👩🏽 REE: Hey guys! Welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast. Last week I kicked off the Fruit of the Spirit series with an episode on love, and I had my friend Devin come by and share his experiences, his point of view, and kind of round out the conversation. What you guys didn't hear in that episode is all of the other stuff we talked about. It's pretty hard to talk about love just in the context of the Fruit of the Spirit and stick to just the topic of loving in general without having some sort of sidebar about romantic love. I think it's just kind of ingrained in us to think that love equals romantic love, and so per the course of the conversation we did dive off into couple of tangents that were more focused on love and dating, dating in the modern world, and you know, just how all of that works. And so the episode, the first cut of the episode, the original cut was actually really, really long. I didn't think anybody want to listen to all of that. But as I was, you know, piecing together what I thought the Fruit of the Spirit episode was focused on, I realized that I didn't want to throw away all the other conversation, either. So here is the rest of that conversation and a little bit more of, I guess, an extended view of what we talked about as it concerns to love and dating. So part 2 of that conversation, please welcome back my friend Devin.
Is There Only One Person For Us? (00:03:04)
👨🏾 DEVIN: But slightly related to this topic of love being a choice, I also come to a debate with people: Do you think that there is one person that's you're meant to be with, or is it like there are many people that you could end up with, or does it really matter at all you can do with almost anybody?
👩🏽 REE: So when I was a teenager I'da been like "there is one person that you're supposed to be with!" As I got older, I started to think I think, you know, maybe there are many people that you could have been with. I think particularly considering the way we operate today that a lot of things are timing. Like, you could meet somebody and you could really click and like, you could be the perfect people for each other, but it may not be the time for you to go together.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Right
👩🏽 REE: And especially like now that a lot of people go off to college, and after you go to college, you may go to grad school, you may go into work, and these things can kind of pull you apart. I definitely know—like you're in grad school, I went to grad school—and I feel like the hardest thing doing school for an extended period of time is that I would meet people—and I not just from a romantic point of view, but also from a friendship point of view—like I would meet people and I would only get to spend like a year with them before they were off to something else, before they move to another school, before they move to an internship, or whatever. And so that kind of like rips people out of your life, and so there are a lot of people that I have interacted with that when I look back on it, there's nothing wrong with that person. There's no reason why I couldn't have dated that person for an extended period of time and ended up with them, you know, for forever, except that at some point we ended up going different ways.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yep Yep
👩🏽 REE: I think, like, we had the conversation, I think in a perfect world anybody would do, but I do think that because we live in an imperfect world that there are some things that we just can't get past. I don't know if that makes any sense. You can't trust everybody. Some people are crazy; some people are killers. So there are some things that you have to be mindful of. And then, I remember when Steve Harvey first came out with like to Think Like A Man—
👨🏾 DEVIN: Oh yeah
👩🏽 REE: —book and the movie, and all of that... I was watching it; I didn't read the book, but I did watch the movie—both of the movies—and like, I remember the whole conversation about, you know, expectations going into relationships, and you know, like whether it's from like a goals point of view, whether it's from like a money point of view, or whatever. I think it's really easy for us to say like "oh it doesn't matter how much money they make," "it doesn't matter ambitious or not ambitious," or whatever. But I think we also have certain standards of living that we expect. And I think, I mean like you said "love is a choice," so if you're willing to make the choice, I think things can work, but I think it's hard for people to just turn on or off something. So for instance, if you're used to—I like using really outlandish examples that I have no connection to—
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yeah, yeah
👩🏽 REE: I don't know why, but like say you are like super rich, you were born like Blue Ivy. OK her parents are mega rich; she's been rich her whole life, and then like she goes and she falls in love with this guy who has like absolutely no money, no ambition. Like, your worlds kind of clash and it's hard to like blend into that person's world and have them blend into your world. And while like at the heart of it I think it should not matter, I think it's hard for us to make that transition 100% to the point that there is no regrets, no animosity, you're not holding this over that person's head. Even in Crazy Rich Asians… I don't know if you saw it?
👨🏾 DEVIN: I didn't
👩🏽 REE: Oh, it's a great movie, you should see it. There's a scene... Well this is a spoiler. I can't say this now, dang.
