Responding to Four Questions about “Women’s Role in Dating”

RESPONDINGTOwomenasresponder

Last week I wrote a blog.

This isn’t unusual. I write them all the time and love to do so. Most of these blogs are publicized journal entries from that day or week or a build up of what God is teaching me and mostly they are published as accountability for myself and then (hopefully) as encouragement to others.

But the crazy thing about last week’s blog is the response it garnered. Instead of my faithful 75ish readers checking it out, I kept getting emails from WordPress saying my stats were “booming” and “going through the roof.” It blows my mind to know that more than 20,000 people came to the blog within four days time.

The Internet is truly remarkable.

However, following a thorough reading of every comment, a challenging and encouraging conversation with my pastor/boss, and seeking our faithful Father, I believe it necessary to write a follow up to “Waiting and Responding: The Role of Women in Dating.

ADDRESSING THREE QUESTIONS:

(These answers were given in response to comments or messages on Facebook.) 

“What about Ruth?”

Oh how I love the story of Ruth and the stunning way God united her and Boaz as well as the beautiful picture of redemption found within those four short chapters. In her case, however, I would say that she still didn’t initiate anything with Boaz because it was actually Naomi who told Ruth to go to the fields and that he was the kinsmen redeemer and then Naomi pushed Ruth to go to the threshing floor. Ruth was still following the (unconventional) wisdom of a spiritual leader. That’s where I would make the distinction between lots of girls/women I know nowadays who fling themselves on a lovely man in order to quench an inner thirst they have for acceptance, love, validation or the like. Needs which we know can only be fully met in Jesus.

“Other than Adam and Eve, where are your references to Bible verses showing that this is the biblical way to date?”

This is such a great point. I was not clear on the biblical support for my argument.

When you look at the whole of Scripture it’s difficult to find chapter and verse that booms: “Behold, I am God, and this ____ is the way to date.” It’s just not there. But, from cover to cover, using biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, we can see several connecting points. Starting with Adam and Eve being the first marriage. Eve was created in response to Adam’s need with the purpose of being his helper (Gen. 2:18). Then we see Christ, as the true and better Adam, pursuing His bride the church and then we, because of Christ’s drawing, respond to Him (John 6:44; Rom. 5:6-8; Eph. 5:22-33). This is my opinion (little o) of the way a woman is to respond to man because that’s how I see Scripture defining marriage (and what is dating if it is not practice and preparation for marriage?)—the man is to be the head of the home, just as Christ is the head of the church. The man leads the marriage not because he is superior to woman but because they have different, God-given roles, and I believe the same is true for dating. If he is going to lead in marriage then he should lead the dating relationship.

themanleads

“So should the girl never, ever let her feelings be known? Should she be so guarded that she never even hints that she likes a guy?”

When I say “do nothing” that does not mean to imply that women cannot be friends with guys, because that would be contradicting the Bible on so many different levels. I am grateful beyond words for the solid brothers in Christ God has given us women to learn from, be friends with and goof around with. That said, I believe there can be a real danger in girls purposefully placing themselves in contexts (outside church, school, and places where they must see them) where they might see the object of their affection because that can be manipulative and could lead to more heartache if the guy doesn’t respond the way she wants him to (more about this later).

When I advise women to do “nothing” it’s in the context of them asking me what they should do when they like a guy more than a friend. What this means is they want to know how to get a guy to like them back (subtle, mostly unintentional, unconscious manipulation, which is a result of the fall). In the cases of when a girl likes or thinks she might like a boy as a potential husband, it’s clear that a friendship is already in progress (at least it should be in my opinion). My advice is for the girl to change nothing in their relationship (except guard her heart a little tighter in case her feelings are not reciprocated and be sober-minded [1 Peter 5:8], meaning unclogged with emotions) and to pursue a greater depth in her relationship with God, who is her ultimate Husband (Isaiah 54:5).

isaiah54-5

HOWEVER, waiting for a guy—and I’ll go so far to say even guarding your heart and emotions—isn’t the same thing as going all Fort Knox and putting up an impenetrable wall toward someone you actually have romantic feelings for. No, I think the friendship should continue and that the girl can and should be open to the guy. Which includes, for me, letting him lead the relationship.

There is a big difference between initiating a conversation and asking a dude out on a date. And as a few readers have pointed out, God made us women with different personalities, some are direct and decisive and extremely straightforward. However, just because we have a strong, direct and decisive genetic makeup doesn’t mean God made us that way to be controlling or forceful. In my opinion (little o), asking for the dance but promising to let them lead can be a slippery slope that could (could, definitely doesn’t mean it always does) lead to more aggressive controlling tactics (even the subtle, unintentional, unconscious manipulation mentioned earlier) if that personality and strong will isn’t brought under the authority of God’s. But alas, that is the call of Christ: it’s the call to come and die (Luke 9:23-25).

