Thoughts and Questions on Writing Great Love Stories

The last few days I joined what seems like the rest of the internet spellbound as I read the following two posts by Donald Miller. And even more so by the comments that ensued.

 How to Write a Great Love Story – For the Girls

How to Write a Great Love Story – For the Boys

Things you should know before you read any further:

1. I have much respect for Donald Miller. I absolutely loved Blue Like Jazz. And think A Million Miles in a Thousand Years might be one of the most definitive books I have ever read. It changed the way I think. More accurately, it changed the way
I live.

2. I understand that I, and maybe others, have, and will continue to, use our blogs as a safe space for us our thoughts out there. And sometimes Tom, Dick, and Harry will read said blogs and become enraged by how we are trying to redefine Truth when what we were really trying to do is provoke candid honest dialogue, clarify our thoughts on a particular subject or drive traffic.

3. I truly appreciate the thoughtful conversations that Donald Miller provoked both online and off by opening this proverbial can of worms.

4. I think Don spoke a lot of truth. Come on, girls, we shouldn’t be slutty. We do need to have some self-respect. We do need to have some faith. And men, we are begging for you to be someone worth waiting for, we want you to demand more from us than a one night stand, and we would love nothing more than to see you get off your couch and start living a story that we are proud to be a part of.

5. I am no expert on dating or great love stories. I am, in fact, somewhat of an expert on being single {although that is not anything I would ever want to be remembered for}.

Okay now for my thoughts, or really, my questions.

What is the role of a woman in a great love story really? Surely all the single woman are not supposed to stay home eating Bon Bons, praying, crying, and wearing matchy-matchy flannel pajamas?

Why is so much attention put on a woman’s seductive ways? Yes, Eve caused the fall in the garden but didn’t the same story teach us that Adam should have taken responsibility for his own bad choices?

Can single women be close friends with single guys? I know. We’ve covered this one. But can they?  It never seems to work for me. Well, it always starts out nice and then at some point it takes a turn for the crazy. One thing leads to another, feelings develop, and instead of the creation of healthy boundaries, my “crush” {aptly named} begins to validate himself by my unrequited attention and admiration. Or maybe that is just me? Maybe the rest of you have navigated this better?

Should a women ever initiate a relationship with a person of the opposite sex? Or is that just too bold? Is that the work of a temptress? When is the right time for faith in waiting? And when is the right time for faith in action?

How do you put yourself “out there” so guys want to date you? How much of my time should I spend focusing on my singleness and how much of my time should I focus on living my own great story? Shouldn’t I just concentrate on being the best version of myself, on closing the gap between who I am and who I am created to be, and the “right person” {if that exists} will find me attractive?

I would love to hear what you think. As always please keep it civil {or your comment won’t stick around.}

And I will leave you with this bit of Truth that Paul shared with the Corinthians. It has provided comfort and direction for me in this time of singleness.

 32-35I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions. 1 Corinthians (The Message)

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • S_seibel

    I am very confused about the woman’s role. I work in a profession with all woman(teacher) go to church and mostly have girlfriends. How am I suppose to meet anyguys? I get mixed messages on what I am suppose to do…join online dating, hang out at places where guys will be, or just not worry about it and let the guys come to me? I know it is in God’s hands, but I still feel mixed up!

  • S_seibel

    I am very confused about the woman’s role. I work in a profession with all woman(teacher) go to church and mostly have girlfriends. How am I suppose to meet anyguys? I get mixed messages on what I am suppose to do…join online dating, hang out at places where guys will be, or just not worry about it and let the guys come to me? I know it is in God’s hands, but I still feel mixed up!

    • Photog5

      I’ll heed what others have already said about the double standard, but in truth feel DM’s posts were more geared as an encouragement to women and calling men out.  Seibel’s comment reminds me of something my dad once observed, that within the Christian community he sees more mature Christian woman than men.  To that end, I’d say DM’s comments resonate with the tones of Wild at Heart (which someone I’m sure will again call misogynist), beckoning men to step up to the plate as men of integrity.  

      A problem that has been observed however, is a common underlying myth that the height of Christian living is to be married.  I’d say Paul has my back in saying marriage is secondary to God’s calling, but the built anticipation often makes it impossible for two people to become acquainted without people speculating.  I realize this could be considered situational but this blog post reveals the spread of such concerns.  Reduce the stress of marriage and I think you’d see more casual friendships develop in which dating wouldn’t be such a big step or challenge.

    • you are not alone in this…all my single girl friends are asking the same questions. wish i had better answers.

