Bible Dating Tips for Men

I had originally planned to follow up on my earlier “Holy Kiss” bit with a series on courting and marriage tips, but since my claims to romantic experience now have been exposed for the fraud that they are, I’ve decided to approach these topics with an appeal to biblical authority, rather than to my own questionable credentials. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should also state that, well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I got married I actually gave up dating–I just didn’t have the time for it anymore. So even my own marginal courting experience is … dated.

There are several online sources you can google for what the bible is supposed to say about courtship. In short, most of these websites declare that the whole Law and the Prophets (with respect to dating advice) hang on these two tips: (i) don’t date non-believers (including, without limitation, Mormons, Papists, Jews, Democrats, Unitarians and other Satanists, each of whom is expressly and clearly anathematized as to courtship right there in that-there bible) and (ii) whatever you do, you aren’t supposed to have a good time. What a disappointment–I thought I was going to learn something new! What these sources don’t tell you–and here’s a huge gap in biblical understanding–is what the bible says about picking up dates. It is to this topic we must now turn. Water holes, that is, the singles bars of the bible–what do they teach men about dating[1]?

1. Jacob goes to a well, hangs out with some guys while waiting for the women, does some recon intelligence work. Rachel shows up with some sheep and Jacob jumps up, moves the stone covering the mouth of the well and then he waters her sheep. Next, he grabs her, kisses her and … cries. Bible Dating Tips: Be physical–for instance, chicks dig it when you up and heave a boulder off the mouth of the water hole (wear a hernia belt). Get physical–smooch as early as possible, even before you say a single word to her. And, be in touch with your feelings–shed some tears if you want to. It’s okay. Especially effective after a liplock. (Gen. 29)

2. Moses goes to a well and, like that guy in the “Transporter” movies, beats the stuffing[2] out of some juvenile delinquent sheperd troublemakers and, voila, ends up with 7 babes to choose from. Bible Dating Tips: Dating is not a contact sport, it’s a hitting sport–it’s okay to throw some elbows if necessary to get rebound position. Whipping up on the competition is way better than tossing around a big boulder. Also, when you go to a well looking for women, 7:1 beats 1:1 odds any day, any time. (Ex. 2)

3. Kish says to his son Saul, “[A]rise, go and look for the asses.” Saul goes to a well and meets up with several maidens. So far so good–you can almost hear a ZZ Top song in your head reading along there. But then Saul starts asking for help in finding lost donkeys, completely missing the whole point! The girls all just stand there, looking him over, speechless, until one of them sighs and comes up with some directions, and off goes Saul again, preoccupied with searching for mere beasts of burden. And, he doesn’t even offer the women a drink! Bible Dating Tips: Focus man! We’ve all been there. It’s easy to get your directions wrong, go off course. And, yes this is a cliche, but don’t … ever … ask … for directions. Ever. (1 Sam. 9)

Okay, I never said the bible would be a great dating guide for guys. Rest assured, however, if Joseph Smith were alive today producing the JST, I’m confident he would recognize this gaping hole in the scriptures and patch it up along the lines of the new Revolve New Testament, a version especially formatted for teenage girls. Says the publisher: “In focus groups, online polling, and one-on-one discussions, [we] found that the number one reason teens don’t read the Bible is that it is ‘too big and freaky looking.’” Their remedy? A New Testament in handy magazine format, a Christian Cosmo! Special features include, among others: Blabs (Q & A); Beauty Secrets; all of the books of the New Testament; and Guys Speak Out! I tell you this is going to be huge. Deseret Book should jump on the bandwagon now. Boy’s Life Book of Mormon? Seventeen D&C?[3] Before you know it kids will be tossing 4 glossy standard magazine works in a beach bag when they head for church–lose the dorky scripture tote bag! Guys, listen up–girls will love it.

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[1] This “meeting your woman at the well” type scene is used frequently in the bible–these are just a couple of examples. My favorite is when Jesus meets a woman at a well (Da Vinci Code readers take note). In this story, the ancient reader, no doubt well-versed in this type scene, is going to expect them to give each other some water and end up as a couple. There is indeed a discussion of marriage, says Jesus: “You are right in saying, `I have no husband’ for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now live with is not your husband.” The ancient reader probably got a kick out of that zinger. But that’s not what this scene is about because Jesus then offers her “living water.” Guess where this takes place? Jacob’s well. (John 4) The deeper I dig the more I find just how clever these biblical authors are.

[2] Actually, it only happens this way in the movie, a rare slight improvement on the book.

[3] Okay, that last title would just be wrong, and I’m not even an OBGYN.

Comments

  1. 4. Beware of women who constantly ask what the secret of your strength is.

    5. Avoid women with tent pegs.

  2. 6. Verify bride’s identity before marriage!

  3. 7. She can be an unbeliever as long as she’s an Egyptian hottie.

