In the post introducing #6 of the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date, “I’m Curious,” I disclosed one of my personal dating daydreams: “Maybe we’ll find ourselves on the dance floor with the spotlight on just the two of us, and as the music crescendos while magic sparkle dust falls from the sky, we’ll look deeply into each other’s eyes and we’ll just… we’ll just… know.”
To clarify, curiosity isn’t all bad. You ought to date because you want to get to know someone better. That’s a healthy curiosity, but many times we use that as an excuse to cover up our curiosity about other things. “Oh, I just want to get to know them better (but if we wound up kissing or making out I certainly wouldn’t object).”
After 20+ years of reflection, I see now that most of my dating curiosity surrounded the idea of the girl falling in love with me.
- Would it happen?
- With who?
- And most importantly: How wonderful would it feel?
Can you relate? Might that essentially be what you’re curious about? After all, the whole affair of falling in love appears absolutely fantastic on film.
Well, there was no sparkle dust on my first date with Julie (the woman I now call “beloved wife”), no soundtrack or spotlight. Just Mazzio’s Pizza. Followed by the big screen debut of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – accompanied by a bunch of guys from a Bible study. (No. That wasn’t planned.) Followed by Dairy Queen – where we ran into the girl I was going out with the next night. (No. That wasn’t planned either.)
There were no special effects, script or narrator, just plain ole conversation which led to other plain ole conversations which laid the foundation for a relationship which became more precious than plain, until one day that simple friendship blossomed into a rare romance.
We didn’t fall in love. We grew.
After two and a half years of growing in relationship, it wasn’t curiosity that propelled Julie and me to date. It was purpose.
I wish I could tell you I planned it that way, but I was way too busy trying to perfect my dance moves and find a good price on sparkle dust for my next date with Renee.* I wanted to direct a romance the way they do in Hollywood. One of God’s greatest gifts to me is that he never let me succeed. Even as I tried to get this girl… and then that girl, God let me get to know this lovely lady who eventually became my wife.
Well enough about me, because I dated in the dark ages before Al Gore’s information superhighway. In this era of “connectedness,” your ability to satisfy your curiosity is nearly boundless (and so is the trouble it can get you in). You can learn more about a stranger online before the first date than I could have found out on the 10th. Indeed, before ever meeting in person, you can already have your “sparkle dust” forecast for the evening. (This is one of the reasons why internet relationships statistically get physical faster.)
Can you see the danger in that?
The prevailing notion is you don’t need to date to “get to know someone.” That’s already happened online. This might make for dating efficiency, but please don’t forget that knowing about someone (especially only those bits of data someone chooses to reveal online) isn’t the same thing as actually knowing them.
Beware of your curiosity about falling in love (or making out or jumping in the sack or whatever)! Instead, keep your curiosity focused on truly getting to know your date: their character and convictions, favorite memories and hidden hurts, their hopes, fears and dreams.
Of course you could learn all of that stuff about someone and never fall in love.
Maybe you grow in love instead.
But even if you don’t, be certain of this: you will grow.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, is for those who want to trade in their dreams of sparkle dust for the desire to discover God’s will for their relationships. Check out the first two study 8-lesson study guides in our store. Then put together an FMU LoveEd small group study with same-gender friends and you’ll grow in relationships that will make sparkle dust look like kindergarten glitter.
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* Not her real name, but there really was another girl I was goo-goo over the semester before Julie and I started dating. Yes. I was an idiot. Posting these confessions is my penance. Don’t waste my penance.