Something is only awkward when we brand it as awkward.(Ooops! Wrong kind of awkward.)
For those who have not chosen recreational dating and desire to have God-honoring relationships with the opposite sex, we often don't know how to traverse through the awkwardness in guy/girl interaction.
An invisible barrier surrounds all things "guys and girls." Certainly there should be boundaries. But they should be appropriate ones. I think we've had a knee jerk reaction. Since the modern dating system has done away with any discretion, we have gone to the opposite extreme. We see the world's system rife with improper conversation, immature behavior, inappropriate physical touch and body language and so we vow to be nothing like that.
But we are all brothers and sisters in Christ! Think of how you relate to flesh brothers. With ease, relaxed, respectful, yet comfortable love. Granted there is a difference in flesh brothers and Christ brothers. But it's the same idea. We know we aren't going to marry our biological brothers, and have found a comfortable, yet loving way to converse. And they see your love because it is genuine. The same rule should apply to brothers in Christ.
Yet we've created this awkward distance that makes even a casual conversation between the opposite sex conjure whispers and assumptions that something is 'going on' and start elbowing our neighbor and giving each other 'that' knowing look. Stop it!
(Or how about conferences? I recently went to one and got asked probably five times upon returning..."Sooo, did you meet anyone?" People, the word "conference" is not code name for 'bumping-into-awesome-guys-and-starting-relationships'. (OK I personally know of someone who met her husband at a conference but that's beside the point. :))
So what is the solution to this conundrum? Well I don't pretend to have the answer by any means, but I will share some observations and how I've begun to come out of my awkward shell.
#1: God did not want man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Therefore woman was created. We were created to be companions to one another. There are two degrees of companionship. friendship, and marriage. There is a giant difference in the two. And only through scripture will we learn the difference. A good place to start is in Titus 1 & 2.
#2: God has your future planned out. He has your spouse predestined, and the precise time you will meet them. So it's not up to you to 'catch' a spouse. We shouldn't worry about what we look like in front of guys and girls or be consumed with the desire to get married. We can glory in the place God has us right now and love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Consider Scripture's command to love one another with honor and respect:
"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. "Romans 12:10
"Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more."
1 Thessalonians 4:8-10
"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God." 1 Peter 1:22-23
So you don't have to look, act, or talk a certain way in order to land a spouse. You are most attractive when you embrace that uniqueness God gave you.
But maybe you feel as if you don't have enough to offer in relating to your brothers in Christ? Maybe that is where the awkwardness comes in? Coming up in part 2!