THIS BRINGS US TO THE MAIN QUESTION:

“What do I do if I like a guy, I do nothing, but neither does he?”

Oh the heartache that comes with this question.

In this case, and with Bible in hand, my answer is familiar to those in the evangelical world.

Surrender.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:6-8, ESV

luke9-23-25

Humble yourselves.
Cast all your anxieties on Him.
Be sober-minded.
Deny yourself.
Don’t seek to save your life.

These are intense, hard commands (not suggestions) that apply to every single aspect of the life of a Christ-follower.

Impossible commands were it not for Jesus.

At this point, an overwhelming surge of thankfulness should envelop you because of the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In His joy, a holy, perfect, uncreated God created man in His beautiful image. He placed Adam and Eve in a stunning paradise and gave them authority over His creation. They had unbroken, flawless communication and relationship with their Maker. But instead of obeying Him, the God of life, they choose death (Gen. 3).

And Scripture says that as a result we also died (Rom. 5:12).

Fellowship broken.
Curse given.
We’re dead before we’re born.

We need a new birth (John 3:1-21).

Sin has us trapped, enslaved and headed for eternal destruction.
But how can we, imperfect and sin-stained people, have restored relationship to this holy and righteous God?
If we are to have any hope, something has to be done to break the curse.

Enter Jesus.

The spotless Son of the Most High came to earth and took on human flesh. The Uncreated became the created and humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-11). More than that, it was the will of God to crush Him. Why? For us.

2corinthians5-21

Bearing our sin, griefs and sorrows and bridging the gap between God and man, Jesus willingly and joyfully set His face to the cross and, as the Father turned His face away from His most Beloved Son, drank the cup of God’s wrath we deserved and boldly declared “it is finished.”

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, 
In my place condemned He stood; 
Sealed my pardon with His blood. 
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
-Man of Sorrows! What a Name (Hallelujah! What a Savior!), Phillip Bliss

The fellowship that was broken at the fall in the garden of Eden can be restored through repenting and turning from our disgusting sins (including clinging to our morality) and surrendering heart, mind and soul to Jesus Christ.

He gave all, He asks all.

“For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven…” -Colossians 1:19-23, ESV

What does this have to do with dating and relationships?

Everything. Because as Christians, the Gospel is to shape everything we do. It is the lens by which we are to view the world. It is the filter through which we are to process everything. It is our life source. Our hope. Our victory. Our joy.

So when a girl likes a guy and God seemingly shuts the door, what is she to do?

Surrender those longings to the One who died to fulfill her most intense desires.

thegospel

Elisabeth Elliot says it this way,

“God gives us material for sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice makes little sense to others, but when offered to Him is always accepted….I have tried to explain it sometimes to people who are lonely and longing for love. ‘Give it to Jesus,’ I say. The loneliness itself is material for sacrifice. The very longings themselves can be offered to Him who understands perfectly. The transformation into something He can use for the good of others takes place only when the offering is put into His hands.

What will He do with these offerings? Never mind. He knows what to do.” -Passion and Purity, p. 66-67

So may every desire, longing and yearning of our hearts be offered as a sacrifice to the One who sacrificed Himself for us.

May we follow the example of our Savior and say to the Father, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

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16 thoughts on “Responding to Four Questions about “Women’s Role in Dating”

  1. Trevor Scott says:

    I can see you have strong faith, and that’s good. But I think you are over-analyzing the Bible. Saying women shouldn’t initiate is like saying they shouldn’t vote. God gave us free will, and it is not sinful for a woman to pursue.

    • Hi Trevor! It’s great to hear from you again. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

    • RJ Clarke says:

      Trevor, free will is what gives us all the ability to choose what we want, regardless of if it’s sinful or unhealthy for us. By no means is she saying that it’s sinful for women to initiate, but rather, it could turn out being unhealthy for either role (at least, that was how I interpreted it).

      From the male perspective, it might be tough to be a shy, meek, indecisive male in a relationship. Not saying it’s “wrong”, it’s just unnatural, in so, it isn’t meeting the intrinsic needs of a man to feel respected and admired.