  4. Ed Snow says:

    I started to go with Ruth laying a Boaz’s feet as a way for women to take matters into their own hands, but I remembered Kevin’s old post on that topic and decided I wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole.

  5. Mark IV says:

    7. If you see Onan’s wife coming toward you, run the other way.

  6. If your son won’t leave the tent, send a servant to flash some bling at a hottie in a far away city.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    We all know that women go for the bad boy type, that “pisseth against a wall.”

  8. Ed Snow says:

    All good tips. Another:

    “There is a law irrevocably decreed that you’ll marry whoever you date–there’s no escaping it. Date a prostitute, marry a prostitute.” Hosea

    I’ve always wondered if there was a connection between Hosea’s prostitute wife Gomer and Gomer Pile, some subtext to the TV show I never quite understood.

  9. When I teach OT to a mostly conservative Christian class, I love getting to Hosea. Their eyes pop-out of their heads. “Marry a prostitute? Wha???? Does not compute. Does not compute.”

  10. The new Bible-zines were hilariously reviewed by Jana Riess recently on her blog, Review Revolution. http://janariess.typepad.com/
    When I sometimes think that Mormon publications dumb down the gospel, I can at least be reassured that we’re not the only church doing that.

  11. Mark IV says:

    Ed, I think it goes without saying that if Freud were alive today, he would have a field day with you. He would pay you to travel to his lectures with him, stand at his side, and serve as “Exhibit A”.

    Something I have alsays found odd about our dating culture is the idea that we sometimes find people with some marriage potential at church dances. Then I read Judges 21:21 and now I can see that we are just folowing scriptural precedent. But the Shiloh stake dances sound like they could have used a few more chaperones.

  12. Elouise says:

    Ed–Wow! Reading the Postum leaves in my cup, I foresee GREAT things ahead for you. To wit: killer screenplay that cross-cuts half a dozen stories and major characters around one focal point, the well;(a la Tarantino, but not new with him; decades ago there was a great French film called La Ronde with the same structure.) I see the headlines now: EDGAR SNOW’S ‘WOO-WOO AT THE WELL” FLOODS YOU WITH PASSION YOU NEVER FOUND IN THE BIBLE BEFORE! Hidden secrets of the scriptures revealed by the Snow Code! (Say it carefully or it sounds like “snow cone,” on which Ed is also an expert.)

  13. Kevin Barney says:

    When I was young I was quite the dancer. My style was more, uh, energetic than was typical in church settings. I had at the ready my defense, from 2 Samuel 6:14:

    And David danced before the LORD with all his might….

  14. Ed Snow says:

    Mark IV–my wife has a master’s in clinical psych. I’m her future PhD dissertation.

    Elouise–great idea. I’m in favor of bringing back the sand and sandal epics of yesteryear. I’m thinking “Ben-Hur” meets “Sideways.”

    Kevin, I feel your pain. My excuse for being dance-impaired is that in the 70s who the heck could dance to Stairway to Heaven, Freebird, Carry On my Wayward Son, Funeral for a Friend, et al, anyway. Classic rock posed certain tempo changing, foot/eye co-ordination difficulties. 60s rock was more dance friendly, usually had a stead beat, and you could protest to it.

  15. Ed Snow says:

    Plagarism correction–my comment about 60s rock I ripped off from somewhere recently, but can’t remember. NY Times Magazine, maybe?

  16. Ed, I’d say a critical point is to never stop courting your wife.

    Never.

  17. Seth R. says:

    Dunno Stephen,

    Neither I nor my wife really do it that much. Works for us fine though. In our case, personal connection seems to trump ritual.

    Not that my wife doesn’t bug me for roses on all the appropriate holidays … and encourage random acts of romance …

    ….

    I meant flowers guys! So just cut that line of thought right now!

  18. Ed Snow says:

    Stephen M, our date night usually consists of the following:

    “The kids are finally asleep. Let’s put in the ‘Vanity Fair’ DVD from Netflix.”

    “OK.”

    Wife falls asleep. “Yahoooo!” I say, jump up and put in “Transporter 2″–then I fall asleep.

    I feel prophetic … when the scriptures of the 21st Century are written, THIS will be the type scene for husband/wife date night.

  19. Following up, but not adding any of my own personal experiences to this thread, here’s the permalink to Jana R’s post on the Nelson Bible-zines – the url I posted in #10 sends you to newer material. Try this one if you’re interested…

    http://janariess.typepad.com/reviews/2005/11/becoming_what_e.html

  20. Ed Snow says:

    I just came home from a Bat Mitzvah, which I’ll be posting about later.

    No bible-zines there. The bar and the bat both chanted Torah in Hebrew, from a scroll no less, then each gave a modern day commentary on passages from Leviticus, likening it unto us. It was stunning.

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