Relationship Tips For Men: 3 SIGNS YOU'RE READY (or nahhhh)

You ready to date? Or nahhhh… 
I apologize.  Once Nash Grier started saying it,  I couldn’t drop it.  In my heart of hearts, I’m a Magcon Viner.  And, for those of you who are lost already….let’s just move on. 

Every year it seems the “dating age” gets younger and younger.  I used to laugh as middle schoolers talked about “going out.”  But in a couple weeks I’ll listen to junior campers tell their dating stories.  Hollywood has given us a wonderful picture of a fictional, impossible dating world.  We have the Disney channel to thank for adolescent expectations…and don’t even get me started on the Hallmark Chanel.  (Insert Eye Roll Here) 

For the sake of the series, lets agree that the purpose of dating is to discover and cultivate skills and eventually relationship that will lead to a life of marriage. 

So guys,  how do you know if you’re ready to date?  At what point should the search begin?  

God shows us THREE important preliminary qualifications to relationships.  To see those, go to the first relationship in Genesis chapter 2.


God made the man and put him in the garden of Eden.  The word Eden is a complicated word in its original form, because it carries the connotation of multiple meanings. While Eden was a literal garden,  this word also implies “delightful place” or “open door.”  Eden is a place where, for a moment, there is an open door on earth to God’s presence.  Eden was more than a place.  Eden was also an environment, an atmosphere, and in the very presence of God.

The first thing God gifts the man with is his presence.  Guys, if you’re looking for a woman, the best place to meet her is in the presence of God.  If she isn’t in the presence,  let me promise you, she is NOT God’s present for you.  Don’t try to find her elsewhere and drag her into the presence. Meet her there.


Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”  God made man, and then put him to WORK!  #Priorities  You don’t need a woman before you have a job.  And notice his job description:  dress it and keep it.   Notice God didn’t give man a finished product, he commissioned him to cultivate it.  

First of all, women are expensive.  Just take my word for it.  Not only that:  the woman you are picturing in your mind.  She doesn’t exist.  There’s no such thing. (Unless your qualification list is limited to “breathing.)  Your job is , as one pastor put it,  is to “take the raw material and cultivate her into the person you desire.” If you’re married and reading this, and you don’t like the person you’re married to,  cultivate her!  Don’t like the way she dresses?  Take her to the mall (not Goodwill).  Don’t like how she looks?  Buy a gym membership and take her with you!  

Jesus has a bride. Her name is Ecclesia. And if you don’t think these ideas on marriage are accurate,  see the New Testament for a detailed list of how Jesus presents his bride to himself. (Ephesians 5)  People LOVE to quote Eph. 5:25 “husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”  That is….until they see HOW he loves his bride:  Sanctifies her, Washes her with the word, presents her unto HIMSELF without spot or wrinkle.  

All that to say: if you can’t hold down a full-time PAYING job,  there’s no way on earth you’ll be able to maintain your full-time leadership position in a relationship. 


Genesis 2:16-17 God gives ADAM some very specific instruction, don’t eat of the fruit of one particular tree.  God doesn’t give instruction to Eve (she hasn’t been created yet). It is Adam’s job to communicate God’s word to his wife.  The problem with so many relationships today is that the woman knows more Word than the man,  and the man isn’t qualified or able to lead.  

Read your Bible!  As you’ve probably discovered, relationships are not successful unless both parties are communicating.  I promise if you aren’t in God’s Word allowing Him to speak to you,  there’s no way you’re faithfully talking to him.  If you’ll develop fluid lines of communication with Jesus,  you’ll find that your earthly relationships will thrive from the overflow. 

THEN,  God says “It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him.”  

It is not good for the man who is in the presence of God, working (able to cultivate), and able to teach the word of God to be alone.  

Until you have those three,  NO, you’re not ready to date.   

Relationships For Men: The Myths

I’m breaking the silence…mostly because I can’t stand to watch it anymore!  Social media is inundated with posts “to the girl who got her heart broken.”  Daily, my news feed is saturated with dating tips for women, relationship advice for girls,  and my favorite:  passive aggressive posts about exes.  And while I’m not saying ALL of those should stop, it is time for a balance in the blog-force.  Because here is a fact that might blow some of your minds….ready?… girls/women/ladies are not the only hearts that get broken.  Not only that -  men are not the only ones who screw up relationships.  