👨🏾 DEVIN: It's OK, I probably won't see it.00:08:02
👩🏽 REE: So for viewers who have not seen it, fast forward 'cause I'm about to spoil it. but there's an Asian family that is very rich and they have like a ton of money. And one of the women in the family marries a guy who, he's not broke; he's like a software engineer, and he's still very well off, but by no means is he on the same level that she is. And he struggles with feeling inadequate because she has so much money and he can't afford her lifestyle, and it caused a problem. And I think, like I said, I don't think it should matter, but because we're imperfect, I think a lot of times we let it matter. And I think it's hard for us to just concretely make the decision to not let it matter, particularly because both people have to make that decision.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Right. And we still live within the confines and rules set by society, and it's hard to let all that go. We can't just, you know—we do have like sort of a caste system in our society and it's hard to downgrade yourself.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah, and it's even, I've even found that it's hard to upgrade yourself. It sounds crazy, but even just having conversations with friends who came from families that are more well-off than I do, or than I am, the things that they choose to spend their money on. I be like, "What? What are you doing? Like that's crazy, how do you not feel bad about like people being homeless or something?" Or even just you know like bougie stuff, like getting somewhere and they got like 10 forks on the table, and you're like I don't know which one of these forks to use. I'm sorry. I'm used to having one fork. I'm not, I don't have a maid. I'm not trying to wash all these forks! Use the same fork for everything on your plate. And so I think sometimes even trying to go up, you know in the upward direction, we don't really feel like we fit.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yep. Makes sense. So to like recap that, we said maybe there's like a limited group of people that you we be with.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah, I think so.
How Do You Find The Person? (00:10:30)
👨🏾 DEVIN: And then considering the people that consider there's one person out there, I think that is not necessarily a bad way to think, but you would also have to... I think it will require a very perfect world, too, because if there were one specific person out there you were looking for, you wouldn't also not really have a signal to you know you found that person or if you let that person go. So that's a pretty—
👩🏽 REE: That's a scary thought.
👨🏾 DEVIN: It would lean you to insecurity or anxiety about every single person you're with. Let's say you did find someone you were happy with, and you have to think "OK, is this the person? If I break up, if we break up, for any reason like I'm not going to be able to find someone else or what's going to happen?" It's sort of a gamble then, because you're looking for 1 in like 7 billion people.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah. I feel like that's a lot of pressure, too. 'Cause I feel like, you know, most people start dating, I don't know 16? Some people start dating earlier. In my family the rule is 16, but I mean at 16 I didn't know anything. I don't even know if I could tell you things about myself, like let alone to know what I was looking for in somebody else! So that's a lot of pressure. 'Cause even like you said like when you're dating somebody, but not even just dating people. Think about it. Like, it could be that person in your class that you never speak to. That's a lot of pressure!
👨🏾 DEVIN: Right, and then 'cause you would have to like go through everybody if you were going to try to be systematic about it.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah, but I mean I guess in the same vein, if you were trusting that God was going to do the heavy work, assumably it would work out for the best. And God would show you who that person is. I think technically that's how we're supposed to be doing this whole dating thing anyway. I don't know if we all succeed in that.0
👨🏾 DEVIN: You said waiting for God to work it out? Is that what you said?
👩🏽 REE: Yeah
Timelines and Making Moves
👨🏾 DEVIN: OK. So I, yeah, that brings me to an interesting thought. So, I also been talking with some friends about people who, so we have this societal sort of time line—you get married, it's somewhere between the ages of like 20 and 40. Let's say you're older than that you may be 40 something and you're single still, and so then there's like two ways that I think people will go about this. And I think it's split by gender. So usually men, we tend to be the person seeking out our partner, and women typically, stereotypically, play a more passive role in this search. I think that, you know, for Christian women, I don't exactly, I can't speak for Christian women, but they tend to end up in a situation where they feel like they're waiting on something and they don't know if it's going to happen or not. And when I have these conversations, I always would like to encourage the women to be more active in their search for a partner. Do you have any thoughts on that? Because I don't know, if you know, one of those things, if it were something else that wasn't a relationship. Let's say you were, you know, the government was going to send you like a tax refund check or something, and you really needed this money and you were waiting on it. Would you just sit there and pray about it until you got it in the mail, or would you like to drive to wherever you can talk to people from the—talk to somebody from the government—ask people questions, write some letters? Would you be more active about it or would you just sit and wait on it?