  • I don’t know.  Yeah.  I think that about covers it…

  • I don’t know.  Yeah.  I think that about covers it…

  • Thanks for this post.  Really well written.  (not spamming)  HA.  I think in today’s culture, its so sex induced that girls unknowingly/unwittingly play into this culture that says girls should be one way and guys should go after these girls as conquests.   Guys are still 100% responsible for their decisions and actions.  But I think of it as a buoy or an anchor.  It is easy to swim when you are grabbing onto flotation devices to ease our swims, rather than grabbing onto anchors that will pull us down.  This goes for both genders.  The bible also says to remove stumbling blocks from the path of others so they don’t fall.  So if one knows another stumbling block, we should work to avoid that around that person.  For instance, if someone is in AA, I won’t meet them anywhere alcohol is served to help him from being asked about it.  Not that he’s not responsible for his actions, but I can help make his life easier. 

    I don’t think its wrong for a girl to ask a guy out.  I think there is a difference between asking/courting, and throwing something on to “catch him” and throwing yourself at him…

    I blog about helping youth ministers and youth in dark places in their lives.  I call it engaging the shadows of youth ministry.  I occassionally tackle topics like this one.  It is a real tough one. 

    http://www.engagingtheshadowsofyouthministry.com

  • I could copy your “disclaimers” verbatim. Ditto and ditto. So here is my POV:

    I think the thing that drove me craziest about the posts (and they drove me very, very crazy) was the double standard thing. The truth is that all of us – men and women – need to realise that biblical womanhood or biblical manhood isn’t that different than biblical *personhood*. The rules are the same for us both and the posts were lazy stereotypes at best, misogynistic, hurtful and judgemental at worst.
    Plus, I’d be much more interested in reading about a great love story from a couple that is currently living one out over the long term. But that’s just me, perhaps.

  • @LaureeAshcom

    lawdy, lawdy…. i think women have to decide if it is more important to be who you really are and possibly be single or if they can recognize that most men a somewhat fishlike and require a lure…. it is a simplified version but is still true. i am not sure what the answer is….

    • fascinating…i would love to hear more of your thoughts. 

  • I loved both of Donald’s post, but I nor my husband did it the “right” way so I always read stuff like that knowing, I didn’t do it right BUT we have been married for 17 years and we love each other more today then we did the day we married. So, it’s all good advice, but Donald isn’t married yet, so he isn’t any more of an expert then you. I think he will look back one day, after years of marriage, when he has kids of his own, and he will probably think some of the things he wrote are silly, and that’s what we all do. I’m glad he has a blog and a platform to say what he thinks, even if the thinking may change.

  • Glad to hear your POV on Donald’s posts, and the kind way you framed it as well.  I think I learned more reading your post about how to argue well, then about the issue itself, which I mean in a good way.  I know there may seem to be some double standard going on, but a man can only write about this tricky subject from his own point of view, and sometimes the things Donald Miller said are just simply how it appears to be from a man’s perspective. 

  • Emily

    I’ve read all these posts today…coming in a little late in the game.  I saw some of the violent reactions, and I can appreciate everyone’s point of view.  However, there was one glaring omission that I’ve seen from what everyone seems to be saying–GOD creates our love story–we don’t write it or create it or act a certain way to get a certain kind of ‘love story’.   There is so much emphasis in these articles on what people should be doing, not doing, but GOD is the great story teller, and he will work all these things out for us.  He will guide our path.  Now, whether or not we like his timing–that’s a different story–but there is not a formula.  As a newlywed who got married at 33, I am reminded of this every day.  God wrote our love story, and will continue to do so–and it will be unique.  We must look to God alone–but yes, waiting sucks. 🙂 

    • He certainly does. He guides our paths. But yet we are the ones taking the steps. And I have definitely chosen my way and stepped off a cliff or two. 

    • Love this perspective Emily…and I’m in a similar boat – newly married at 41. I didn’t write my love story (as much as I wanted to), God did. And thank goodness. The story I was writing stunk! 

      I do think God writing the love story is the foundation of what Donald Miller’s believes. Or at least from what I’ve read of him, that seems to be where he’s coming from. I took what he wrote as help for those who can’t see the forest for the trees in their own sinful desires. While I don’t agree with every word, I liked what he had to say.

  • I’ll be interested to hear what others think.  I thought Don had some definite valid points but I didn’t feel I fit into his categories.  I’m not slutty, I don’t cry into my pillow every night, nor do I spend weekends alone pining over that perfect someone.  Yes, there are days that being single is hard but I’m more focused on making the most of this time in my life.  I hope that by patiently waiting, eventually the right guy will take notice.  My most pressing “concern” right now is figuring out the fine line between encouraging a guy that I’m interested and taking charge.

  • I think you have opened up a wonderful area for you to “research” (because you ask compelling questions), and then consider writing strictly on this topic! What a gifted view you have Lindsey!

