Monday, February 20, 2012

The Game Girls Are Made to Play

by Jeff Bethke

A lot of times we don’t necessarily think critically about how or why a biblical principle exists, but instead we just act upon assumption. I see this extremely true in regards to how girls approach the issue of guys “pursuing” them.

Generally speaking most girls have been taught--either through explicit teaching or assumed church culture--that it is wrong for them in any way to act interested in a guy until he has fully made known his intentions to that girl. I mean a Proverbs 31 women would never do that right?

Here’s how it usually goes: a girl is frustrated that no guy is pursuing her (which isn’t her fault, but rather due to the lack of faithful guys out there today), and so a well-meaning individual usually tries to console the girl by saying something like, “Oh honey, use this season as a time to be single and fully content in God.” Any of you ladies heard that before?

Now, while I agree with that to some extent, I can’t get over one glaring contradiction: Genesis 2:18. God declares it is “not good for man to be alone.” Have you ever let the reality of that verse sink in? Adam was in full, perfect, unaltered fellowship with God before sin, before hurt, and before suffering, and yet still “it was not good” that he was alone. Why? Because God created us in His image, and when a man and a woman come together we are more fully displaying and reflecting His triune nature than we can do when single.

Quickly, let me note that I’m not saying that you need a guy in order to be fulfilled or godly. Ladies, no guy can ever bear the weight of God or fulfill you like He can. Only Jesus saves, and sometimes He uses those single seasons (or single lifetimes for some) to painfully address the idolatry some have of finding “the one” that actually doesn’t exist.

But outside of that idolatry, when a woman knows her true identity, it is perfectly okay for her to recognize if she has God-given desire for an intimate relationship.

You may be thinking to yourself, that’s great advice Jeff, but how in the world do I do that practically? Obviously, since a romantic relationship is intended to reflect Christ and His Church (see Ephesians 5), a woman would be miscommunicating the nature of God if she were to actively pursue a man.

So how are you girls supposed to move forward? How do you deal with your desire to be in a relationship without the ability to make it happen for yourself? The short answer is this: put yourself in his way.

Don’t drive the car, but put yourself in the middle of the road, so when he is driving he won’t miss you (it’s exactly what Ruth did to Boaz in the Old Testament story). Also, feel free to engage the guy you’re interested in in a light hearted way to show him your interest.

I know for me, there was nothing more encouraging than when I started to pursue my girlfriend than to see the feelings reciprocated. When done properly, dating should be an awesome cycle of a guy pursuing and a girl responding, which in turns shows him she actually likes him, which gives him more confidence to pursue even harder, which leads to constant growth and a deeper relationship.

All in all, remember that it’s not evil or wrong to desire to be in a relationship. You were created for it, and it’s perfectly okay to live in that tension for a while until the right person comes along.

Agree or disagree? How does this impact your view of relationships and dating?

P.S. The winner of the Sea Roots She's A Gem Earrings is simplymerry...

Email natalie@wonderfullymade.org to get your beautiful new jewelry!

42 comments:

  1. Agreed! Dating/Courtship is a mirror picture of God and humanity: He pursues and we respond. That is how a relationship is built.

    I want to add though, and this is for the ladies, don't respond to a guy based on emotions or feelings. If a guy is "pursuing" you be honest with yourself; are you responding because you genuinely believe God may be sparking something there or because you enjoy the attention. We are responsible for guarding our hearts and the hearts of our brothers. Don't be a tease, making a brother stumble. "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him/her if a millstone were hung around his/her neck, and he/she were thrown into the sea." Matthew 9:42

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raquel, you are incredibly spot on! A very well articulated insight.

      Ladies. Listen up. A man of God wouldn't depreciate his identity in Christ by participating in social games which involve dishonoring his INTEGRITY & DIGNITY. This includes enjoyment over self-seeking attention or even teasing another men.

      I don't know how it works in the worldly society nowadays, but in the world that I live in, where God is my father and my friend, It's a huge deal breaker when one does not appreciate my integrity by seeking others approval or the needs of attention, I would stop my pursue straight away as my conviction would tell she’s not worth pursuing. There’s an obvious sign given; insecurity. It gives the idea that she still needs to learn more in God to acquire the necessary qualities in relationship. Sadly, I have seen this happened and I have seen a brother who stumbled as he didn’t guard his heart, luckily for him he recovered swiftly. But unfortunately for her, the collateral damage stays. Don’t let this happen to you.