      So often, if a man can’t get enough courage to initiate with a woman, one of 2 things can happen:

      1. He’s not interested in her enough (and the woman shouldn’t hurt herself by initiating)

      2. He’s erring on the side of too shy and insecure about the confrontation, and not willing to take the risk (a woman initiating isn’t going to resolve that insecurity, she’s only doing herself a disservice by telling him she’s not worth the risk, and no longer needs to take any risks, because she will be)

      So what I’m trying to say, is it’s not necessarily “wrong” for a woman to initiate, but it might not be in her best interest when it comes to guarding her heart or setting herself up for a satisfying, rewarding, healthy relationship.

      • Trevor Scott says:

        I do not think it would be harmful nor unnatural for a woman to initiate. My mom pursued my dad & they have a great relationship.

      • Trevor Scott says:

        Well actually they pursued eac other about the same but she asked him first to go on a date. I think y’all are trying to over emphasize gender roles & trying to make the Bible say something that it does not.

      • RJ Clarke says:

        I think you have a perception that I have an extremist view. It’s more like….I’d rather hire a woman to watch my child, and a man to chop firewood for me….not because it’s impossible for the other gender to fulfill that role, just because in MOST scenarios, it functional a safer, more reliable choice. (And yes, women can chop wood, and men can watch children, but the point being, we have dominant instincts for a reason…because they better fit the roles God placed us in).

        I don’t think initial initiation is a bad thing for a woman. But in most cases, I’d argue it’d be better to “show you’re interested” subtly so that he can follow through, rather than to be forward and ask a man out on a date, tell him you have a crush on him, confess your love, etc….Which, some guys are waiting for girls to hint at interest before they jump in, so they have a slight confidence boost.

      • Thanks for taking the time to leave such a solid and wisdom-filled response, RJ. I appreciate your insight and perspective!

      • Trevor Scott says:

        No I agree with you about women watching children and men chopping firewood. I’ve just never thought of it as unnatural for a woman to ask a man on a date.

  2. […] Last week I wrote a blog. This isn't unusual. I write them all the time and love to do so. Most of these blogs are publicized journal entries from that day or week or a build up of what God is teac…  […]

  3. […] In response to sweet and thoughtful comments and criticism from many readers about this post, I wrote another blog addressing the four main questions that arose after this blog was published. Read RESPONDING TO FOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT “WOMEN’S ROLE IN DATING” here. […]

  4. John Smith says:

    The book “Passion and Purity” is full of innacuracies and misconceptions. I’m Catholic, and the reason we have a Pope and hierarchy is to prevent people from coming up with their own crazy, illogical interpretations of the Bible. You have been misled by Elliot, and now you are misleading other girls.

    • I wouldn’t go as far as telling her she is misleading other girls simply because her way or belief on particular subject doesn’t line up to yours. Furthermore, your comment involving your Catholic faith wasn’t needed and in fact ultimately reflects the sad and brutal truth in the history of what we know and choose to believe is God’s word. Let’s be honest your statement of the Catholic church not having more than one opinion is far stretched as well. Especially when considering “Catholicism” and “Catholic” in this sense refer to the practices of several Christian churches. It’s always nice to be mindful of our words don’t you think sir?

      Furthermore, Sophia I’ve truly enjoyed your insight and opinion of modern day dating as a Christian. While it’s somewhat rare to find being practiced it would definitely benefit so many young ladies to read and apply the guidelines you have stated. I think society has allowed the views of gender roles to not only be down played but somewhat frowned upon if you partake or believe in having them in your relationship. I’m one who also believes that God has made and implied that there is a distinct role that the woman and the man should have. It’s plays a vital part in what I look and pray for in husband even. I’m going to follow and look forward to reading more of your post!!
      Xo

      Mallory

  5. Iona says:

    Ok 1: I find it…amusing that only guys have commented on this article that seems to be meant for women
    2: I whole heartedly agree with you Sophie, I think the man should be the initiator and I think men and women both need to be careful about the way they date
    3: I think you’re right about dating being practise for marriage
    4: Anyone who wants more information about dating in a way that pleases God should read this book by Eric and Leslie Ludy called When God Writes Your Love Story. It’s just life changing, valuable stuff and it’s for guys and girls
    Thanks Sophie!

    • Thanks for your encouraging and helpful comment, Iona! When God Writes Your Love Story was extremely helpful to me in high school. I need to go back and read it again! Thanks again!

  6. […] written quite a bit on dating and marriage, but here’s the reality: I know nothing. Really. I can talk about singleness all day long and […]

  7. LG says:

    Sophie, you have a lovely appreciation for Christ and for truth. I have been reading this in preparation for talking with teenage girls at my church about relationships and purity. Thanks so much for studying the Bible and writing this!

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