  • woops double post

  • Honestly, I haven’t been following the posts from Donald Miller too
    much, although I have read a little. I think it can become a little too
    formulaic when it comes to sometime of love equation for  dating/
    marrying someone. In fact, I think everyone has their own formula for
    dating someone/ marrying someone. I don’t think the man or the women has
    to have it all together, but they can grow together into love. Dating,
    is a relatively new phenomenon  in the western world, and before there
    was arrange marriages which wasn’t about marrying for love, it was
    social status, for economic ties. Yet, divorce rates have been far less
    in those cultures, because people realize that marriage is not only
    about love. The spouses are held accountable by their families and they
    grow to love one another.

    In response to gender roles, i think they are different for every time,
    and place. They are always shaped by culture, and I think the gap is
    closing between men and women.

    • Yeah, I’m still not sure if closing the gender gap is a good thing 🙂

  • love hearing your perspective and questions! i totally am with you on that guy/girl thing…i’m trying to learn how to even just be friends let alone close friends and i’m just not that good at it right now.  the focus question always gets me too…because i’m like uh i want to married, but i don’t want to focus so much that i lose focus on living out a great story myself.  that verse always half haunts me because i’m like okay i get that…but then why do i have this desire…like sure god take it away and i know i can see it as an area where it draws me closer to God, but still. hard. 

    and in regards to the article to men. i so appreciated how he reminded them that they can live out great stories. i’ve recently come in contact with some who are just content with a mediocre life and i’m like um no wake up why wouldn’t you want to change the world. 

    personally, i kind of liked how he reminded the ladies that it’s okay to be lonely and that we can be willing to “suffer” in this and that’s okay. like it doesn’t always have to look like oh happy go lucky i’m single and i love it but rather it can be what it is kind of thing. oddly freeing =)

  • Nice response, Lindsey.  And yes, Donald Miller said a lot of very good things.

     I have been married a long time now, though I didn’t marry until my 30’s.  And he was definitely worth waiting for.
    But I would like to interject a maybe startling thought:  The purpose of life is not to get married.  Yes, most of us will marry; it is part of God’s usual plan; it can be wonderful and satisfying…But it is not the purpose of life.  Knowing and worshiping and following and loving God is the purpose.  Therefore He should be the focus.  Out of that being crazy in love with Him, I become who He created me to be, I discover and begin to live out the good works He already has prepared for me.  And as I am becoming and doing, I will hopefully be the right person for when “he” comes into my life.  My being the right person goes a long way toward my attracting the right kind of person.

    And I totally believe a woman can take some initiative.  I doubt we would be married if I hadn’t.

  • Great Post Lindsey!! I just read Donald Miller’s posts this evening. I didn’t get a chance to read the comments. From what I read, I liked the concept of the posts. If you find the answer to your questions, pass them on…

    I do believe that  we, as women, are worth the pursuit…something that has taken years to realize and something that I am trying to instill in my nieces that are just heading into the teenage years. It is amazing to talk to them and hear about what type of pressures they already have at such a young age…..

    Susie A.

  • Stephaniesikorski.blogger.com

    I’m pretty sure Don writes from his experience, his perspective, his perceptions. And that’s great! Don’t we all? But that’s important to remember as you read his blogs. He doesn’t know me. Or my friends. Or what we are like.
    So when we read his thoughts we must remember he writes in generalities of his experience. His advice is not the end all advice to single women or men.
    It’s his advice and commentary on how he’s seen singleness.
    His blog will resound with some.
    Of course it will be unbeneficial to others!
    Let it encourage you or let it fall by the wayside.
    If Millers blogs on Love Story provokes you to anger … well, I suugest tou do as I try when I feel strongly about a word … I examine myself and ask why did I respond so strongly? I usually find good, life evolving answers when I take the time to evaluate myself in light of the provocations. Good blog Lindsey! Thanks M Hyatt for tweeting it!

  • I think those questions are all fair.  The great part about story making; story living is that it is subjective.  Donald’s experiences have taught him what he feels are important elements to his writing of a love story.  I also think that writing a great love story is the undercurrent of 1 Corinthians 13.  Love should be what binds our story, not just fill some of the pages.  And with regards to writing a romantic love story, a section or chapter should suffice within the framework of the story we are telling.  A ‘million miles’ echoes that sentiment.  Ultimately, I think some initial thoughts from Miller help confused singles try to navigate the waters.  There is as much confusion in this arena as any; evidenced by the fact that his blog crashed.  Somewhere we have mixed Hollywood with Proverbs 31; signaling that singleness is more like a disease than anything else.  The church doesn’t do any of the same people any favors.  Being single myself, I am clearly no expert, but I’d like to think that ‘closing the gap’ as you have termed and finding someone are by no means mutually exclusive.  It seems the only thing we all might be able to agree on is that it is ultimately up to us to go out and live whatever love story it is in fact we wish to tell.

