I feel for you ladies. I really do. Dating is particularly a little harder for you. For me, dating is relatively easy. I just have to pick a woman. Granted, I might be rejected when I ask someone out, but for the most part, I have control in choosing who I ask. You don’t. You kind of just have to wait and see who will pick you.
Where it all got messed up …
If dating is the pursuit of marriage, then we can look at marriage itself as a model of how to approach dating.
In Genesis 2, the Lord made Adam first and gave him authority to name all the animals. Ephesians 5 says that the Lord gave the husband headship, and that his wife is to submit to him. This is not to say Adam (or men) was better or smarter; it’s just how He created the role of man to function.
If we look deeper into these passages, we see that God has given man the role to initiate, provide and protect. But as quickly as God made Adam the initiator, the fall damaged the way the man was originally designed to function in a relationship.
I believe this is why you ladies have a harder time finding a mate.
When the role of a man in a dating relationship operates in a biblical way, it should remove confusion. He was meant to be confident in his identity in Christ. And with that confidence, he was created to boldly search out the treasure that you are. Now dating is arranged through random texts and phone calls with deep questions. Hanging out and flirtatious encounters all happen without the guy ever having to make you his girlfriend. Why? All for the sake of feeling you out. It’s like being in a relationship without the commitment. I know this happens because I’ve heard many of my close lady friends complain. I also know this because I know guys who can’t make up their minds, so they choose many to feel out before committing.
You’re not married yet.
Although we can set dating expectations by looking at a marriage relationship, it’s very important to know that you’re not married. You should pursue dating like marriage — initiating, providing guidance and protecting their best interest. But you must remember you’re not under the same covenant. You don’t have to submit to him. I’ve known too many women who have said, “Well, I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’m just going to have to trust him.”
Let’s clear things up.
Whether you’re a man or woman, there are two things you need to know.
1) God is not the God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). If you’re confused, that’s a problem. You are to seek clarity. This is everyone’s responsibility. Men as initiators and leaders should set the example by going first in removing confusion.
2) Love must be sincere (Romans 12:9). The dictionary defines sincerity as “free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings.” As believers, our motives are to be positive, and to take every precaution not to mislead anyone in any kind of way, because we know that this would be hurtful and damaging.
Ladies, when a man is leading you, you should be able to be worry-free that he would cause any confusion or harm.
Ask a dang question!
Ladies, if you are confused by what’s going on, ask him what he’s doing. Even if you think you can interpret his actions, even if you assume they are harmless. If you notice his actions have changed toward you, I suggest saying something like this:
“Hey, so I may be reading into this wrong, but I noticed that you’ve recently been treating me differently. I take those actions as a sign that you have interest in pursuing something beyond friendship; am I correct in that assumption?”
“So we’ve been going out one-on-one for quite a while, and I want to know if this is going anywhere. I take this as being more than friends, and I want to know if you have intentions to vocalize that interest.”
Scary stuff, huh? But you know what? The ball is in his court. He has to decide. He has to lead and initiate the direction of that relationship. You’re not emasculating him or initiating in any kind of way that diminishes his role by asking a clarifying question. All you’re doing is asking him to remove confusion.
Depending on the depth of his understanding of the Word of God, his reaction could be positive or negative. But you’re not responsible for how he reacts. Let him own that. What’s important is that you’ve honored God. And part of honoring God is honoring yourself. I promise you that any man who’s worth keeping will respect you for asking.
And ask a question.