Guys, Here’s How Respect Can Revolutionize Your Dating Life
A guest post by Judd Palmer, author of Ask Her Out
“Whoa,” my mom cautioned from the passenger seat.
“Mom, it’s okay,” I replied.
“I am not comfortable with you following so closely to other cars.”
I backed off from the car in front of me.
“You need to slow down. Please keep it within five of the speed limit.”
“Mom, I’m driving with the flow of traffic.”
“I’m not comfortable with you driving this fast.”
My mom is used to my dad’s driving. He’s a smooth operator, and all his driving changes are gentle and gradual; he drives just above the speed limit and has been doing so ever since I can remember. That’s how my mom likes it.
At the time of this conversation, however, I was young and, let’s say, more of a spontaneous driver. My mom once had me pull to the side of the road so she could drive because the way I drove was not relaxing for her.
How You’ll Treat Your Date One Day
As I got older, I determined to master the skill of driving with my parents whenever we went somewhere together. To do this, I had to respect how they wished to be driven. First, this meant driving with more space between my car and the one in front of me and not being in a hurry to get to our destination.
Second, it meant driving the same speed and not “accidentally” ten miles per hour over the speed limit. (This typically happened because I wasn’t paying attention to the speedometer.) I practiced making smoother lane changes and began to look farther ahead, so I would be better prepared for slowdowns or merging lanes.
Finding my driving acceptable, my parents began to feel more comfortable in the car with me. I took pride in gaining their comfort and peace.
What does driving a car have to do with dating? Nothing at all. But this story highlights my point: Doing the right things now will lead to doing greater things later. Respecting others now—your housemates, your family, the girls you are dating, your coworkers and parents—will eventually lead to your future girlfriend and wife placing her trust in you later on.
How you treat those around you now, and especially how you treat your mother, is a direct indicator of how you will treat your dates and future wife. Though I think I’ve treated my mom with respect throughout my life, the way I handled her driving preferences was a reflection of an area of respect that I needed to grow in.
Thinking of the Other Person First
Respecting someone’s preferences at the specific point where they differ from yours clearly reveals what your respect level looks like. It puts it right up in your face. The more you respect the women in your life, the more you will be interested in asking them out and being in an actual relationship.
You may think you already respect women, and you may be a cool guy with lots of female friends, but the true test of respect comes when women have a different opinion than you do or when they want something that you feel isn’t a big deal. Like my mother and my driving. When this occurs, do you laugh at them and what they are saying, or do you respect their comfort level, even though it is totally different than yours?
Practicing Respect Even If You’re Single
Ephesians 5:21–27 (TPT) is a popular passage about love and respect between a husband and wife:
Out of reverence for Christ be supportive of each other in love.
For wives, this means being supportive to your husbands like you are tenderly devoted to our Lord, for the husband provides leadership for the wife, just as Christ provides leadership for his church, as the Savior and Reviver of the body. In the same way the church is devoted to Christ, let the wives be devoted to their husbands in everything.
And to the husbands, you are to demonstrate love for your wives with the same tender devotion that Christ demonstrated to us, his bride. For he died for us, sacrificing himself to make us holy and pure, cleansing us through the showering of the pure water of the Word of God. All that he does in us is designed to make us a mature church for his pleasure, until we become a source of praise to him—glorious and radiant, beautiful and holy, without fault or flaw.
What do I do with this passage if I’m single? Do I disregard it because I am not married, or is there an application for me right here, right now, toward the ladies in my life?
I would like to propose that even when I am single, I can live in a “laying myself down for her” way in everyday situations: in conversations, interactions, and on dates. What do I get out of this since I’m not married? Is it just me being a martyr? Not exactly. I get to practice laying myself down for others. I get to “die” to myself with women, friends, authorities, family, and vulnerable adults and seniors. And the rewards I receive for doing so are beautiful things like maturity, becoming “radiant,” and enjoying being Christlike. Jesus is freedom, which means that laying down my life for others actually makes me freer than I was before.
I get to be unselfish and let Jesus be everything to me, so He can flow into me and overflow toward others. The more I practice being a true friend and acting and communicating out of love, the more I will be able to do these things when I am married.
Learning how to do these things now is a much better plan than choosing to live for myself in the moment and having to learn how to die to myself later, after I get married.
Judd Palmer is the author of Ask Her Out: Pursuing Freedom, Manhood, and Women. Visit his website at askheroutthebook.com for more information.