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Dating Roundtable: Say What You Mean (and Mean What You Say)

Zach Hunter headshot

I’m not a marriage counselor or a “relationship expert,” but I’ve dated before and I’m (very) married now. So while I’m no expert, I’ve had my feelings hurt in bad relationships/friendships, but have also been affirmed in my marriage.

I want to help you realize that, while there are some good things to do in any relationship, there also are a lot of different ways to do relationships that might not necessarily be bad. Listen to people who’ve come before you, respect yourself and the other person, and most importantly, stay sensitive to what God may be trying to teach you.

All right, let’s get straight to the good stuff. Here are my five tips for dating:

1. Don’t Lead Him On.

If a guy expresses interest in you, it probably feels pretty good to have someone think you’re attractive, interesting and fun to be around. Or maybe you like flirting with a lot of guys because it’s pretty harmless and you like getting them to flirt back. Here’s the deal: Of course it feels good to know that others find you attractive, and of course it’s fun to get a reaction. But ultimately, you could be ruining some potentially great friendships by leading people on, or pushing away a really great guy if he sees you flirting with lots of other guys.

2. Don’t Be Too Available.

Here’s what I mean by “don’t be too available”: Don’t always rearrange your plans if a guy you’re into texts and asks if you want to hang out. Not only is there something attractive about a person who has her own life, but it also helps you draw healthy boundaries so your entire life doesn’t revolve around a boy.

 3. Don’t Play Mind Games (Say What You Mean).

I know a lot of girls who think they have to try to act mysterious or keep a guy guessing in order to keep him interested. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, ladies: We don’t get you. You don’t have to play mind games to be mysterious; we do not understand you. You are already intriguing and you don’t have to manipulate us to keep us interested–just mean what you say and say what you mean.

 4. Don’t Talk About Marriage (Right Away, at Least).

I don’t think it’s a great idea to begin dating someone by declaring that your “intentions are for marriage.” This rushes the process of the relationship and makes it easier to jump into premature intimacy, emotionally and sexually. Hear me out: I think one of the things young, single Christians are taught is that we should date with marriage in mind. I agree, inasmuch as I think a mature person who’s looking for long-term companionship should only date someone they think is marriage material. Knowing something like that means that you need to be friends first, and that’s a great place to start.

 5. Learn His Love Language. 

If you’re already in a relationship, you can start using this one right now, but if you’re not, this will definitely come in handy in a future relationship and in all of your friendships, too! Gary Chapman wrote a book called The 5 Love Languages. He talks about how every human has a kind of affection that speaks to them most deeply. The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Find out more about your significant other, and about yourself, so you can adequately express your appreciation for each other as is appropriate for the maturity of your relationship.

We all come from different cultures with different backgrounds that have different expectations of family involvement in relationships and modesty in clothing, among other things. I just want you to find an amazing guy (not “the one,” because he doesn’t exist) who loves God and you, and supports you in all of your efforts. Love is awesome and worth waiting for.

Zach Hunter

Which of these 5 tips do you think is the most important?

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Speech-Bubbles MORE ON DATING: Go back to the Dating Roundtable now!


Image: Zach Hunter


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  1. misty233

    Posted by misty233 on May 10, 2014 at 15:47

    “I just want you to find an amazing guy (not “the one,” because he doesn’t exist) who loves God and you, and supports you in all of your efforts.”
    I love that part because “the one” is such an illusion many of us are not warned against anymore. Guys, think about it this way, if we all had “the one” and one of us messed up and got the “wrong one” well, then the whole world would pretty much be out of order. We spent a week in the college talking about marriage and relationships and I think this one really just gets most of what the professor said down to a nice, shortened, summarized version without leaving a lot of it out. I also want to say this (for girls who might happen to find themselves in abusive relationships like i did)
    The only way God can EVER be angry with you, is if he became angry with Jesus. God isn’t EVER going to become angry with Jesus. In the same way a spouse/boyfriend should NEVER become angry at you. He may get a little upset sometimes but it should NEVER turn into physical harm or yelling. If you find yourself in a relationship where nothing you do is ever right, get out. Because to one of the good ones (not the one but one of the “good ones”) you should be more than enough. He should pursue you like treasure and gold, and in turn treat you as such.

  2. jesusfreakCPB

    Posted by jesusfreakCPB on May 5, 2014 at 16:52

    Thanks! I really struggle with the whole flirting thing…. A lot.

  3. lindsaypederson1

    Posted by lindsaypederson1 on April 7, 2014 at 09:40

    This really helped 🙂 I love the “Love Language” thing 😀

    I do think that a lot of these things apply to guys too. I know how it feels to be led on and guys who haven’t experienced it don’t know how much it hurts. I think that’s something they need to know also 🙂

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by Soccerfan99 on April 3, 2014 at 11:20

    Thanks Zach this was very helpful! 😀

  5. Wonderfullymade21

    Posted by Wonderfullymade21 on March 22, 2014 at 18:41

    Thank you so much for the advice!! It really opened my eyes. I home to apply these principles to my life!!

  6. Laura King

    Posted by Laura King on March 17, 2014 at 14:01

    The single most annoying thing I find that some girls do is not saying what they mean!!! I know I most definitely never ever ever have a hard time saying what I mean. xD (sometimes that’s a bad thing, btw 😛 ), but I feel like if you have a completely honest relationship and are real with each other, it makes it SO SO SO much easier! 😛

    • Zhunter

      Posted by Zhunter on March 23, 2014 at 14:32

      Absolutely- being yourself is always the best policy, as is honesty! We all have to be careful about “brutal honesty”, though, so we don’t hurt people’s feelings.

  7. HollyIsInspired

    Posted by HollyIsInspired on March 13, 2014 at 19:27

    I think these are all equally great tips!

  8. Callibelle00

    Posted by Callibelle00 on March 12, 2014 at 13:07

    Um can someone help me with a question I have about this cuz I really don’t know what to do??