Why Don’t the Guys in my Church Ask Women on Dates?

"I notice a lot of Christian men are afraid to pass the friend threshold. Where are all the brave men?"

Where are all the brave men? I will not go on a rant—and I firmly believe women can be just as brave—but I do notice a lot of Christian men who are afraid to pass the friend threshold. This is why so many women date non-Christians; because Christian guys rarely can just keep it casual and go on a date, give it a chance. What are your thoughts on this?



Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang! Erica bringin’ the wisdom with a punch-in-the-face question as sentence #1, a sly wink to societal norms in sentence #2, and a scathing (and true) assessment in sentence #3. Well done, and great question!

However, the answer you’re seeking isn’t really for you, it’s for him. Because I think you know the answer, don’t you? I know you do, because you alluded to it when you wrote, “Christian guys rarely can just keep it casual and go on a date, give it a chance.” That’s the symptom of a much larger problem—a problem that, unfortunately, will not be helped by me talking to a lady. So with that, I’m going to sign off and actually speak to the folks who can do something about this.

Your pal,


Dear every kind-hearted, well-meaning, a little bit quiet but not around your bros, comfortable in groups but not one-on-one, single and secretly dreaming of dating (and marriage and kids), kind, helpless, you thought you’d be in a relationship by now but what the heck is going on, I kissed dating goodbye but forgot about procreation and God’s design for relationships, awesome, good men,

The truth is, we’re a people who, when left unchecked, go into Pharisee mode like it’s our job. And we’ve done this with Christian dating.

We have a problem. And that problem’s name is Erica.

Sweet Erica is sitting next to you in church. She is brilliant, wise, articulate and principled. And you know you’ve noticed her because you notice every brilliant, wise, etc., woman in your circle. They think you don’t notice, but we know better, don’t we?

You noticed the moment she started her internship at your workplace that she was just wonderful, nice to chat with, attractive, marriage material, the bearer of your progeny, and definitely the one God has sent from on high to satisfy your deepest longing and ...

STOP! For the love of Joshua Harris, just please stop.

We have some serious issues to work out, namely, the lack of courage displayed by really good men who are hiding their heads in the sand, even as their heart longs to connect. But why?

We’ve got yet another Christian culture problem. Somewhere in the formative and oh-so-tacky ’80s and ’90s, a message spread through Christian bookstores (R.I.P.), pulpits, youth groups, and all the nooks and crannies of God-fearing culture. This message was that casual dating is not good, women’s hearts must be guarded by men, and all romantic relationships better have marriage in mind—or the people in them are just using each other.

Yet while all these concepts have elements of wisdom embedded in them, they’ve been distorted just like so many good ideas before them (i.e. keeping the Sabbath). The truth is, we’re a people who, when left unchecked, go into Pharisee mode like it’s our job. And we’ve done this with Christian dating. Let’s walk through the three messages:

Message: Casual dating is not good.
Reality: Casual dating to get to know someone is good—and necessary—if you’re ever going to, you know, move past your mom. The fear is that casual dating means casual sex, casual deep intimacy or casual love—which are all by nature not casual. But if we assume that a good man and a good woman understand those boundaries, why would getting coffee and learning more about the other person not be healthy, enjoyable and within any reasonable scope of OK?

Message: Women’s hearts must be guarded.
Reality: Women can guard their own hearts, make their own decisions, and suffer the highs and lows of emotional intimacy just like the rest of us (if not better than the rest of us). The truth is, being a guardian of a heart is God’s job. Your job is to honor God, be respectful to her, and be brutally honest about when your feelings are casual and when they’re not.

And, let’s just be really honest, the reason “guarding her heart” became a thing is because men before you lied and we wanted a better term for lying. How about we just drop that and form a new message: Pursue God and quit lying to women to fulfill your desires for emotional and physical intimacy. Catchy!

Message: Romantic relationships should be walking toward marriage.
Reality: OK, maybe it’s a good idea to have a distant goal in mind that possibly, in the future, you could marry a person. And I intentionally said “a person,” not “this person” who you’re sitting across a table from, because knowing that you are moderately amenable to walking down that road means you’re probably in a good spot to date casually, honestly and respectfully.

The truth is, being a guardian of a heart is God’s job. Your job is to honor God, be respectful to her, and be brutally honest about when your feelings are casual and when they’re not.

But seriously, the amount of pressure that sizing up a newbie for marriage puts on a casual coffee date, not to mention the fact that you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE PERSON (sorry, I’m worked up and yelling) does two things: 1. It paralyzes an organic and healthy period of “getting to know someone” and 2. It forces a depth of commitment that is best reserved for months and years later. In short, it puts the cart before the horse.

