Sometimes I like to reflect on my younger years. It’s amazing to just sit and think about how different things were in the past. Life just flies by and everything changes so quickly. I’m quite different than I was a year ago, but extend that back five years ago and it’s just mind boggling. I’m not the same person. So much has changed. Do you feel the same way?
One of the areas that I could have definitely improved upon in my younger years was learning to lead as the man in a relationship. I just didn’t get it and I failed miserably. I can freely admit it now, and somehow I still ended up with a beautiful wife, but I have much to say on the topic to other young men and/or my future son(s).
It’s really difficult in our culture to grow into a man at a young age. By young, I mean roughly the high school and early college years, which would (and rightly so) still be considered late by many cultures of the world. In fact, it appears to me that our culture actually discourages most early attempts at manhood.
Childish behaviors are the headline for every major media outlet in America. The more pathetic, the more attention received. From inappropriate behaviors, to obscene and explicit relationships, to divorce and suicide, the media loves to focus on all the pathetic attempts at love and life.
What results is a skewed image of what should be a sacred union. Relationships and marriages are made out to be a joke.
But make no mistake, relationships are no joke. They aren’t to be played with and careless tossed around. They are to be revered and treasured. They shouldn’t be about temporary gratification, or boosting publicity, they should be about commitment, devotion, and service.
Add to this problem a general lack of parenting and the careless mindset on the topic of dating. What results is a serious mess of a problem. Young men and women run around acting like mindless animals looking to mate, with no regard to respect or dignity or compassion or selflessness. And they think that’s love.
Rant aside, this article isn’t about my disdain for popular media or bad parenting. I want to focus on a few old fashioned date ideas that should help those single readers become a better dater, and just possibly a better person.
1. Directly Ask Someone Out
When did it become popular to ask someone to “hang out”? I don’t know when, or how, but I was notorious for spewing that nonsense!
What the heck does that even mean? Just be straightforward. Ask someone out on a date if you’re interested in a romantic relationship of any kind. Learn how to communicate clearly and honestly. You’ll be forced to do so for the rest of your life, so why not start with a date?
2. Dress Up for a Date
As I’ve gotten older and better trained by my wife, I’ve realized that women generally like to get dressed up for dates or unique occasions. It makes them feel special and important. I think the same holds true for some men, to some degree. And if you don’t know the person very well, appearance can be very important. Looking nice and getting dressed up says that you care.
3. Walk to the Door
If you are going to pick someone up, don’t text them to say ” I’m here.” Get off your butt and walk to the door. Smile and earn 1,000 bonus points. If her(his) parents or roommates are home, make it 10,000 just for walking and knocking. If you can intelligently carry on a conversation with her dad, you’ve just won the lottery.
4. Offer a Small Gift
I’m frugal and don’t find any utility in smelling flowers, so the thought of buying flowers on a frequent basis makes me feel nauseous. However, that doesn’t mean that most women feel the same way. Flowers can be really thoughtful and show that you care. If not flowers, make the other person something small or meaningful. Even if it’s silly, it shows you care.
My favorite tactic here is to be selective when you purchase gifts. When I was dating my wife, I bought all the women in her family a really nice Poinsettia in a pot. They loved that to no end. What they didn’t know until now is, they were marked down from $6 to $1 each. Boom!
5. Avoid the Cesspools
For the love of all that is good in this world, do not ever take a date to a local club. Nothing screams “I’m a mindless ape” like grinding away on complete strangers (or a date) to the beat of dirty rap songs. Nothing good can come from that. No meaningful conversations, no admiration, no respect.
If you want to dance, go dance. But do it in a respectful manner where you can show them your worst moves on the dance floor. The lawnmower is a personal favorite of mine, so feel free to give it a try. Be comfortable with the other person laughing at you. That’s how to break the ice.
I’d avoid bars as well. Learn how to communicate without alcohol in your system. I know it’s tough when you’re young, but you’re building some of the most important communication skills that can be had in life. You’ll have to honestly sell yourself and your ideas throughout the rest of your life, so get started.
6. Be Thoughtful and Creative
Plan out dates that will be fun for the other person. Put them first.
Don’t just go to the local movie theater for a date. You can’t even speak to the other person.
Look for creative ideas like a picnic at the park or a walk through the local nature center. Get out and about where you can talk and laugh and figure out if they’re worth a second, or third, or tenth date.
7. Get Off Your Freaking iPhone
Sometimes Mrs. Cash Cow and I are amazed at other couples. We see many who dine out or go on a date only to sit silently on their stupid smart phone. Did you get that, stupid smart phone. Haha
We both have flip phones, so the worst we can do is text someone during a date. I’ve been known to do that, which gets me in trouble. And rightfully so!
Why bother going? Are you that bored with the other person? How miserable. If you ever find the other individual doing this on a date, mention it once, then run away if it continues!
8. Ask to be Exclusive
Just like point number one, this one involves bad communication. How many people have had the awkward boyfriend/girlfriend talk after a few weeks (or months) of dating? Yes, all of you.
Why do we torture ourselves? Why not just ask if the person wants to date exclusively? In one open and outright question, the relationship either dies or thrives. If you’re smart, you’ll find a creative way to ask. That’s sure to boost your chances of success.
9. Ask Questions
What happened to the art of asking the other person their preferences? What do you enjoy doing? How are you doing today? Do you want to talk about this issue? What time can I call you? Do you prefer texting or calling? How do you communicate? What is your love language(s)? What are your views on this topic? **Are you frugal?**
This list could continue forever. Unfortunately, most of us just assume that the other person is like us. Same ideas, same preferences, same goals. That’s completely wrong. People are different and you should respect that.
Most importantly, asking questions will provide you with the answers needed to decide if you and the other person are a good match. Do you share goals, ideas, dreams. Do you have viewpoints that would be difficult to reconcile? These are all things you need to know before getting married.
10. Search for a Compatible Spouse
Whatever happened to courting someone of the opposite sex? When did the focus shift from finding a meaningful and lasting relationship to a fly by night fling that’s over before it began? I’d say that this shift in focus is the root cause of so many relational problems seen today.
The idea of dating for sex is ingrained in the heads of most people because of the media. This problem is then exacerbated by peer groups. It’s a vicious cycle that grows stronger because of action and influence. Kids and teens see it on TV, they see their friends doing it, they see parents doing it, they’re told it’s only natural, and so it spreads.
What a joke. Casual, promiscuous dating has huge implications. It destroys trust and leaves scars. It destroys a huge component of marriage and leaves little reason to wed. Why buy the cow if the milk is always free?
The research is clear in this regard. Those who hold marriage in high esteem tend to date for a spouse. They tend to be intentional and place a high value on sex and it’s place in marriage. This leads to lasting and trust filled marriages that tend to better withstand the sands of time.
And marriage is very much a good thing. Married couples live longer, accumulate more wealth, and are generally happier people.
You should date someone for many reasons, but instant gratification and sex is not one of them. Save that for marriage.
These opinions are mine and mine alone, feel free to share yours with a comment below.