  • A lot of single women, including myself, can relate to how you are feeling. I don’t think he really meant that we basically don’t have any role in a great love story. We shouldn’t sit around and dwell on the loneliness that happens when you are single. In all reality, if you have a relationship with Christ then you are in the middle of the greatest love story! 🙂 It takes my breath away just thinking about the unimaginable love that He has for us. Our role is to just let go and trust in that He will bring you an amazing Godly man into your life in His time. I think that us as women get the feeling that we don’t have a role is because we can be some of the biggest control freaks on the planet. So with all of that said…our role is to fix our eyes and hearts on Christ and grow in our relationship with Him and place your trust in him. You should rejoice in this time of singleness! 

    I am a professional single woman as well, I have never been in a relationship actually. Now I didn’t see the beauty of this until my first year of college. It’s a wonderful time that you get to discover who you are without having to worry about how it affects another person, and you can serve God in ways that you can only do as a single person. I have talked to high school girls and fellow college students as well about this. The big idea about dating is that it is “necessary” in order to know what you are looking for in a husband, I beg to differ. I think that once you have firm grasp on who you are what things are important to you then you are going to automatically know that you want someone that shares those same values and passions. 

    It’s a little tricky when it comes to opposite sex friends. Majority of my close guy friends are guys that I have known since we were in diapers or at least since we were elementary school. I guess seeing each other throughout all of the awkward growing pains kind of kills the whole “lets be more than friends” idea. The issues that I have faced with guy friends is that feelings develop usually if you spend too much time alone or have been way to vulnerable with them. And as always, in those situations it usually ends up blowing up in my face. The closest thing to successful friendships that are with the opposite sex are ones that we only see each other in group situations. 

    I don’t think anyone, guys or girls, should put themselves “out there.” Again just focus on being the best single person you can be and when the time comes that the Lord wants to bring that person in your life, then it will be like an epiphany just happened. I’ve known a good number of couples that have started out this way…and most of them are now happily married and the rest are in amazing relationships where they are still awesome individuals and then working as a team makes their awesomeness multiply like crazy. 

    In my opinion the whole initiation thing should be on the guys end when it comes to a possible romantic relationship. Every single “almost relationship” I have had was initiated by me, and would epically fail because it was just way too easy for the guy in the first place so they aren’t going to want to step up to the plate and be the man that they are supposed to be…plus I hear that getting wooed by a man is really fun. Your great love story will happen, it’s just a matter of God’s timing. And your great love story will be more than you could have ever imagined on your own. 

    God bless,
    Rebecca (twitter rjm21024)

  • Katie W.

    Thanks for sharing another point of view!  I think that whether you feel as though the blog posts were offensive, stereotypical, profound or created a double standard, it’s more important to focus on the love story you as an individual share with Christ.  Are we all meant to be married?  No, I don’t believe so.  There are some incredible guys and girls out there living love stories with their Savior that blow some “marriage love stories” out of the water.  I don’t think the point is to do “xyz” in order to get a spouse…shouldn’t it be  let’s do “xyz and more” to create a love story that’s glorifying to the Lord.

  •  I am not a normal reader of your blog, just came because Don’s tweet sent me here. I also had NOT read his posts until just before reading yours (thanks for the up-front links!)

    So, here’s my take on your questions:1) A woman’s role in a great love story is the same as a man’s. You make yourself all you can be, you strive to be worthy of the person you want to be in a marriage with. This means, among other things, knowing how to deal with people socially with trying to “hook up”.  You simply cannot enter a room of strangers and start trying to find “that guy”. Rather, enter that room (yes!) with the idea that you’re looking for worthy people to be friends with, people to be uplifted by, people that you can uplift. One of those people may be be someone you might date…or not (in this particular room)  but you might meet them _through_ these connections.  More importantly, you will learn how to be more ready for that person.

    2) Yes, for a time. Eventually, however, the male (in my experience) will fall into the trap of thinking, “am I missing something, is she wanting more”.  Sad thing is that this is usually what happens to the _good guys_, because they care about what you want and need. So if it’s not supposed to be a one-on-one relationship, don’t let that happen. It’ll ruin things and replace comfort with awkward. Rather, try to keep it group-related.