👩🏽 REE: I think that's interesting. So this actually comes up a lot in my young adult group, because the numbers are heavily skewed. There are a lot of women, and most of us are single. There are not that many men, and the men who do come are typically married to some of the women that come. So there is this conversation of like "what should we be doing?" Should we be—not pursuing, but you know like doing something, like you said—going after what we want (or what we think we want), or should we just be waiting on God to, you know, drop somebody in front of us. I think the common consensus that we've come to is kind of a hybrid. Not so much like, oh you got to get in your car, and drive to the tax office and be like gimme my money right now, but also not to just like passively sit back. So one of the girls that is in the group, she is in everything; she does so much that I don't know how she keeps it all straight. But one of the things that she was telling us is like, if you're always at your house, if all you do is go to work and go to church, you ain't never going to find anybody. Like, you have to be out doing something. Now that's not saying, like, you got to go, you know, to the club or the bar and just be like picking up dudes.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Right. You might need some hobbies though.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah, but like strategically choosing, you know, your hobbies. And you know some of the guys weighed in and they were also like, you know, you got to go, you know, you got to get out more, things like that, and I totally agree. In the sense like, you know, I can’t be a homebody, and obviously, if I just go to work and go home and go to church there is a high probability I would be single forever, but then at the same time, one of the questions I asked the guys who were also part of this conversation is what hobbies is it where you would be most likely to find these nice Christian men? Because I know. like, so for instance a lot of the hobbies I have are quote-unquote girly hobbies, right. Like I like going to Painting with a Twist, not very probable that you're going to run into a lot of guys at Painting with a Twist, you know. You know, some of my friends and I went bowling—bowling is fun—but most of the guys that you run into at the bowling alley are like 15, so also probably not the place to go find your soulmate. Some of my friends and I are going ice skating, now there don't always be a lot of guys. I was like, I don't know. Like it almost seems, like, I was like I don't know. I'mma have to go to the gym. 😂
👨🏾 DEVIN: That's exactly what I was going to suggest. 😂 The gym is a good place though. You got a good balance of men and women. It's gender neutral. Yeah.
👩🏽 REE: I was like, I don't know. Like, I was like, I feel like that's one of the other problem is that—and this is super stereotypical. Listeners, I'm not saying that these are the things you got to like, or that if you don't like them or you do like them it makes you more masculine or feminine, just a disclaimer that's not what I'm saying. I'm just being über stereotypical, and I feel like in general a lot of times the hobbies that men choose vs. the hobbies that women choose, don't necessarily overlap. Like everything that I could think of, I was like oh. I mean if I really wanted to just go out to meet guys, I feel like I should go to a basketball game, or things, and they're all things that I wouldn't normally—well, I do like basketball so I would normally go to a basketball game, but they're things that aren't necessarily things that I would just like this the hobby that I would pick up and do like repetitively all the time. Like even, like I was joking about going to the gym, that's not something that would be at the top of my interest list. But one of my friends actually met her husband at the gym, that's that's where they met. And I was like maybe I should start going to the gym!
👥 DEVIN + REE: 😂
👩🏽 REE: But yeah, I think that that also one of the problems. Like that you said going out, knowing that you should go and out and try to make something happen or putting yourself in positions where you can meet people and then figuring out where those places are.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yeah, and I would say if there's any sort of like club or organization or like a professional organization around whatever the hobby or your career is, things like that could work.
👩🏽 REE: That is true. Interestingly, there is actually a couple at my job that met at work.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yeah?
👩🏽 REE: Yeah.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Some people try to x work off like you can't work with your spouse, but I think if you, if you meet at work it's different than having been together that got a job at the same place.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah, I mean I've been meaning to talk to her, 'cause I feel like that's a very...complicated endeavor. You know just a whole notion of flirting with somebody at work—
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yeah
👩🏽 REE: Or just like the whole how that even starts or goes down, because you know you don't want to cross boundaries or make people feel uncomfortable or anything like that, but I didn't even know they were dating, when I first—so I've been working where I work for a year-and-a-half, almost two years. And one day they were just talking about like her wedding, 'cause she was engaged when I met her. And they're just like oh yeah and you know I've been trying to meet him blah blah blah, and I'm like why you trying to meet her fiancé? Like, when are y'all going to meet her fiancé? And they kept talking about him and all of a sudden he walked up, and we were at a company event and you know he had on a badge, too and they were like, "Yeah he works here." And I was like "So y'all met here?" And they're like, "Yeah we met working here." And I was like oh not what I expected at all. I'm just like, I don't like, you know, when I was younger and I worked at like a water park, that was completely normal for co-workers to start dating. They weren't supposed to, but it was normal. But now in like a professional, like corporate world, that was kind of shocking to me. And me and some of the other girls were talking like we just need to know like how this went down. Like did you slide into the corporate DMs?
👨🏾 DEVIN: Right right. I mean it makes sense, 'cause you would have to meet some one, especially if it's were you spend most of your time. So it kind of makes sense. But yeah there are those weird professional rules, you don't want to, Especially with someone in a different power level, in terms of like management, and those things get weird, you know.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah, that's gets really weird. I think, I think they're in different departments, so you know. Like, since I'm a software engineer, we also have like mechanical engineers and electrical engineers and they sit in different parts of the building and do different things; we don't necessarily work together, and so I don't think they actually ever work together together. So you know it's not quite as risqué, I guess, as it could be, but I was like that's interesting. I mean it just never, I mean it never really occurred to me to stop somebody that I'm working with to flirt with them. In the sense that you, most of the time when you meet people at work you don't know, you don't know that much about them. Like from a personal standpoint, like are they married? Are they dating? Usually it's like "oh hi, how are you? Did you read the email I sent you?"
