Men, God gave Adam the simple task to protect and cultivate the garden of Eden, to shamar. In that same way, we are called to shamar in our own lives. We fail to do this so many times because the world we live in has a very misguided idea of what it means to be a man, in particular in the area of dating.
Living out in East Texas, one of my favorite pastimes is dancing. I think there are several lessons men can learn from the dance floor that can be easily translated to dating.
Leading. On the dance floor, the men are the leaders. It is our job to make sure our dance partner doesn't bump into anyone and to gracefully lead her around the floor. How many of you have tried to learn how to dance from a woman? It usually doesn't work! Why is this? No, its not because women don't know how to dance or women make bad leaders. But rather, we have different roles on the dance floor. The steps are mirrored! Sounds easy enough to know both sides, but it takes leaders to show others how to lead and it takes followers to show other how to follow.
So, men, if we don't know how to dance we must learn from a man how to lead.
Yes, a woman can show us the basic step, but to understand the subtleties and intricacies of leading on the dance floor it must be from someone who knows them themselves.
In this same way, if we don't know how to be manly men, and society's view of what it means to be a man is backwards, how can we learn to be a man of God and pursue good and holy relationships? Through fellowship with other men. There are good, holy, men all around us in our churches and communities. We must learn from the good examples around us on how to be men and pass those along to our brothers in Christ. It is very hard to learn how to be a man of God from those who aren't men of God themselves. Because of this, men we can't learn what it means to be men of God from women. They can give us the desire to be better men, but without the knowledge of what it means to be a man it is misguided.
Also, ladies we can't teach you to be women of Christ - because of that all I will say is to grow in fellowship with other women to know what that means.
Another lesson on the dance floor - be bold but not bossy. I'm as guilty of this as anybody, but men do not be afraid of rejection. In dating or dancing, it is important to have confidence in what you're doing. No one is "out of your league." Even if you get rejected, you've taken a huge step out of your comfort zone and you've flattered her in asking her to dance.
Ladies, too often I've heard the complaint that "there aren't enough guys that ask me to dance." Remember, you are God's crowning jewel of creation. Bluntly, step away from the table with your 4 friends. Show gentleman you want to dance without being desperate. Be creative! Stand by the dance floor swinging with the music. Strike up a conversation in line for drinks. Make eye contact from across the room. Smile. But do something!
Now the third lesson from the dance floor. Don't take it too seriously! Its fun! You're going to mess up. A dance is just that.. a dance. It doesn't mean that as soon as you say yes to a dance you have to go on a date and start a relationship and family and STOP! It lasts 4 minutes. You meet the person. Have a small conversation. Spin around a little. Its over. What happens next is a complete toss up. You may never talk again. You might decide to exchange phone numbers. No commitment has been made. Similarly, a date doesn't automatically mean a relationship. A date could just be going to get ice cream or the cliche coffee date. Especially the first date is just to get to know the person better.
On that same line make your intentions clear. On the dance floor give the proper signals to show a spin or change in direction. In that same way, be clear about whether or not you want to continue going on dates or to just be friends.
So, build relationships with other strong men and women of God to learn and fully understand what it means. Men, be bold but not bossy when asking women to dance or on a date. Women, show guys your interested without throwing yourself at him. And lastly, make sure its fun! Dancing and dating are supposed to be fun activities to meet people and to learn more about each other. Remember, its just a dance!
David Jarzynka is a sophomore Computer Science major at Stephen F. Austin State University. Between his active membership in the Knights of Columbus, leading a Bible Study, and serving on the Leadership Team at St. Mary's, David is quite busy. But he still finds time to dance!