    3) Absolutely. There’s NO DOUBT about that point. Just know before you start that this is a potential mate, NOT a hook up. Treat it like you would someone else’s most precious keepsake… because one day they may be YOUR keepsake… or someone else’s. It would be a shame to break it finding out whose…

    4) You get out there by keeping good company. You don’t go fishing alone, you don’t bait people with sexy lures… you go out with people you would love to swap stories in your 80s with about “the old says”. You go do things you would be proud to tell your grandkids about, because ultimately, they’re you biggest critics 🙂

    My closing thought is a borrowed one… don’t go looking for “the one”… you should already be focused on “The One”, and you should be secure in your faith about God long before you enter into the quest for “the two”.  If that ever is out of whack, things will break down… relationships are doomed on this corrupt world unless we BATTLE HARD against the temptations that instant gratification lures us into.  If you remember that _even Jesus_ was tempted, and even he had to bow his head and say, “but not my will, but Yours be done.”  That’s where it begins, when we stop making it about OUR will. 

  • Lindsey,

    It’s funny, my roommates and I were chattin about this last night – we SO want to figure it all out, don’t we?!?  We want it to be a formula that we can grade ourselves on.  Our well-meaning friends tell us it’s when we get out there, when we stop looking (even though they were online dating), when we get content, when we embrace singleness, get healthy….on and on.  I’ve heard stories of women who stayed home every day and never went out that met their husband at the doorstep (literally) and women that are getting out there, are super fit, and seemingly content and on fire for the Lord that are still single. Conclusion: I’m not gonna figure it out. I’m have to trust God. Lean in and shelter in the truth that he is FOR me.

    Read this in “Little Women” (of all places) recently, and thought it was timely:
    “To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman; and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience.  It is natural to think of it, Meg; right to hope and wait for it, and wise to prepare for it, so that, when the happy time comes, you may feel ready for the duties, and worthy of the joy…’Poor girls don’t stand any chance, Belle says, unless they put themselves forward,’ sighed Meg. ‘Then we’ll be old maids,’ said Jo, stoutly. ‘Right, Jo; better be happy old maids than unhappy wives, or unmaidenly girls running about to find husbands,’ said Mrs. March decidedly. ‘Don’t be troubled, Meg; poverty seldom daunts a sincere lover. Some of the best and most honored women I know were poor girls, but so love-worthy that they were not allowed to be old maids.  Leave these things to time; make this home happy, so that you may be fit for homes of your own, if they are offered you, and contented here if they are not.”

    • Love Little Women. Thanks for sharing the quote. You know I had forgotten how much I identified with Jo while reading that, even as a little girl. 

  • Travis

    I read both of the posts and found Don’s blog on women to be a little harsh.  I should probably go back and read them before commenting on them.

    As for your questions from a single guy’s perspective who is (hopefully) at the beginning of a relationship:

    I’ve always wanted someone I could be a friends with way before we actually dated.  Also, I wanted a girl who has a sense of the importance of community.  I’ve seen my parent’s marriage last 30 years in part due to a strong community supporting them. Through toddlers, to teenagers, through cancer, and grand kids, community was key.  If a girl can’t invest herself in a community, then I can’t see a reason to ask her out. 

    I’ve never had a hard time being friends with girls.  Maybe it has something to do with having 2 older sisters.  Maybe it’s my personality, but I’ve always had a lot of friend of both sexes.  I think it takes focus, common sense, and endurance.  Know the kind of person you want to date/marry. Be aware of any potential crushes and be prepared to distance or act in a way that courteously shows you’re aren’t interested. And just wait it out. Most crushes fade if you can avoid letting the attention feed your ego (easier said then done).

    I would love it for a woman to be up front with me.  I wouldn’t feel like she is trying to steal my “God given authority”.  A man is supposed to love his wife as Christ loves the church, right?  That means sacrifice, not being the only one allowed to initiate a coffee date.  Maybe few guys feel that way, but I kinda doubt it.  Just allow him to make the next move if you initiate it.  Also, only do this for a guy you’re really interested in.  If done too often, it’ll come across desperate.

  • Laurenbelzer

    Thank you for bringing this up, and for your disclaimers; I loved how thoughtful, honest and numerous they were.

    I’m going to be honest, and I know my opinion does NOT reflect that of the majority.
    I liked what Don had to say- on both sides- as a start.
    To those who say he was too harsh on women- I say, I don’t think he went far enough. He is right- we shouldn’t be dressing to get attention; that’s not what our bodies were created for, it becomes a road block to us getting the kind of attention we want, it keeps guys’ minds in the wrong places and it distracts us from building the kinds of relationships we’re supposed to be building. (If you’re only ever going to marry one man then why should every other man have the chance to see nearly everything your body has to offer?)

    And I don’t think he challenged the men enough either.
    It’s not about ‘saving sex’ it’s about a greater life (story) you were meant to lead. The man being the leader in the relationship is a big part of that. I honestly believe that God created men to be leaders in marriages. That was a difficult thing for me to put into practice, though. First, I’m a strong, independent, driven woman. Second, it was hard to find a man who WANTED to step up and be a leader. When my husband and I were just friends I told him that I wouldn’t date or marry any man who wasn’t a leader. It took some time for us to fit into those roles- him taking initiative and me stating my opinion, but ultimately following him (as long as his decisions weren’t contrary to the Bible). We got married in 2008 and were virgins on our wedding day.
    I can promise you it was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced and was COMPLETELY worth the wait!

