This Is How We Met: Kurt Luitwieler's Story
This Is How We Met: Jessica Buttram's Story

To the Girl Who Has Never Dated

To The Girl Who Has Never Dated,

Last week I read your question on another blog and my heart broke for you. You asked the how and why of not dating. You're 18 years old, on the verge of so much promise, and yet you doubted yourself because of not dating.

Oh, dear girl. I saw echoes of my teenage self in your words. I remember how badly I wanted a boyfriend in those days and the way I questioned my worth without one. I have dated since those dateless high school days so perhaps this disqualifies me from speaking in to your heart a bit. (On the other hand, I'm 32 and still single. I may be your personal horror story.) But I hope you'll listen just the same.

When I read the blogger's well-intentioned response, I cringed for the both of us. She told you to be glad that you haven't dated and made the mistakes that often come with relationships. She told you to view it as a blessing. She said she wished she hadn't dated when she was 18 and how many others would echo her words of regret.

That blogger isn't telling the whole truth. Maybe she wishes she'd taken another path but her advice implies that there's something wrong with dating. That's unfair.

Dating seems to have fallen into this weird category in Christian circles where we are either one date away from marriage or ruining the rest of our lives. Talk about extremes.

Dating in its purest form is sweet and tender. You're opening yourself up to the possibility of love. It should be fun and exciting. Even bad dates turn out to be great stories. People do make mistakes in relationships but hopefully they learn and grow from them as well.

So, no, there's nothing wrong with wanting to date. We can talk about expectations, how we shouldn't view members of the opposite sex as our saviors, how no one can fulfill us other than God. There are even benefits to singleness. That's all true and important to keep in mind. But when I read your question, I got the impression that you've heard that before and that your relationship with Christ is your priority but you wouldn't mind going on a date with the boy you like.

I don't know why you haven't dated, just as I don't understand why I didn't date in high school. In hindsight, I can say it was for the best. I had a few things I needed to understand about myself and God before I would be emotionally healthy in a dating relationship. But we can all point to people who are not healthy for a variety of reasons and they still manage to be in a relationship. There is simply no rhyme or reason to why some people date and others don't.

What I do understand is the pain you feel. Your friends are dating and it seems abnormal to not be doing the exact same thing. When they prattle on about their latest boyfriend, it would be nice to join the conversation about the latest sweet thing your guy did for you.

I imagine that it might be especially difficult today. I can't make a Valentine's Day date magically appear for you but I can offer a few words for you to tuck away.

Just because you are not dating now, does not mean you never will. Nor does it mean there's something wrong with you.

You are lovely. Just as you are.

Yes, you may have rough edges. We all do. But you are worthy. You were created in God's image and you don't need a guy to affirm who you are. A boyfriend will be the icing on the cake.

You are whole. You are not incomplete without an other half. Keep working on who you are and what you want your life to be about. That is the key.

It's OK to be sad and to ask God when it will be your turn. Us singles are drawn together by a common thread. We know the importance of celebrating who we are, making the most of this season of life, and hoping while we wait.

There are days that are easier than others, days when your love life pales in comparison to the wonder of life itself. Because life is a gift. We are not guaranteed nor entitled to anything. When you count the gifts in your life, you will find you are blessed.

On the hard days, find a listening ear, a little chocolate, and talk through the ups and downs. One day we'll see how it all worked out but in the meantime, we take it a moment at a time and trust that all will work out for the best.

Because it will.