In a recent post on Resurgence titled “5 Notes on Dating for the Guys,” Mars Hill Church Everett executive pastor Brandon Andersen seeks to help guys think about what it means to be “intentional” when talking to or dating a girl.
He lays out seven situations and prescriptively delineates the attitude a guy should have in each one.
Sex is about having compatible libidos, each partner’s baseline desire for sex, though this will change with developmental issues such as having children or aging.
But it is also about both partner’s needs really getting met, being able to educate your partner by saying what you like and don’t like, rather than, once again, slipping into accommodation. And that’s why each of these issues are important to iron out early: Differences can trigger power struggles over who is right and who will win. Small stuff: one partner gets stressed and irritable after a hard day, the other gets stressed and withdraws.
I will give you a call this week.” The intentional man also says (if things are going well), “I think you are a godly, beautiful woman, and I have [a] great time with you. When you’re dating you put on your best face – you’re considerate, accommodating; you let small irritations go by, you hold back on the darker sides of your past and personality. Do this long enough, add in mutual accommodating, and you can wind up with a distorted view of your compatibility. You both settle: The sex drops off a bit because of natural oxytocin shifts, going out all the time for dinner is too expensive.But the real purpose of dating is not just being good and nice but about sorting and selecting, at some point being honest and real to see if you are both truly compatible. This is where couples can start to drift apart – working longer hours or going to Facebook as a default way of spending time – and moving towards parallel lives.Basically you need to be on the same page about bottom lines and priorities – credit card balances, budgets, savings accounts – but also priorities – traveling vs. More importantly perhaps, can you both recircle, return and repair, have sane conversations later and actually put the problem to rest? They sweep things under the rug, or they argue, make-up (I’m sorry), and sweep things under the rug but never resolve the problem.Problems stack up; they use distance to avoid conflict or constantly fight about the same things; they only talk about weather; they fall into parallel lives. The notion here is that I want to help you be happy, live the life you want to live, and know that I always got your back. Without safety the power in the relationship is unbalanced, one is forced to be less than oneself.After a date, he says, “I'll call you sometime.” When things are going well in a relationship, the unintentional man says, “Soooooo, what do you think about us? That contrast confuses the nature of the issue so that it is difficult to see Andersen's point.In fact, I don't think he is contrasting intentionality and unintentionality at all. He creates a utopian connection between intentionality and certainty (and, I suppose, a dystopian connection between unintentionality and uncertainty) that does not necessarily exist.These are glue that can hold the relationship together over the long haul.Those couples that wind up building around children struggle as the children leave home and center falls out. Yes, we all know about complementarity, the bungee jumper hooks up with the fly-fisherman, the one who wants to traverse the Ural mountains meets the one who doesn’t need to go more than 6 miles outside of town. What happens to a lot couples when dating is they fall into dating activities – movies, concerts, eating out, partying with friends on weekends, lots of drinking, lots of sex – and down-time is essentially crashing from all this and watching NCIS marathons together on the couch.Or if already married, they can fill this space with kids, and become child-centered – going to endless soccer games, school meetings, trips to the zoo. It’s important that you have a core of activities, even if small, that you both honestly enjoy doing together and don’t cost a bazillion dollars or require you to be in an altered state of mind.