    As for still being single, my heart is with you. I have many amazing friends who daily face the challenge of desiring a faithful, committed relationship and haven’t found what they’re looking for yet. My advice is this: allow God to use you however He wishes, to tell His story to the fullest. Make HIM your focus and your delight, and He will bless you more abundantly than you ever could have imagined! (Psalm 37:4)

  • Laurenbelzer

    Ha ha ha! That should be “humorous” not ‘numerous’!!

  • 1. Nothing wrong with matchy-matchy pajamas.
    2. Hearing someone chime in about love stories who hasn’t been married a day in his life, it a bit unsubstantiated.
    3. I’m glad he’s talking about it.
    4. I love you.

  • Haven’t even gotten past this part yet:

    “Come on, girls, we shouldn’t be slutty. We do need to have some self-respect. We do need to have some faith. And men, we are begging for you to be someone worth waiting for, we want you to demand more from us than a one night stand, and we would love nothing more than to see you get off your couch and start living a story that we are proud to be a part of.”

    Just had to stop and say, “This is why I read your blog.  Love it!”  🙂

  • Lindsey, thanks for the thoughtful engagement with Mr. Miller’s words in your post. I’ve been blogging about dating all summer and, although not all of your questions have arisen in what I’ve written about so far, many have. So, if you’re interested, you can find some of my thoughts here: http://thedatingblook.wordpress.com

  • Why is so much attention put on womens’ seductive ways?  Because men put women on a pedestal. The “seductive temptress” is mostly a fantasy that men sustain.

    Should women ever initiate?  I had a few dates and a long term girlfriend who initiated with me.  It’s not a bad thing.  Sometimes, guys are stupid and don’t know the time is right.

    • You said it first, “sometimes, guys are stupid.” 😉

    • Anonymous

      My wife initiated the SotR (State of the Relationship) conversation when we first started dating. Because I had been burnt so many times at that crucial juncture in a burgeoning relationship, I was honestly to scared to bring it up.  I didn’t want to screw up a good thing.  If she hadn’t started the conversation, I’m not sure we’d be married.

  • Questions after reading both of Donald Miller’s blog posts:
    How can a love story be written by a guy while sitting behind a laptop addicted to porn? 
    How was this PARALYZING epidemic not part of either blog post? 
    Please know that I am not at all accusing all men of this addiction.  And I realize women can struggle with this as well.  I am simply acknowledging a huge issue today….based on statistics that honestly scare me.  And not just statistics….but personal experience dating men with this addiction.  The love story could never even get started.  Pencil and paper still at the store. 

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  • These are some great questions.

    I obviously did not pay attention to the comments on Don’s blog and didn’t know it got a bit heated. I thought his post were spot on.

    1. I think the role of anyone in a love story is to be better with the person that you are with. So your spouse makes you better if that makes sense. That is one thing I am looking for in a wife, someone that calls me to be better, that inspires me to do great things. So if a wife sits at home with the kids but owns that and does truly great things that is inspiring. If she is out working, serving, or whatever and puts her full self into that, that makes me better and inspired. 

    2. Probably because guys are so visual so that is the first thing we pick on. 

    3. Don’t think it can happen

    4. yes, but only to the point of the guy having to make the next step. I don’t see anything wrong with a girl going after something that she wants or wants to initiate. Sometimes us guys need to be hit over the head. And often times guys are nervous/scared of rejection and afraid to put themselves out there. I know that is lame, but it is truth. We need a little prodding sometimes. Sorry

    5. Pete Wilson would say yes to that 🙂
    I think you are right on, focusing on the person that you need to be rather then focusing on finding the person that you think you need is important. I got those two mixed up and am working on trying to flip them. 

    • I am with you about looking for someone who makes me want to be a better person. Someone who brings out the best in me. 

    • I am with you about looking for someone who makes me want to be a better person. Someone who brings out the best in me. 

  • These are some great questions.

    I obviously did not pay attention to the comments on Don’s blog and didn’t know it got a bit heated. I thought his post were spot on.

    1. I think the role of anyone in a love story is to be better with the person that you are with. So your spouse makes you better if that makes sense. That is one thing I am looking for in a wife, someone that calls me to be better, that inspires me to do great things. So if a wife sits at home with the kids but owns that and does truly great things that is inspiring. If she is out working, serving, or whatever and puts her full self into that, that makes me better and inspired. 

