Often Christian girls are told that their role in dating is simply to wait to be pursued. They are led to believe that there is nothing women can or should do to improve their dating life. Just have faith and wait on God’s timing. Whatever you do, “don’t chase boys!” Recently I read a church singles blog that went so far as to shame a girl for “taking matters into her own hands” simply because she wanted to tell a guy that she liked him.
In many ways there was a lot I and other single girls like about this myth: I have no responsibilities. I don’t have to take any risks. I just need to be myself and God will ensure someone will notice me. And being shy means that I am a ‘good’ Christian girl.
However, for me, as the years passed, I wondered if this was true. Was it biblical to simply wait and pray? It seemed that in every other area of life God requires my active participation. Finding a job, making friends, doing ministry, and going to seminary all required me to take some action. So why was dating any different? If I did something beyond praying and waiting, did that mean I was taking over for men and sinfully thwarting God’s design for marriage?
Looking to scripture, I saw, there are women who we admire, who take active roles particularly in the way they relate to men. Ruth is probably the best example. She perfumes herself, dresses up and then presents herself at Boaz’s feet after he climbs into bed. That seems a lot bolder than telling a guy that you like him! And scripture applauds her, it does not condemn her.
There are times when God calls us to patiently wait on his timing. But perhaps like Ruth, God wants you to take some action. This is not unspiritual. In fact, it may require greater faith in God for you to take a risk, be vulnerable and perhaps learn some new skills that will help you better relate to those around you. Perhaps instead of telling women to simply wait and pray, we need to be teaching women how to be open, friendly, and available, so that men are more encouraged to step out and ask girls out?
For myself, I fell for this myth hook, line, and sinker, for two reasons. One, I was shy with guys and stepping out was uncomfortable and scary. So I loved the idea that I would just have to be myself and someone would notice me. I believed God loved me and would simply give me the desires of my heart.
Secondly, I was fearful of becoming a woman who controlled her spouse. I thought by waiting for this courageous pursuer the church kept talking about, I would get a guy strong enough to fix my tendency to control. Along the way, God graciously reminded me that my hope for a great marriage was not in finding the perfect guy to counter-balance my sinful tendency. My hope is in Christ who loves me despite my sin, and who promises to day-by-day make me more like himself as I walk with him daily. It is through him that I find the greatest hope for a happy and blessed marriage, not by following a man-made dating prescription.
How about you? Are you falling for this myth? What would it mean for you to become more active in your dating life?