These are often the scenarios that end in tears because the passion was built outside of actual connection. True pursuit kicks in later when relational and emotional connection has been built. Pursuit should reflect the level of commitment you’re willing to make and what the relationship can handle. You get there with a simple first step: “Why not?”.
So men, take the pressure off. Create space for friendship to grow. Lead the way in crushing our high stakes dating culture.
Originally published on benpwilson.com.