There comes a time in every young person’s life when a parent or guardian gives them “The Talk”. You know, the birds and the bees, the fruits and the trees, whatever you call it. There always comes a time in everyone’s lives when they learn all the ins and out of how to properly pick produce.
I don’t quite remember when my parents told me, but I had to probably be in middle school. My mom would drag me around the produce section of the grocery store and inform me on the best ways to select fruits and veggies.
She would pull a bundle of bananas close, look at the colors, do a bit of math to determine when she needed them ripe, and would pick the yellow ones with a tiny tint of green. She would amble over to the apples and start putting Granny Smiths into grocery bags. She looked discerningly at the skin, looking for any bruises or blemishes. If there were any holes, they go back on the pile. We pulled from the top to avoid the bruised ones on the bottom.
When she got to the cantaloupe things got weird. She would hold it up to her ear, knock a few times, scratch the stem hole, smell it, and after being satisfied by her series of tests, put the fruit in the cart.
After seeing these things done for years by my parents, I have adopted the same techniques when I pick fruit. Just the other day I spent a solid three minutes comparing strawberries.
The same principles we use in picking fruit are sadly being applied to our dating practices.
We go on a date, and just like the bananas, we look over the potential mate in front of us gaging their ripeness. Are they mature enough? Are they ready for a commitment? Is marriage on their mind? Are they a bit too green from the mission field? We look at others’ “ripeness” and try to determine where they are on our subjective scales of marriage preparedness. If the blind date doesn’t prove “fruitful” we pass and reach for the next bundle of bananas, hoping these ones are a better fit for our marital timelines.
Many of us resort to picking dates like we do apples; from a big bin with superficial reasoning. Instead of digging around for apples, we swipe right or left. When we look at an apple, we check for size, color, blemishes, and other physical factors. When we hop on Tinder, we swipe faster than we can see. Wrong hair color? Swipe left. Wrong skin color? Swipe left. Not tall enough? Swipe left. Acne? Swipe left. Bruises or other visible signs of inward strife or struggle? Swipe left.
We do this until we come across the “perfect” specimen. We bag a few, take them home, and eventually come back for more. Sadly, the ones that don’t meet our criteria filter to the bottom. Too often we look on the outward appearance of those we date and make the choices of eternal consequence on that alone.
As we begin to narrow down our search for eternal companions, we take a bit more time. Just like the cantaloupe, we slow down and work more methodically. We inspect it, look on the outward appearance, but don’t finish there. Everyone knows the outside isn’t the ONLY thing that matters (in cantaloupes AND in relationships). So we take some time tapping and knocking, trying to understand the inner workings of the person we have picked. When picking a cantaloupe, a bit of practice is required. You can’t simply run in knocking melons around when you don’t know what to listen for. It requires some effort. Remember, by their fruits ye shall know them.
Dating for the most part, should not be similar to picking produce.
We shouldn’t be gaging someone’s preparedness for the eternities on our first impression of them. Our search for marital companions shouldn’t be happening in the digital bins of Tinder, nor should it be based on split second reactions to physical appearance. The great “Where’s Waldo” of eternity proportions needs to happen with patience and effort. With a bit of time and discernment applied, dating can offer up the fruits of the everlasting covenant, but only if you date like you pick cantaloupes.