So, before we can dive deep into this series of postings, we must first debunk a few relationship myths.  These postings will be largely geared toward men,  but ladies you are welcome to follow along.

God has divinely appointed one woman for you to marry, and he will supremely guide you to her. 

I know, I know.  You heard this growing up.  In fact your pastor, youth pastors, and even parents preached it at you in an attempt to steer you clear of dating.  But, good luck finding that principle in the Bible.   We must be careful when speaking boldly about what God does and does not do, definitively.  

I’m not saying He does not have a will for your dating life,  but one of my favorite authors and preachers, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best:  (In Summary) God joins the relationship between a man and a woman at the point of marriage.  Before that, the couple has to take the initiative. Rather than directing the course of the relationship (removing your free will choice), God wants the couple to grow and learn how to make a commitment.  Once they’ve done that, God increases his sustaining presence.   

What if you accidentally in a moment of poor decision-making chose the wrong “one.”  Then the one you were supposed to marry has to marry the wrong one. Then the one who was supposed to marry the one marries a different one…and before long, no one has the right one, and YOU screwed up the gene pool of the entire planet.  Yeah…glad it doesn’t work that way!

So men,  what are you waiting on?  The holy glow and angel song is not going to magically appear over the predestined “one.”  Your dating life is up to you.  Choose wisely.

You plan to “date the Bible way.” 

I grew up an Independent Baptist preacher’s kid.  I read all the books (forcefully) from “Every Young Man’s Battle” to “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.”  My grandfather was famous in my high school for his cleverly alliterated phrase, “Dating is for dummies, but courting is for Christians.”  

Let me be clear,  there are no definitely Biblical principles for dating in the Bible.  They didn’t date!  They stayed single, courted, or enjoyed an arranged marriage.  And from personal experience,  I wouldn’t recommend following the antiquated Biblical format in our society.  Want to know the best way to NEVER get a first date?  Ask the girl’s father without consulting her first.  YIKES!  #LessonLearned 

HOWEVER:  There are biblical principles essential to dating.  Galatians 5 has a list including gentleness, respect, purity, and kindness.  Dating alone?  Kiss before marriage?  Hand holding?  Sorry bud, the Bible doesn’t answer those SPECIFICALLY.  But the boundary of conviction and purity is one you should clearly mark and not cross.

We have to be friends for seven years before we date. 

WRONG!  I might have liberally used the number seven since it often represents perfection.  But I hear this myth all the time.  Does love often spring from friendship?  Yes.  The problem lies when a guy tries to befriend a girl while hiding his intentions.  If you’re waiting for God to smack you over the head and tell you “she’s the one…start naming your children” that’s not faith…that’s fear of rejection.  

I’ve been there.  Done that.  We had been friends for going on 10 years.  We talked on the phone.  I was there when she needed me.  We loved all the same things.  I thought she was perfect…and into our senior year I had watched her date guy after guy, and I was always there to pick up the pieces.  Until I overheard her tell her friends,  “oh, that’s just Jon.  He’s like a brother to me!”  Then one day,  a guy not so different from me came along.  He asked her out, and she said yes. (They’re married now.) 

Don’t hide it.  Be a man!  Doesn’t matter if y'all never touch, wear hazmat suits, group date at church events,  and observe the infamous 10 inch rule,  “friends” and “dating” are categorically different and hold different expectations.  Physical does not equal dating.  Mutual intention does. 

Your sexuality is sinful.

The Bible is explicit in its instruction to save sexual intimacy for marriage.  But if you grew up in an environment like I did,  your sexuality was a curse that must constantly be kept in check.  Well……yes and no.  

Your sex-drive is a part of who you are.  If there were no attraction or drive,  you’d probably eat yourself fat, win every level of Call of Duty, and perfect your couch to trash can throwing game.  

God didn’t wire you this way to torture you.  Don’t confuse sexual desires with sin.  Yes, they can become sinful.  But in their organic nature, they are a gift from God…and that makes them holy.  Find a way to get that energy out in a holy and healthy manner before it forces its way out.  Pornography and adultery are not the answer.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: an sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  (James 1:15)

What To Expect...

I pulled in the parking lot of the church, gathered my things and walked through the doors.  The greeters were great,  the people were friendly, and I was excited to preach to a packed house.  Being a young evangelist, I’m used to hilarious questions..that, or people have no clue I am the guest speaker that day.  So as this gentleman walked toward me, I was gearing up to give the most polite answer I could muster. 

