Where did you learn how to date?

As I think back on my childhood I can remember being bombarded with sex education in my school, by my parents, and from the pulpit.  But, for the life of me, I have no recollection of anyone ever sitting me down and teaching me anything about how to date.

If you’re like me, you had to figure out how to date all on your own. And, chances are, what little you learned you figured out from other people your age who were doing the same thing (you just thought they knew something you didn’t know). So, for most of us, dating became more like a science experiment gone horribly wrong that typically ended with several explosions, lots of broken things, and a big mess that took a long time to clean up.

I started actively dating when I was around 16 years old. After around 10 years of really messy science experiments I somehow managed to convince a girl that marrying me would be a good idea. Looking back on those 10 years I’m pretty sure that I could have found my wife without all of the collateral damage I managed to rack up during that time. My dating life was messy simply because I didn’t know what I was doing and it felt shameful to stop and ask someone, “Hey, how do you take a girl on a date?”

When I was a sophomore in college I swore that I would never date again. I would just go straight to engagement or be celibate – but I wouldn’t date.  Dating had become like a really predictable reality TV show. You keep watching it because nothing else is on, but you know exactly how the episode will end before the first commercial break. Half-way through the show you think to yourself, “Why am I watching this? I don’t even like this show!” You keep watching until the bitter end, though, wishing you had the last 45 minutes of your life back. For me, dating had become over-rated and unfulfilling; it didn’t seem like it was getting me any closer to why I was dating in the first place.

Dating doesn’t have to be this inevitably painful experience that we endure for 10 years until we ‘luck-out’ and stumble upon someone that wants to get married too. In fact, I think it could even be the opposite – even if the relationship winds up not working out. When you have a method for dating you’ll find yourself conducting science experiments in such a way that yields major discovery rather than messy explosions.

Dating well can even be foundational to the health of your marriage. The way in which you pursue your spouse will have much to say about how the course of your marriage relationship will go. The method of one’s pursuit will say volumes about the one pursuing as well as the one being pursued.

After almost nine years of marriage, I still have never had someone teach me how to date. What I have to offer you over the next series of blog posts isn’t a method that I used when I was a bachelor. It’s a method developed out of failures, regrets, and missed opportunities. As a grown man, husband, and father – it’s the way that I wish I would have dated.

My method is just a method. It’s not the method; it’s a method. There are lots of other methods for dating out there. You decide which one to use. I hope this one helps you as you pursue the one you hope to be in love with for the rest of your life. We’ll start by talking about attraction in chapter 1.1.


So, what’s the dating method you currently use?  Where did you learn it? What does it say about you?  What does it say about the person you are interested in?