    2. Probably because guys are so visual so that is the first thing we pick on. 

    3. Don’t think it can happen

    4. yes, but only to the point of the guy having to make the next step. I don’t see anything wrong with a girl going after something that she wants or wants to initiate. Sometimes us guys need to be hit over the head. And often times guys are nervous/scared of rejection and afraid to put themselves out there. I know that is lame, but it is truth. We need a little prodding sometimes. Sorry

    5. Pete Wilson would say yes to that 🙂
    I think you are right on, focusing on the person that you need to be rather then focusing on finding the person that you think you need is important. I got those two mixed up and am working on trying to flip them. 

  • I didn’t get all the way through his post for the guys. I did read the entire post to the girls. This is what I have to say about it:

    From my own experience, there was a period in my life where “sex = love.” I was 15 and stupid enough to believe that my 17 year old boyfriend loved me. yeah right. 14 years later, and looking back on that time period, I know now that alot of that mentality came from not feeling good enough. I also know now that I am good enough because of Christ. I still have days where I don’t feel good enough but I know that is not of God.

    The Great Love Story I want to portray is that of a woman loved by and who loves Jesus. At 29 and still single, I pray that I will someday be married but it’s not my priority. Living the life God created me to live is my priority.

    And in response to your question about how to put yourself out there, in my experience and through watching my friends get together with their husbands, not one of them stopped living their life in order to just be “available” to date. My best friend met her husband during a one-year season where she chose Jesus over dating and they are celebrating 2 years of marriage in 3 days and have a beautiful 15 month old baby girl.

    Be who God created you to be and make good choices about the people you spend your time with.

  • Thanks for some great thoughts.  When you ask whether it’s the man or the woman who is responsible for how things go, the answer is “Yes.” Success or failure of any relationship is two sided.  

    The woman has to be demure (I’m NOT advocating buttoned to the neck, hem at ankle length), but the guy has to get past how the woman is dressed to how God sees her.   I don’t about anyone else, but I can be aroused by a lot of cleavage and short skirts.  However, a woman who dresses and acts like a Godly lady is much more attractive and interesting for the long haul.  There are two words for women in the New Testament.  “Guni” speaks of a female, “kuria” describes a lady.  I’ll take the latter, thank you.

    The church I attend is very active, both socially and spiritually.  One of the things that’s taught there is that, unless you already have a real relationship going, “dates” shouldn’t be alone.  Do activities where others are around.  So, our teens do a lot of things in groups instead of couples.  So, do the unmarried adults.  Not as a legalistic “must do”, but as a way to allow each other to learn more about each other in circumstances that protect both from going beyond proper boundaries.  

    You asked the woman’s role in attracting the man.  I can’t speak for anyone else.  But I find an intelligent, attractive, modest, Godly, active lady a LOT more enticing than one who looks like she’s ready for a hookup.  I usually just walk away from the latter.  I’ll be courteous but that’s it Godliness is MUCH sexier than trashiness.  What’s inside makes the outside better or worse.

    “Just sayin'”.

    • Interesting on the group “dates.” I haven’t really heard that before. 

      • It’s not taught as a doctrine. Just as a precautionary measure.  And aimed more at the ages of our middle and high school kids and Bible college students.  The ages when hormones can override logic, if allowed to.  It works well.  When things do get serious enough for couples to consider marriage, they have a strong Biblical base for making that decision.  I’ve never seen any stats, but my own informal mental poll seems to point to a higher success rate for marriages than the norm.

        If the priority is God first, spouse/family second, everything else a distant third, that keeps things in perspective.  If I’m pleasing God, because I want to not because I have to, the overflow blesses my spouse/ family.  The same applies for that part of my focus on the family (no pun intended).  Everything else benefits from the overspill.  If my thinking is that way dating, then the desire to please God will help protect me and my date from allowing things to head in the wrong direction.

        And God gets the benefit from people that think with him.  Our teen ministry usually goes out Friday evenings to the Inner Harbor to soul win on the streets.  Usually around 50 to 100 teens go.  If there’s one of those times where none of our youth pastors can go, you’re likely to see a group “coercing” one of the other pastors to go with them.

    • Interesting on the group “dates.” I haven’t really heard that before. 

  • I’d recommend looking at Michael Hyatt’s blog (although the post is written by a guest blogger) entitled “What Really Keeps a Marriage Together?” If you read the comments, you’ll see what both men and women are saying about their relationships–the types of activities and decisions that made/make for healthy relationships (as well as poor decisions that led to unhealthy relationships). For me, as a married person, I found the words of others encouraging.

    I read Donald Miller’s blog and recognized the wise counsel he offered to young men. I can’t speak from the perspective of a single, young woman, but I can say that he hits on male issues with a great deal of clarity and openness.

