It’s your Sex-in-the-City-style brunch the morning after a date, and you’re pouring out the details faster than the mimosas. Your date was handsome, funny and cute and everything seemed to go smoothly, but at the end of the night he simply said, “I’ll keep in touch.” Your heart sank.

“What’s up with the ‘I’ll call you’ routine?” you ask your friends.

Let’s be honest; you know their responses already:

  • “He’s playing hard to get. He doesn’t want to seem too into you too early into the relationship.”
  • “Play it cool. He’s definitely your type, and you don’t want to scare him away by acting too desperate.”
  • “If he sees you flirting with his friend, he’ll realize what he’s missing and definitely start to pursue you more!”

And men can be just as encouraging of bad dating habits:

  • “Don’t call her right away. You want to keep her guessing!”
  • “You don’t want her getting clingy, so don’t show too much interest right off.”
  • “She’s your type, but play the field, man!”

Your friends mean well and while this advice may have been encouraging when you were in college, as a marriage-minded adult, it simply doesn’t work. If you’re dating for marriage, you need to embrace a paradigm shift in your dating life.

Instead of your old way of “mystery dating” (which is based on superficialities and without a clear direction), imagine this scenario:

You decide to meet a promising date for coffee (instead of a long dinner date). You already know they’re marriage-minded from their online profile and you have a great conversation. Instead of focusing on flirting, you ask important questions about each other’s personalities and marriage vision.

Since you’re having a meaningful conversation about things that matter, you quickly identify that some of your values or goals are mismatched (or maybe the chemistry just isn’t there). “It was great meeting you,” you tell your date, “but I don’t think our values or vision quite align. I’m really committed to [fill in the blank].” Or “I genuinely enjoyed our conversation, but I just don’t see a future together.”

Being open, honest and discerning on a first date means you get to bypass day-after dissections and move on to find your match with confidence. Enjoy the freedom of purposeful dating for marriage!