Gents, in closing, here’s what I’m asking you to do: Please, please, please take a look within yourself and determine if any of these messages have become part of your DNA. And if they are, take from them what’s true, and discard that which has been distorted by a decade or more of emasculating dating advice.

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The pressure's off, guys. Women, or at least Erica, don’t seem to be asking you to be perfect or fully realized in your husbandness. They just want you to be present and slightly brave. Maybe women should ask men out? Maybe we’re a mentorless/fatherless generation who has lost a bit of backbone because we haven’t been taught to properly handle failure? Maybe—probably.

But those are other conversations for another day. Today’s conversation is about sweet Erica, and the Ericas that are sitting right next to you. They’re not looking for a husband right this second, and they’re sure as heck not looking for a savior. They’re looking for a kind conversation, a respectful follow-up, and a nice cup of ethically sourced, fair-trade coffee.

Take just one step. I assure you, Erica and others will start walking with you as soon as you do.

You’re a grown man,

Have a question? Good! Send an email to AskRELEVANT@relevantmediagroup.com. All identifying information will be kept anonymous.

Top Comments

Andrew Rudd


Andrew Rudd commented…

lol I ask girls out at church all the time... I also get rejected all the time. not all of us nice guys are afraid. Some times God just has other things in mind.

Diane Penna


Diane Penna commented…

"Maybe women should ask men out? Maybe we’re a mentorless/fatherless generation who has lost a bit of backbone because we haven’t been taught to properly handle failure? Maybe—probably." - Please don't make us pursue you. We want men who are brave enough to approach us. Take a chance, men. If things don't work out, obviously God has something greater in mind. And please consider us single mommies. The "widowed and orphaned" need love, too.


Koketso Makhele


Koketso Makhele commented…

I think when it comes to single Godly men, being patient wouldn't kill certain women out there,aybe men have a different respect toward Godly women, thinking of them more as Gods children then just women and the approach is that we do not approach unless I am really "inlove"....so we will admire the beuty and charcter but if I truely have no desire to marry then I would be doing more harm then good and when women ask men ou it tends to be awkward then men being rejected....we can handle that but there is also a fear that comes with the respect and that is the expectations of the church towards you, like being two good strong leaders in say the youth group and chior or something, there is an example that must be set and it adds pressure to being in the public eye and perfection is expected and that being a perfect relationship leading to a perfect marriag but the whole stigma around it needs to change and the church needs to be less judgemental and begin to aproach matters with love but I blame them not as I understand the brokeness of a church and that we are not perfect and though maybe the guy might be able to handle the pressures or the judgements if it does not work out then he may also worry about the girls feeling but your are right about men stepping up and I believe if he Loves you then he will persue you against all odds and if he is that kind of man then he will guard your heart and make sure no hurt comes your way and that the pressures from other people won't matter....so if maybe Erica was hoping for a certain guy in church be patient and wait not on him but on the Lord!

Gabe Hollis


Gabe Hollis commented…

Maybe this has already been covered somewhere, but could it be that the guys aren't attracted to any of the girls at the church they go to?

Courtney Marie Turner


Courtney Marie Turner commented…

Leave this to the feeling of being "offended", but I actually find that many people (men... and I'm sure men could say the same thing) in the church want a cookie cutter Christian girl. It's difficult for a girl like me who doesn't have any family who attends church and didn't grow up in an overtly Christian home to get people to show me any interest. I don't have the cookie cutter family, and it's somehow unattractive that I was able to pursue God on my own and lead a life contrary to my parents lives.

Steve Mizel


Steve Mizel commented…

MInor point, but what's up with the picture at the top of this article? Who brings a dozen apples, fresh fruit, silver platters, (and a freaking rope) on a casual first date? This kind of imagery only reinforces the artificial pressure toward Pinterest romanticism that undermines the kind of low-pressure casual authenticity you are arguing for - which, btw, is a needed and necessary correction to our high-pressure, high-stakes you-better-be-ready-to-marry-before-you-date Christian culture.

John Smith


John Smith commented…

Ha! I call BS! I'm a "real man" by all your measures, and it's awful! I worked my way up the corporate ladder, stayed faithful to my first wife, had 3 great kids, built a dream home, and am involved in church. I now have no friends other than work because my kids and I are held hostage by my angry hoarding wife. She threatens divorce whenever she doesn't get her way, and because she's a stay at home Mom, I'll get completely cleaned out by child support and alimony. I'd happily kill myself to get out of this, but I love my kids. All the hallmarks of being a "responsible" man become weapons against you in the hands of an angry wife. My advice to younger men is be generous, treat everyone with respect and never get married or move in with a woman. You think you'll beat the odds, but the house always wins, and you have to risk your entire life.

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