I’m totally fascinated by the differences between men and women. Partly, because I’m a professional counselor- and I see gender differences at play in almost every relationship that I come into contact with. But the other part is that I am married- and more than ever I get to rub up against the gender differences at work within my own life and interactions with my husband.
I genuinely love the unique role each gender has to play, because I feel that each gender contributes a little piece to the big picture of who God is. And while I am highly opposed to jam fitting men and women into cookie-cutter stereotypes, there is no denying that ultimately, God has chosen to make us pretty darn different. But let’s be honest, sometimes these differences can be really hard to interpret from one gender to another. I know I’m not the only one who sometimes wished I could just “GET IN HIS/HER HEAD!”
With that universal cry of men and women in mind, I am starting a new series that I want to call “He Said/She Said”. The whole idea behind this series is to take some time to get into the minds of men vs. women, having them answer a series of questions in a range of topics. Each interview will ask for one man and one woman- willing to share their perspective with their counterpart gender, as a way to cut us a little slack when it comes to figuring out how they tick!
I’m starting with the hot topic of dating. The one we have all wondered about at some point in time. Keep in mind, that these answers are not necessarily indicative of the beliefs of all others of that same gender. Also keep in mind that I, as the author of this blog, may or may not agree with the following answers. But either way, I thought it would be fun to get into their brains for a few moments, and see what we can learn from the He Said/She Said perspective. Let’s take a look at who they are and what they have to say:
He: Clinton, single 28 year old male.
She: Elyse, single 27 year old female.
What’s the most attractive quality in someone of the opposite sex?
He Said: Initially, physical attraction. I don’t think it’s possible to have a successful relationship if the two people aren’t attracted to each other physically. But aside from that, a sense of humor/wittiness is amazing. If a girl can laugh, and make me laugh, and banter with sarcasm, then she’s gonna win me over.
She Said: Love for Jesus! The more dedicated he is to faith, the more potential I can see in our relationship with Christ at the center.
Who should make the first move?
He Said: Honestly, either one. Perhaps whoever wants the other more? In our society with female CEO’s, politicians, pastors, policewomen, and firewomen, I think it’s archaic that men have to make the first move. If you’re a girl, and you see a guy you’re attracted to, put on your big girl pants and talk to him! Girls would be shocked how frightening it can be for a large majority of men to ask a girl out unless he knows her very well. If a guy makes the first move, great; if the girl does, that’s also great.
She Said: I prefer and appreciate when the guy makes the first move. Boldness is an attractive quality.
Who should pick up the tab at a meal?
He Said: First date – guy does it 10000% of the time. Take out a new line of credit if you have to. Just pick it up on the first date no matter what. I’d say the first few dates the guy does. But once dating, why not alternate, or let the girl get one every so often?
She Said: It would be a sweet gesture for the guy to offer to pay. I have offered to split, mostly because I am very independent when it comes to finances. Showing I’m willing and able to split (or pay for our next date), at least in my mind reveals that I value a balanced relationship. If the guy is adamant about paying, I will respect that.
What are your thoughts on online dating?
He Said: Love it. Fully support the concept for anyone. I’m very outgoing and funny, but I tend to get nervous around girls I want to ask out, so online dating allows me to showcase my strengths (humor, conversation via messages) without having to literally ask, “Do you want to have dinner tonight?” like it’s a cold call in sales.
She Said: I have tried online dating with no success. I find technology to hinder dating on some levels, because I don’t feel like I can really get the vibe of who someone is without being face to face, seeing their expressions, hearing the tone of their voice, etc. It’s easy to (intentionally or unintentionally) put on a front while in front of a screen. That being said, technology can bring people together who may have never otherwise met. If two people are clear on their values and form a God-honoring relationship after meeting online, kudos!
What can someone of the opposite sex do to show you that they are interested?
He Said: Smile and give those flirty eyes a bat like Betty Boop. Do that, and guy’s heart starts to race and Boyz II Men songs start playing in his head.
She Said: Ask me out! It’s that simple. Doesn’t have to be a fancy date; a walk in the park or chat over coffee would be a nice opportunity to get to know each other.
Red flags in a relationship?
He Said: Smoking, drinking, swearing, not a Christian, not athletic, not funny, wants to prevent me from being friends with certain people, wants to monitor my communications, keeps in touch with an ex, has an estranged relationship with close family members, and probably many others.
She Said: I am concerned when a guy doesn’t have great relationships with his family members or a supportive group of Christian friends. If he’s not well-connected to a church and actively seeking/following Christ, that’s when I pull back the reins or, if this is clear from the beginning, not start a dating relationship at all.
How much should you share on a first date?