Shooting Your Shot (00:23:18)
👨🏾 DEVIN: Do you know if any of these cases or even at your, the group that you were talking about earlier, did you ever talk about women making the first flirting advance or something or is it more like the man starts it?
👩🏽 REE: We did talk about that. We talked about like people's comfort levels. We talked about how men receive things. There, obviously with everything there's always varying opinions. I don't think, I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule, because I do think there are guys who love to be approached, and I think there are guys who are put off by being approached. So I think it definitely depends on the guy and like the situation. Me, personally, I'm not a fan of being the approacher, though I will say as I've gotten older I've been mastering the art of letting the guy think he is the first approacher. If that makes any sense? 😂
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yeah. Yeah it does. 😂
👩🏽 REE: I feel like, you know, this is the skill like when people talk about like a mentoring and like older women mentoring younger women, I feel like this is the skill that needs to be taught. Like the art of like the subtle flirt, that like puts the seed of an idea in his mind that is basically saying like "you should flirt with me—I'm not going to flirt with you, but I want you to flirt with me," and then just like letting it sit there. Until like he's like "oh okay yeah I'm going to try this," and then like if you ever bring the story up later, he's going to think that he initiated everything, but really, you know, you spent a long time trying to figure out how to drop this hint that you wanted to go see this random movie or something, something really random that kind of like lured it in. I don't know. You're a guy, what are your thoughts?
👨🏾 DEVIN: Well me, personally, I don't mind if a woman came and made advances toward me. I do have friends they wouldn't be comfortable with it though. It would definitely make them feel emasculated. And I talk about this. I'm in this Facebook group of guys and girls that we just ask these kinds of questions all the time. So I was surprised to hear that a lot of guys are intimidated by women, you know if they got asked on a date by women. It like completely changes their whole mindset on what it is and what it means. That really surprised me.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah. I don't know. I found that a lot of guys like, like I said, they like to think that everything was their idea. That it was that it was their doing. You know, some people would argue that that's just like a natural order of, you know, guys doing the pursuing and women being pursued. Especially I think particularly in our group, obviously because it's a young adult Christian group, so you know the basis is the relationship is supposed to be biblical. From a biblical point of view, Christ and the Church are the embodiment of the relationship of a man and a woman, and of course Christ pursued the church. And so it's this whole, the whole idea that the man is supposed to be pursuing the woman.
👨🏾 DEVIN: I think of relationships as more being like 50-50, I guess in a sense. So, I guess there's more, I guess, balance in the way that I view things and the responsibilities, and what the power dynamics are. So maybe that, you know traditionally men prefer to have more of the power in the relationship. So that could contribute to them wanting to be the one to make the advance.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah yeah. It's, I don't know. It's an interesting, it's an interesting foray, I guess. You know especially, now that there is like dating apps and things.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Oh yeah
👩🏽 REE: Like the whole dating scene is just so complicated. A lot of times I'm more like I wish I had been born since I was like a teenager—err not a teenager—so that I would like an adult in like the 90s. 'Cause I'm like just before things that got real, real complicated.
👨🏾 DEVIN: Yeah, I agree. I think sometimes it definitely hurts us more than it helps us sometimes.
👩🏽 REE: Yeah but you know it is what it is, and I guess everybody's just kind of working their way through it figuring it out one day at a time, one step at a time.
Wrap Up (00:28:37)
OK guys, that was the rest of the conversation I had with Devin last week. Thanks again Devin for stopping by to have that conversation—or I guess calling in is more appropriate. Thank you guys for listening; hopefully you got something out of that. If you have your own tips or you know, comments about what's worked for you or what hasn't worked for you—so I must say I am preferential to success stories. I love to hear about you guys' success in all things, but you know in dating since that's what we were talking about, you know, feel free to leave a message at the website. This particular episode will be posted at www.psalmstogod.com/loveanddating. I think you can also leave comments on SoundCloud; I'm not really sure, I've never done that, but I think that's a possibility. Or of course you can always find me on Instagram—shiree.hughes—and leave messages there. You know, just let me know what you guys think, and how you're dealing with all of this. So in the meantime don't forget to subscribe, and I will see you guys in the next episode. Bye 👋🏾
References and Footnotes
- Steve Harvey. Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. 2011
- Plausible deniability!
- I don't know why I said viewers, I meant listeners.
- Well, I guess it's not really a spoiler. The fact that they're having trouble pops up in the first couple scenes.
- Once upon a time I took an etiquette class and learned all this stuff. Then I got older and decided it was ridiculous and promptly forgot all things I learned in that class.
- I talked too much so he had to recap it. Guess I got a little long winded there.😅
- Confession, when I record, I really do wave at you guys.
- Maybe not the best word, but the dating scene is being controlled by the enemy, so...