The Secret To Dating

Photo: Harsh1, Creative Commons

[Monthly Columnist – Hannah Stovall] – Do you know the secret to dating?

The whispering was the hardest part.

Hushed treasures.

Quiet gold.

I’d walk down the hallway of that small-town Texas high school, watching those girls—you know, those girls—toss their perfectly highlighted curls in laughter, and I ached to be in on the joke.

I’ll admit.

I love a good secret.

And as my sweet and honest friend said just a few days ago—as we sat on our couch on a Friday night, sipping hot chocolate and telling jokes (because we’re hilarious and awesome):

“Someone didn’t fill us in on the secret.”

Seven years later–that’s still the perfect description. No one told me the secret to dating.

And I desperately love a good secret.

I know girls who can meet a guy on Monday, flirt with him on Tuesday, go on a date with him on Friday, and marry him three months later.

Who taught them how to do that?

Why was I not in class that day?

I’m twenty-three years old with no boyfriends, dates, or breakups under my belt; and on my worst days, I feel like I’ve been rudely and spitefully deprived of a secret.

But on my best days?

Well, on my best days the Lord whispers peace. He offers the treasure of intimacy with Him and the quiet gold of knowing that I am in no hurry. The pressure is off. He is my laughter, and my joy comes from understanding that He senses my longings and hears the sighs of my heart. He knows all my secrets.

And you know I love a good secret.

I may not have the ticket to blissful and brilliant dating, but the best thing I do know, I’ll gladly divulge.

There have been multiple moments in my life where I have heard things like:

“You and ___________ should totally date, because….”

“Oh, ______________ is perfect for you, because he….”

“You two should just date already. You’d be so good for him, because….”

Friends told me the reasons. Friends told those guys the reasons. And the reasons were good. Really good. I agreed 100%. In every instance, I wanted—very dramatically at the time—to date that guy.

But despite the reasons, there was just that one little hitch.

They didn’t want to date me.

It was no secret.

I was disappointed and embarrassed and often a little angry because it hurt oh so much!

But I am grateful. Yes, I said grateful, because whether or not they even knew, they taught me one of the biggest “don’ts” of dating.

+Don’t pursue where you’re not sincerely interested.

+Don’t mislead.

+Don’t string along.

+Don’t deceive.

And please don’t settle for being pointlessly pursued. I’m confident it’s better to wait with the Lord for authentic love than to ache from the hurt of a counterfeit.

Those men didn’t let anyone talk them into a relationship they weren’t excited about. No one persuaded them to ask me out on a date because we “just seemed super compatible.” I’m certain that a day will come when they won’t need convincing. They will have to ask out their girl. I’m hoping for a day when no one will need to persuade my man.

Sure, the guys hurt my feelings; but more importantly, they let me in on a little bit of the secret. It’s partly because of them that I can boldly say:

+Do not date me if you do not genuinely like me.

+Do not date her if you are not honestly interested in her.

+Do not date him if you just don’t really want to.

Date me because you genuinely think I’m hilarious and a little awesome.

+Date her because you honestly love her random love for NASCAR and hatred for hypocrisy.

+Date him because you just really like the way he leads well and always wins at Scrabble.

+Just date because you want to.

Shh….it’s a secret!

Hannah is a lover of family and a collector of friends. She’s a bookworm and a movie buff, a wanderer and an expert at napping outside in the summer. Hannah has committed her writing to—not help people escape their reality—but rather encourage them to engage in it. She is currently part of the Children’s Ministry team at Houston’s First Baptist Church. You can read more from Hannah at