  • Esther

    I think you’re amazing and I can’t believe your still single. God is very jealous for you! xoxoxo E

    • What does that even mean? “I can’t believe you’re still single?” As if amazing woman= must be married? 

  • Esther

    I think you’re amazing and I can’t believe you’re still single. God is very jealous for you!!! xoxoxo

    • Talked about you today. Your ears must have been burning! Hope to see you SOON.

  • ang

    great questions Lindsey:)  i too have had one too many friendlationships, and loooonnnngg ones that ended quite badly (for me at least…not so much for him seemed to be the trend).  so i have spent the quite a bit of time thinking about and  trying to figure out the healthy balance of emotional connection with men who are friends.  and how close is too close for me.  if i  start to cross that invisible line where i kind of act like or feel like or look like i’m dating someone but i’m not…it becomes a slippery slope.  i ask myself if our time together is similar to what i am doing with other friends (male or female) or has it become more intense.  the older i get (ugh!), the less inclined i am spend time alone with close male friends or allow the friendship to start to blur into an ambiguous relationship…those spell trouble.  

    i have also been pondering how much initiation is “ok” when i am interested in someone.  i have kind of landed on creating natural opportunities to remind him that i exist (which may include “hey, you want to grab coffee”…but not games…i am pretty horrible at those anyway!), and/or enough of a nudge to let him know that i would enjoy spending time with him to get to know him better.  then i feel like it is up to him to respond and take the next step, or not.  lately i felt like i have been  lingering too long with my toe in the water checking the temperature and wondering and analyzing the mixed  messages…and am tired of needing to be hit over the head with disinterest/non-pursuit before i get it and move on.  so i am working on that:)

    as far as focus…i want very much for my life to be about way more than my marital status and i strive to lead a full life that depicts a good story.  of course i want to be growing in Christ and be striving to be transformed into the woman God has created me to be- but i certainly hope that would be true of me if i were married as well.  honestly, i get a bit weary of people who over (in my humble opinion) spiritualize where i am in my life ~ holding me to some super spiritual standard because i am single and should be spending all of my “undistracted by a husband” time pouring myself into my relationship with Jesus or surmising that i have all kinds of personal and spiritual growth that i should be excitedly embracing in this season.  but what do i know….i am single and 40 and don’t even own any matchy-matchy flannel pjs:).  

  • Cyndi

    1. ‘He spoke truth’ ?!? Not any truth I believe or care to be associated with in any way. He insulted women, degraded us & put us back a century or two or three or four. He spoke in a demeaning, chastising manner. IMO.

    2. I live Little Women & also loved & identified with the character if Jo. But the quote in the comments refers to a woman being ‘chosen’ & at the time that book was written men did choose the women. How is that quote applicable in our society today? Can’t we as faithful women or just as a woman be the chooser? I’d say we make the choice as much as the man. And if a woman is sitting around waiting to be ‘chosen’ ? She better wake up & be proactive in the dating world if being married is indeed what she wants. Miller seems to want to throw all of us back in time when being chosen was the way it worked.

    3. In terms of Miller’s blog being his place to openly ramble & not even edit for spelling or the readers’ perceptions of what he writes & the feelings evoked? Is just plain irresponsible. He’s not just any blogger. He has labeled himself a Christian & authored books that have been maps for many nonbelievers & believers alike to shape/change their lives (just as you said they did for you). He has been elevated to a point where he is accountable to his readers & he should empower his readers as he does with his books & not degrade & insult them. If he wants to vent & write without thought to the consequences of his writing he should blog under a different name.

  • What I really find disheartening here is that you state you don’t want to be remembered for being a an expert on being single. Why not? Clearly there are women (and men) who need to hear and dialogue about living a godly single life. There is nothing wrong with being single, and frankly, it’s great that you are an expert on it. Because a lot people who could be are not. 

    So so much other stuff on my mind. Really, the bottom line for me is that when we, as fallen humans, begin to dictate and pontificate with a list of “shoulds” and “should nots” I am headed in the other direction. I would rather hear about the destructive nature of a promiscuous lifestyle than be told “don’t do this.” I would rather be taught to respect my body than be told not to “be slutty.” I mean, really? Slutty? 

    Finally, all of this talk about what’s right and holy neglects an underlying problem. So so many young men and women are coming to faith AFTER a life lived in darkness. I find that the dictates of man do little to assuage guilt, shame or anger. In fact, it may suffice to only promote it further. God and his body are about renewal and redemption. 

    • Cyndi

      Great points Jen! We think so much alike it’s scary!

      This all kind of makes me think about how I’ve been getting to know some Amish women & we’ve had lots of discussions about dating & marriage. I think Miller needs to meet these women so he can see what being repressed in the name of God is like.

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