- NOT EVERYONE WHO FINDS SOUGHT
- THE PROBLEM OF REAL MEN
- THE CAUSE
- INITIATING /= PURSUING /= LEADING
- LADIES TO PURSUE
- PURSUING, LEADING, AND SUBMISSION
- LOVE STORY AN ORCHESTRA
INITIATING /= PURSUING /= LEADING
Since dating wasn’t mentioned in the Bible, can we set our own rules today?
From tradition, and taking into account the conservative-ness of our church, Christians seem to have a common rule. Guys should initiate and pursue, ladies should wait and respond. This sort of rule, I think, comes from the fact that the Bible says that men should lead and wives should submit. (But this doesn’t mean that women should just stay passive, and should follow everything what the man says. Well this would cover another topic, so let’s go back to pursuing.)
Yes, we are encouraged to date to marry. (Let us just accept this as our assumption because again, as to why this is important covers another topic). And so in dating, we should already be exercising the leadership of a man as preparation for marriage. Yet we commonly have a misconception, which we sometimes do not realize: the one who initiates should pursue, and gets to lead in the relationship.
This concept is being overly used, or being overly applied in dating. Just because men are the leaders (specifically in marriage and household), they should be the one who does the initiative and work, all the time, and ladies are only expected to wait and then respond. Yet, this is does not apply to every relationship.
The problem is we equate initiating, and pursuing with leading. Think about a group with members who wholly submit to their leader, but also gives great suggestions that even surpasses the leader’s, and could rebuke the leader when they think what he’s doing for the group is wrong, or lesser than what they’re capable of doing. This could show us that not all the time, his [the leader] is the pursuit and initiation. To pursue is to seek to attain something you desire. To lead is to guide, and in marriage, with a goal that your relationship would be God-centered and God-honoring, and that both of you and everyone in your household will draw closer to God.
If God would move only a man’s heart to initiate in a relationship, then should He have instilled in Boaz’s mind His plans for them, and made Boaz be bold and brave to go and ask Ruth to make her his wife? I do not know how that would have happened, but if He really designed every man to be the pursuer and initiator, then we could imagine it to be somewhere near to that situation. However, it was clearly not what the history tells us.
Pursuing, dating, and marriage are not a universal experience, and don’t have a general guidelines. For one, each person has different personalities. Some women are braver (which depends as to how you perceive and define bravery; let us consider the personalities like women who are not afraid to speak up) than some men. Another factors are we all have different types of upbringing, we’ve undergone different situations that shaped us to who we are today, and we also live in different environments that has a huge effect to our being, personalities, and temperaments.
There can be a situation where the lady waited for a guy she wanted. However that guy never considered going into a relationship. Well, if she continues on waiting, nothing would happen, unless God would move the guy’s heart and let him notice, say for example, in a dream, about her, so that he could pursue her, or God would use another person to let them meet. Now if that lady’s major temperament is sanguine, then there is a greater probability (than the guy’s possibility to speak) to confess and pursue. Another situation is if that guy can really really be shy for some reasons.
God gives us the freedom to choose and the free will to act. But so if none of them will act, should God make a way such that external force then will bring them together? This here is what we sometimes call God-intervention. In the end, either that will happen, or there should be a change with their personalities, if ever God wills them to be together.
We cannot be sure but this here is sure: God is sovereign. We cannot know all His ways. His thoughts are higher than ours. We cannot limit, define, and describe all of who He is and what He has in store for us. If it would be the best situation that God will be glorified, then it will happen.
Therefore, we cannot expect every man and woman to follow a general and common rule, or how you would call them, an unspoken guidelines in dating and/or marriage.