      One thing you have to know that your man is aftering, is commitment. A man of god has only a space for one woman in his heart, that space is opened when he made up his mind to pursue you. If you want it, appreciate it. If you’re not ready, tell him you’re not ready. There’s nothing wrong of being not ready, he’ll try his best to help you to prepare. It’s a process that he is willing to partake on helping as he has integrity in you in the first place :)

      As much as you have hope for him, he has the same for you. God’s constantly telling him to be hopeful and not to give up on you. Maybe you're special? :) So don’t be afraid to say sorry, he’ll appreciate your honesty more than anything, he’ll understand and do the rest of the work. Being open and truthful is the key to a healthy friendship.

      Good luck walking in righteousness.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Gideon, it's good to get a man's perspective on these types of things.

      Delete
  2. Good thoughts, Jeff. Even though this was directed towards women, I was definitely encouraged. Any chance you could do a similar post for guys? I often get frustrated and give up on girls because I am constantly "friend zoned."

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree w raquel! Our actions shouldn't be based on feelings or emotions! its very important to guard our hearts! and its ok to test the spirits (1 john 4) to see whether they are true or not... to see if he is not only genuine but also a true follower of Christ! so many ppl know the language but don't love it! if he sees u as a daughter of our creator he will not put u in a position of compromise and will want to build u up! He won't wanna take Ur virtue but want to protect it!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was supose to say *live it.... not love it :p

      Delete
  4. I like that! -£!!£

    ReplyDelete
  5. ok yes easier said than done. sometimes when u show interest over a while the guy does not like you as much as before when u are playing hard to get. guys like more what they think they cant have. so its a delicate balance....sigh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are pursued by a guy and respond by showing your interest, and then suddenly he is no longer as interested in you because you are no longer "playing hard to get" is not a guy who is ready to be in a relationship or is a guy that is worth your time. Guys do take longer to mature, but I am sorry I do not believe that a MAN "likes more of what he thinks he can not have." If a Godly man is what you are looking for, he should not be one that wants to play and live by the games and rules of this world-- that kind of guy will only lead you to be unequally yoked. A mature Godly man who is seeking his "help mate" (Genesis 2:20) will be ready for a relationship... and not looking to play games. So take heart and be the woman with the qualities that you are looking for in a husband, and he will be drawn to you. Be like the young couple in Song of Solomon who pledge to be committed to their future spouse before they are even married:

      (Song of Solomon 8:6) Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

      Delete
    2. <3 this! So many guys out there that claim to be "Christian" yet play games of the world.I agree.

      Delete
    3. Agree, we need to pray for the men in this world.

      Delete
  6. I agree and I think this message should carry over into marriage too - more for the guys though. My husband stopped pursuing me shortly after we got married. It's heartbreaking - especially when every counselor out there tells me that I need to pursue him and then he'll return the favor. I just don't think it works that way (I've tried for one). My husband isn't a bad guy and I know he loves me even though he doesn't show it anymore. I think deep down he doesn't see the need to pursue what he already has. It has definitely put a strain on our marriage and my happiness.

    Guys just because you get the girl doesn't mean you stop pursuing her. How sad would it be if Christ stopped loving and pursuing us just because we've entered into that relationship with him. Women need to be constantly reassured of their husbands love - you wouldn't want her to give in to another man's pursuits would you? Christ continues to love and pursue us throughout our entire relationship with him. He knows there is another constantly vying for out attention. Remember, we love Him because He first loved us. It wasn't the other way around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. Jai - Or maybe, just maybe, your loving husband was FORCED to pretend to play this game where these "jungle men" are required to "hunt down" (pursue?) their women like predators, to prove their manhood, while the women test them and do nothing. And of course, you cannot LOWER yourself to pursue HIM( oh my God, and
      actually give him some,gulp, value?) because that would be wrong.Double standard,
      maybe?

      Delete
  7. I love this. It's similar to an old sermon by Matt Chandler. He reiterates that it's perfectly normal and biblical to desire a relationship. It's hard as a Christian woman to be out there and be single. I think it's one of the areas the church is lacking. But that's why I'm in prayer each day about what God has in store for me. He knows my desires, but above those, I want everything in my life to be used for His glory. I've seen a taste of that, and it's far better than anything else I've experienced. Faith. We have to have faith in His plan.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Check it: http://marshill.com/media/redeemingruth I just studied Ruth along with this series last summer with some women (mostly single and with one or two married women for oversight and input) at my church and that is one of the lessons I can't forget. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Agreed Jeff. Some very good points youve made here. I need some godly counsel on my situation. My husband and I have recently seperated. Not that we grown apart or that the feelings ever left for me but he desired someone else. I now am in a state of confusuion and heartache. I long to have a companion and mine dropped me like I was nothing more then dirt. All i hear now is the exact statements of which you said where "...its the time to be single and fully cntent with God". You hit the spot when saying that Jeff. Time will tell with His help to where I stand I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just found this blog and I am so glad I did! This post is very eye opening. I've adobted the idea of when a guy pursues me to act as if I didn't notice or whatever because us girls are "to not pursue" a man. This makes a lot more sense and is extremely helpful. God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Is it safe to say that we can trust God to write our love stories without having to put ourselves in the guy's path? Seems a bit like manipulation to me. I don't want that to be my story... of how I was strategic in getting a guy to notice me. I want a guy who likes me enough to pursue without having to give him hints that I like him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't advise being strategic since it is usually incredibly obvious and forward but you do need to be approachable and available.

