I just read your article “How can I be sure your relationship advice is actually biblical?” One thing that you didn’t touch on is a woman pursuing a man. Is that unbiblical for her to let him know she likes him? I’ve been told that it is and that it sets up a bad pattern (the woman leading) for the rest of the relationship. I have to admit that is the case with my own parents, unfortunately.
What about Ruth and Boaz, though? Or Abigail who ended up marrying David? Yes, they are both exceptions, and as you said, there aren’t that many examples of women leading, but they are there, and we don’t have a lot of details on background stories such as if the girl let the guy know she liked him. In Ruth’s case, she let him know her wishes then let him take care of everything else, letting him lead. What do you think?
You’ve asked whether it’s biblical for a girl to “pursue” a guy, but Scripture doesn’t speak to modern pursuit per se, given its cultural context. But it does speak to two things that I think will help us get clarity on what a girl can do to move forward a biblical relationship: (1) the celebration of marriage and (2) male leadership.
First, Scripture celebrates marriage, and that’s where you can start. From Genesis to Revelation, including the whole book of Song of Solomon, God celebrates marriage as the ultimate illustration of the relationship between Christ and His Church.
In our present hour of history, the idea of marriage is becoming less celebrated. While there are pockets of “revival” here and there, marriage is generally in decline and needs cheerleaders.
Two things come to mind as I think of celebrating marriage: talking about it and putting yourself around those who share your marriage values.
Honoring marriage in your conversation with guys helps move it to the forefront of a guy’s mind.
I like how Candice did this with Steve when they were friends by simply finding ways to work marriage into their conversation in creative and non-threatening ways. You’re not necessarily talking about your personal marriage with this guy, but about the biblical idea of it. The topic itself is everywhere in our lives and in the news and in the culture. It shouldn’t be too difficult to work into a conversation.
In addition to verbalizing your celebration of marriage, you can also place yourself in the midst of people who celebrate marriage. This goes for churches and individuals.
I think it was key that Candice spent time around the Morkens, a couple who highly value biblical marriage. Where they were, marriage would be honored, making it more likely that those in their midst would honor it as well. Candice positioned herself well by being in their sphere of influence, because guys in that sphere were hearing the same message and getting it in their minds and hearts.
An environment where marriage is a hot topic and is celebrated is a “furnace” for producing marriage-minded guys and girls. So take the initiative and try to find and/or foster such an environment wherever the Lord has you.
And now for male leadership. You want a guy who understands God’s design for him to lead and to love as Christ leads and loves so that the world might see in his family a picture — even though flawed — of how Christ loves the church. There are a couple of things you can do to help him.
First, by your words and actions you can make it clear that you expect it. Like I mentioned above on verbalizing your thoughts on marriage, you can also talk about your thoughts on men leading a relationship.
If you’re in a group, and the guy you’re interested in is in that group, and he hears you say, “I think a guy should lead in a relationship and initiate if he’s interested,” then you’ve made it clear. If that guy is interested in you, he now knows what to do.
Second, when the guy you’re interested in shows some leadership, any leadership, and you notice it, tell him. Acknowledge and affirm that in him. Say, “Hey, I really appreciate that you stepped up and volunteered to organize that outreach project. That took courage, and I appreciate your willingness to lead us in that. It’s refreshing to see a guy who will lead.”
You have no idea what that kind of affirmation is going to do for that guy, and it will cause him to want to lead again the next time. Responding to his leadership in one area will encourage him to lead in other areas, like relationships. Cheer him on.
Third, resist enabling passivity. If you’re attracted to a totally passive guy, beware. You’ll continually have to initiate, and he’ll let you, and as you’ve already observed with your parents, dysfunction will likely follow.
If he whines about leading and refuses to do so, that’s a major red flag. He’ll let you mamma him for life, so don’t cater to it. He’ll be miserable, and you will be, too. Let him go.
Hope this advice from a guy gives you a few ideas on how you as a girl can nurture a biblical relationship and help it move forward.
Copyright 2011 John Thomas. All rights reserved.