Are you freaked out by the idea of dating an SCD—you know, a Super-Christian Dude? Have you avoided men with online profiles touting their “love of the Lord”? Are you allergic to bros in WWJD bracelets? Good. Well, at least on that last point, anyway.
If it sounds like I have it out for Christian dudes, well, I should tell you—I am one. But still, I find myself wary of guys (and gals) who are, you know, too Christian. And I’m not alone.
I have been rejected on more than one occasion by a woman who considered me to be “too Christian” for her taste, and while I won't pretend to be able to speak for these women, I do wonder how much their decisions were informed by my reality as opposed to their preconceived notions.
I’m convinced that both men and women tend to approach relationships with a set of assumptions about potential partners, and I think religion is one trait that is too often judged based upon fiction rather than fact. Speaking for myself and all the other SCDs who never stood a chance in this modern dating labyrinth, I think we deserve a shot. Why? You may just be thinking about us all wrong.
Myth #1: The Bible makes all Christian guys jerks.
Christianity is the largest religion in the world, claiming 2.2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people, as of last year. That number includes everything from Roman Catholics and Russian Orthodox to Southern Baptists and Evangelical Lutherans. In other words, we’re talking about a wide range of human beings, and it would be silly to group them together into a box labeled “Undatable.”
I’ve met several women who had a particularly damaging relationship with a Christian guy and have, therefore, sworn off all Christian guys. But when they told me what exactly transpired, it turned out that for one woman, her boyfriend was manipulative and had used Christianity as a way to control her. Another woman complained that her ex wouldn’t consider any other opinions as being valid, including hers. Those are serious issues, of course, and I commend them for exiting those relationships. But not all SDCs are holier than thou. And likely their controlling and arrogant behavior would exist whether they were believers or not.
Fr. Emmerich Vogt, author of a talk series called Detaching with Love and advocate of twelve-step programs for healing, says often people try to justify their own issues using the Bible: "If a person has a control issue, then his mode of operating will attract him to all those verses of Scripture that support his need to control, in this instance, ‘Wives be submissive.’ Other verses, such as ‘Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25) would not stand out for him," Vogt explains. Like in the case of my friend. That guy likely chose to justify his behavior by clinging to certain Bible verses. But that's just some people.
Are there Christians who have a naive, simple-minded view of the world and can’t seem to think for themselves? Absolutely. But there are also Christian Nobel Laureates and Supreme Court Justices. Are there overbearing misogynists who seem to believe that Jesus wanted them to control their wives? Unfortunately, yes. But there are also plenty of Christian men who have learned by their Christian faith that both men and women have an inherent dignity and that women present unique gifts to the world where men lack. Some Christians have lousy jobs and some quarterback Super Bowl teams.
There are plenty of rotten human beings who call themselves Christians and plenty more who don’t. I wouldn’t recommend dating either.
Myth #2: Christian guys are boring (and unattractive).
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a woman come right out and make judgments about the attractiveness of guys serious about their Christian faith, but it’s certainly been implied. Every once and a while I’ll hear a woman say she'd never date a Christian. In turn, I’ll say to them, “So if Tim Tebow or Russell Wilson walked up to you right now and asked you out on a date, you would reject them flat-out because of their Christian faith?” The answer is always, "Of course not."
In other words, if he were a millionaire, magazine-cover-worthy, pro football player, then, yeah, she would totally date him, and the Christian thing wouldn’t really be that big of a deal.
It seems to me that women who write off Christian guys as squares are making an illogical jump from “I’ve never met a Christian I’d want to date” to “I’d never date a Christian man.” Could you say the same about all Italian men if you dated a few Italian guys who bored you? All they really seem to mean is, “I’d never date any of the Christian men I’ve already met.” Which, of course, should have little to no bearing on future guys they meet.
Myth #3: If you marry a Christian guy, kiss a fulfilling sex life goodbye.
It’s no secret that Christianity preaches that sex should be reserved for marriage alone, and that most of the rest of the population begs to differ. In my experience, the sex issue is by far the most difficult hurdle for non-Christian women when they consider whether they’d date a Christian.
Four years ago I moved in with a buddy of mine. He owned the space and requested a “no women overnight” rule. I was happy to oblige. What I didn’t expect, however, was how that little rule would result in more than one woman deciding she didn't want to see me anymore.
To be sure, if your experience of dating has always included sexual intimacy, then the idea of dating someone without sex might seem like a rather abrupt undertaking. But dating a guy who wants to hold off on sex has some serious benefits.
As Julie put it, “Going from having sex to suddenly not having sex wreaks havoc on your libido,” which she learned from experience. Once upon a time, her new boyfriend informed her that sex wasn’t going to be in the picture for him until marriage. She wasn’t pleased to the point that she considered dumping him. What changed her mind? She was struck by the fact that her man didn’t put his own sexual gratification above all else, like other guys did. He valued other things more, namely his girlfriend and his faith, and that impressed her. She stuck with it, and eventually they got married.
I’ve also encountered women who think waiting till marriage is too much of a wild card. How can you be sure of your sexually compatibility without testing the waters? While it's certainly possible that your marital bed could be bad, I’m not sure it’s any more likely than the possibility of eventually getting bored by your spouse or find that you are no longer fulfilled like you used to be. Moreover, there’s evidence to suggest that waiting until marriage actually increases sexual fulfillment in marriage, and that fewer sexual partners before marriage leads to happier marriages, particularly for women.
Waiting until marriage takes work. But here’s the thing: Relationships take work. And, frankly, there’s something about delaying sexual intimacy that means you have to invest in other parts of the relationship. Because, after all, what else are you going to do?
I'm all in favor of giving somebody a chance, regardless of faith or background, to win you over on their own terms. Go into things with an open mind and take it one step (i.e., one date) at a time. If nothing else, you can say you gave it a chance and you might just broaden your horizons on who you might see as a potential fit.
The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of different types of Christians, and we would do well not to paint them all with the same brush and write them off completely, whether they look like Tim Tebow or not.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Wells Photography