He shook my hand, and with a smile on his face asked, “You’re new aren’t you?  Great to have you! Have you ever been to a church of this denomination before?”  “Yessir, I have,” I replied.  “Well GREAT!  Then I have one piece of advise for you about our worship experience….whatever you’re expecting…EXPECT IT!” 

I courtesy laughed at his joke, but conviction flooded my heart immediately.  What was I truly expecting from this worship experience?  When we walk through the doors of our church’s gather location,  what are we seeking?  Have we prayed for something specific?  Are our eyes searching for the movement of the Spirit? 

Scripture admonishes us regarding the church assembly in these passages:
- Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.

-Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

- Matthew 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

So, in light of what God says about His church, His presence, and our preparation,  here are a few things you can expect when you’re expecting: 

An Abundance of Joy in the People
When we are expecting a move of God,  we’re filled with joyful anticipation.  Go find any kid,  load them in the car and tell them you’re taking them to Chuck E. Cheese, McDonalds Playland, or better yet, DISNEY!  Now tell them to calm down and stay completely quiet…DON’T SMILE!  Impossible.   I think the reason we can’t truly smile or exude joy at any level on Sunday morning is because we have lost sight of what church can/could be like.

Praise & Worship From The Overflow
I’ve spent over a decade of my life directly involved with the planning or execution of the worship experience.  When people’s perspective is off,  it takes at least three or four songs to get them in the right mindset,  and just about the time you arrive at that place, it’s time to stop.  There were some Sundays where we would do one or two songs before the sermon, and then three or four after the sermon.  It was amazing to watch people praise differently after being at the altar.  Expectant people don’t require acceleration time.  Their praise and worship is from the overflow of what has already been taking place in their life throughout the week.  It’s the difference between a recharge and a jumpstart. 

Actively Discipling and Inviting
Typically when you tell your kids about said exciting places listed above,  first question will be, “MOM!  CAN MY FRIEND GO?!”  While Disney tickets may cost $200 a pop, hindering your caravan of friends from coming along, the happiest place on earth (the presence of Jesus)  has NO ticket price!  Expectant people have experienced the presence of God, and they can’t settle for anything less.  They understand it’s power and are actively inviting people to experience.  Not only that,  as a result of His presence and power,  they’re discipling others to walk in it as well.

God Is On The Move

The focus of the verse is not the gathering, but the intent.  Those who expect a move of God, gathered in HIS name, will experience that very promise. You’ll always find what you’re looking for, and those who seek the Lord will doubtless find him.  Whatever you’re expecting…expect it!  If you’re expecting the same old numb experience…well that’s what you’ll have.  

Objects In Mirror

My grandpa put me in the church van when I was about ten years old,  started it up, and told me I’d be driving it around the church parking lot: loading and unloading items for the church work day.  This was far from the first time I had driven (thanks Aunt Jen),  but the first time I’d be by myself.  He pointed my attention to the side-view mirrors where was written, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”  And with glasses in hand, and that look of wisdom in his eye he said, “Jon, you’ll think you have all the space in the world until your bumper is right upon the support beam for the tabernacle (outdoor pavilion)…don’t forget things are closer than they appear.”

With schedules gone crazy and not a second to spare, we’ve found ourselves glancing quickly in a mirror.  If everything looks okay,  we go about our way.  It's impossible to see the tiny flaws in our face or traffic swiftly approaching without pausing for a close inspection.  But let's be honest...who has the time?

In James 1:23-24 we find hearers of the word, not doers.  They’re likened unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  

From a cocky ten year old driver who looked to the mirror but thought he had all the room in the world to correct his approach to the hurried working class who glance at their face and move on forgetting what they looked like:  We underestimate the closeness of the objects in the mirror.  "It's not that bad."  "I've got time."  "I think there's enough margin."  These excuses often become the death sentences of our lives and relationships.

God’s Word is a mirror.  When we truly reflect on it,  we realize the state of our natural man.  We’re disheveled by sin, and marked by laziness.  Sadly, most of us think we have time to correct.  The things I read don’t apply to me…YET.  I haven’t hit anything… I think I look okay. The things in God’s word don’t apply to me…yet.

Friends,  don’t live your life by “yet.”   Don’t hear without application.  Don’t listen without learning.  The objects in His mirror are closer than they appear.