He Said: Enough to intrigue them, but not anything you would hesitate to share with someone close. That might seem obvious, but some people try too hard to make the connection and don’t let it form itself. My basic guideline is what you would share with someone via online dating in the first 1-3 emails. If you don’t get past “Favorite ‘Friends’ character?”, then it’s tough to glean who the person is; if you get to, “Does the collapse of the American economy tell you anything about predestination in the Bible?” then your schedule just cleared up because a second date isn’t happening.
She Said: I’m an open book. That’s just my personality. However, I would try to be cautious of sharing too much about the past, especially areas that paint a different picture than who you are today. I’m more interested in the present person and future potential of a relationship.
With modern technology and the many forms of communication out there- which do you prefer best?
He Said: Texting. I dominate texting with girls. It’s my wheelhouse. If we gave gold medals for texting with girls, I’d be Michael Phelps.
She Said: I touched on this a bit in the online dating question, but I absolutely prefer organic, in-person communication. Second best would be speaking on the phone, followed by text or email/Facebook message. I grow closer to a person the more time we spend together. Text or online communication can easily result in drama, with words being misconstrued or one person feeling concerned that they haven’t heard back from the other in a certain time frame. At least when you’re speaking on the phone, there won’t be lags in conversation until you clearly end it.
True or False: When it comes to someone showing an interest in me, actions speak louder than words.
He Said: True.
She Said: True. The romantic in me loves being on both the giving and receiving ends of special gestures. Words are very important and should only be spoken honestly. Actions bring energy to dating. I wouldn’t want one without the other!
How do you feel about going on dates with more than one person at a time (different dates in a short period of time)?
He Said: I need to add a disclaimer to this before I can answer – if you’re doing it with the premise to not get attached and swim through the sea without stopping, and you make that known to every person you go on a date with, I think it’s ok. However, if your end game is to get into a relationship, I think it’s massively counterproductive. There’s ALWAYS going to be someone better down the road, so unless you commit to one person for a few dates and commit to waiting until you’ve given it an honest attempt, break it off, and THEN you find and contact someone else, you’re going to find it hard to commit to anyone. Options in life can be great, but in dating, it seems to rarely ever work.
She Said: I believe it is honoring to only date one person at a time. If it’s clear that romantic feelings are not mutual, the relationship should be defined as friends only or otherwise and boundaries set before dating someone else.
Would you ever date someone you wouldn’t consider marrying?
He Said: Not after I graduated college. That’s when I started carrying my “Will Date for Marriage” cardboard sign with me.
She Said: No. I am seeking a life-long partner. I’m open to going on a few dates and getting to know someone, but if our values and intentions don’t align, it’s best to go our separate ways.
What not to say on a first date?
He Said: Anything about exes, family problems, money issues, really anything that you’d only tell someone close to you.
She Said: Anything untrue. I very much value honesty, even when it hurts.
What’s one thing you wish everyone of the opposite sex knew about dating and relationships:
He Said: Find a guy who can make you laugh a lot. If you’re a girl who doesn’t like to laugh, then learn to like it, and find a guy who can make you laugh a lot. I know SO many really attractive girls who ended up with guys who would fall into the “He’s out-kicking his coverage” category in a split second. Why? They are dynamite Christian guys with great senses of humor! Physical attraction, wealth, fame, nice jobs – all of them will fade away over time. But a guy who is funny will always be funny. It’s relationship gold.
She Said: We’re human. Because of that, relationships aren’t always easy and require work. We will inevitably hurt each other and must be ready and willing to ask God and one another for forgiveness. Support and understanding are key.
What is the biggest mistake Christians make in dating?
He Said: Believing that our faith in God will send us a perfect person, with whom we will have a perfect (and sinless) dating relationship, which leads to a perfect marriage. Every relationship takes work because we are all messed up and selfish. God doesn’t always choose the best to spread the gospel; He has given us thousands of examples of broken and screwed up people serving a greater purpose. In that same vein, your standards for a wife or husband (especially for girls looking for Mr. Perfect-Christian-Worship-Leader-Guy) might be astronomically high, but you will undoubtedly have to come down from many of them to find contentment in marriage. Just make sure his/her Christian values are never one of those aspects, and the rest will always fall into place.
She Said: Being sexually active before marriage. It hurts my heart to hear of these instances, especially when a Christian couple feels that foreplay or other sexual acts are okay because they are exclusively dating each other. We should be honoring God first and foremost, while also honoring each other.
I’ll be honest, I loved this interview and I am really looking forward to the upcoming ones!
If you are interested in joining the conversation, have additional thoughts or questions, or would like to volunteer to be interviewed, please feel free to contact me! And don’t forget to subscribe by email to True Love Dates to catch the rest of this series!