      Delete
    2. It may not be that he doesn't like you enough, it may be that he doesn't want to bother you or waste your time, and if you give him nothing to go on he won't know the difference.

      Delete
    3. Agreed. I think that is trying to take control and make the situation what you want it to be. God created the universe and everything in it. I believe he can put something directly in front of you if it is meant to be. Not to say that you have to ignore the person, but I find when I start putting my hands in situations I mess up what God was working on.

      Delete
  12. I called my now husband after not speaking to him or seeing him for eight years! I was frustrated with my life at the time and though I was not living my life wholly for God, I prayed and asked for wisdom and he spoke to me that my future husband is someone I already know from my past. A few days later my mom called me and told me I should meet her realtors son...she didn't know I knew him, we had liked each other in high school eight years ago. I called information and we have been married almost 12 years with 4 beautiful children. My dad always told me it was wrong for a girl to call a boy but this time God had a plan.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So rich an insight. Thank you. It is so refreshing to hear a man articulate what is going on in his head. Too often the "experts" don't convey a sense of reality in their advice. Truly encouraged.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes! Very good points! Relationship is something really needing changes in the church. What I see are a bunch of people scared of "geeeting involved" and not even given it a chance. What are people expecting? An angel to come from heaven and say: HERE IS YOUR CHOSEN ONE! Lets follow Jesus and fall in love! This is part of being a human!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is awesome, Jeff! It's really encouraging to hear the guys side of the story. But I do have one question: how would you encourage girls to find their identity in Christ? I refuse to believe God is "punishing" me with singleness, just because I haven't been able to understand or fully grasp in my heart my full identity in God, but I feel like I've just been going around in circles with this issue for way too long. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say that you could start finding your identity in Christ by whole-heartedly seeking God in prayer and in reading His Word. One passage I really liked to read/pray/reflect on when I was going through that process was Psalm Chapter 63. It will certainly be a process, but to "find your identity in Christ," you must be fully satisfied in who you are in Christ - i.e., you must know that as a daughter of God, you are a precious jewel, and you must be satisfied in God's love for you and your love for God and the fact that you don't NEED anyone or anything besides God. When you adopt this viewpoint, the person who pursues you will just be like a bonus.

      For example, say you're using a GPA grading scale, where an A+ and an A++ are both worth 4.0 out of 4.0. (I know these things shouldn't be rated, but just bear with me for the sake of the example.) Now say you're a Christian who is not fully satisfied in your identity in Christ...let's give that a B, which would be a GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 Now, let's say you're a Christian who IS fully satisfied in your identity in Christ...you get an A+, and your GPA is 4.0/4.0. And now, let's say you're a Christian who is still fully satisfied in who you are in Christ, AND you are also being pursued by a Godly gentleman. Now, you could give that an A++, which would still be a 4.0/4.0. The A++ is like an added bonus, but it doesn't change your "GPA" because your GPA (or your satisfaction in who you are in Christ) was already at the maximum. You didn't NEED to get the A++ because you already got the maximum score with an A+, but it's nice to have the A++. In a similar way, you need to come to a point where you don't feel like you need to have a spouse in your life because you are so satisfied in who you are in Christ and in God's love for you and your love for Him, but if God does grant you the desires of your heart to have a spouse, it would be like an added bonus.

      Delete
  16. I agree with anonymous.. We don't have to go out of our way.. the men are in the lead. THEY are the pursuers. I know for me. Id hope that he'd have to pursue me because I'll be so enthralled and taken by Jesus that my eyes will be wholly on him. Also its important not to just go after any cute available man in the church. God has ONE man chosen for you.. and our marriages are for Gods glory. Being single is definitely not a punishment it's a blessing.. Jesus wants to be our husband first. We seek first him and his kingdom and THEN we are given our desires. Gods daughters are precious.. He is a protective father who guards their chambers. He expects his daughters to be treated with virtue and honor. HE places his daughters hand in the hand of their chosen husband. We do not have to chase after our husband.. We are a prize to be won. And from what I've heard it is most men's desire to win the heart of his lady and to fully be the one to pursue HER. Just my opinion :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've really been encouraged by this post and the comments. It's great to get some practical advice on how to deal with these kinds of situations! God bless you all!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think too often women don't realize that emotions are a two-way street...it's as if they think (and are taught) that men are physical light switches that just turn on and off, with no depth at all. Those do exist, but are definitely the minority, especially among thoughtful, faithful men. It's not fun to pursue someone and have nothing reciprocated, and have no idea where you stand with her. And to Jeff's point here, it's also not fun to be rejected, which is what "putting yourself in his way" prevents. It's much, much easier to pursue someone when you have a hint that she is interested than when she treats you like her 15 year old brother. The responsibility is still on me to pursue, and protect her from having to bare her heart too soon, but it is both risky and sometimes rude to put yourself out there as a guy constantly and pursue girls who don't want to be pursued, because the ones that do are too scared to show it...or are too scared of being judged by the body to show it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Chris I totally understand what your saying.. Let God lead you and you WILL know how to approach that women when you do find her. If she IS in fact your wife the Lord will tell you.. He will not let you walk blindly.. If she is in fact your wife you will know and she will feel mutually.. Just put it in Gods hands. Timing is essential.. When his time is for you to pursue her.. Her heart as to be ready too.. And if in fact she IS your wife. It is not his heart for us to be rejected.. If we are in the vine and the vine in us.. If we are in oneness with him and LISTENING he will instruct us in ALL of our ways and give us the delivery we need when that time comes. Lean not on your own understanding but in all of your ways acknowledge him.. HE will direct your future pursuit toward your wife.. You will be successful so long as you let him lead you :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I must disagree.

    A lady can pursue a guy - she shouldn't have to always wait for a male to make the first move; the guy alone shouldn't press down on the gas pedal of a relationship.

    Meeting in the middle, mutual pursual and affection, no games, with a healthy dose of honest communication about each other's desires sounds good to me.

    To reference one's relationship with God, both characters must pursue the other - we are called to seek God with all our heart. Also to comment on the Ruth and Boaz story, Ruth very much put herself out there. She went into the man's house at night while he was sleeping and laid at his feet! This was an incredibly vulnerable act. However she did not do this without Boaz's interest in her (allowing her to glean in his fields). A good deal of give and take seems to be evident in this story. Both were sensitive to the other person's feelings, careful to not just profess their interest without some evidence of it being reciprocated - selflessness.

    To conclude, "the chase" might work better if we dropped the aged social custom of waiting for the man to make the first move and began to move mutually towards each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Anonymous -Maybe people (women?) will read your comments and get rid of this double standard where the man "NEEDS" to approach ( or else) so that woman can grade him on his level of interest and the man is entitled to no such insurance.The word "mutual" never comes even up! -Ennis-

      Delete
  21. The more passionate we are about Jesus and the more intimately we spend time with Him, the more attractive we will be to those around us. Although it may sound cliche, it is vital for an individual to fall in love with God and understand their spiritual identity in Him before they should pursue anyone, especially their life-long partner. This is because we must learn to Biblically and appropriately love, appreciate, respect, and take care of our self before we can Biblically and appropriately love and care for another individual. The most beautiful people I know are the ones who have the light, fire, and beauty of Jesus beaming, burning, and glowing from inside of them. As we make Him our highest affection, He will see our hearts and in His time He will direct our steps and either lead us to one He has chosen for us or He will cause them to desire and pursue us. Either way, falling in Love with God and intimately knowing Him is the most profitable thing anyone will ever due in any lifetime.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I haven't had much time to read all the comments, so i don't know if someone already asked this. But i guess my question is...how do you put yourself in the middle of the road? I know the example with Ruth and Boaz, but these days, putting yourself in bed with a drunk man isn't really an ideal way to "put myself in the middle of the road".
    From a guys perspective, how are you supposed to do this without coming off too strongly and too interested? I always have heard that if the fight to win a girls heart is too easy, it is no longer a battle and he probably won't be interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I say let the men be the initiators, pursuers, and hunters. As a woman, I wouldn't put myself in the middle of the road, I want a man that will wholly pursue me.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, God forbid that a man could ask for that kind of insurance from a woman.
      That would be unthinkable! -Ennis-

      Delete
  23. "But outside of that idolatry, when a woman knows her true identity, it is perfectly okay for her to recognize if she has God-given desire for an intimate relationship."

    >i loved this!!! thanks jeff!! this is very insightful and encouraging :D

    ReplyDelete
  24. So true. When we talk about how we met and came together I always thank my husband for pursuing me with so much intentionality. He usually says thanks for responding so well! I think if he hadn't pursued me we would've never ended up together, but if I hadn't responded maybe he would've stopped pursuing. I think at some level men should be persistent. But still both parties need to be intentional with the man as the active leader and the woman as the active follower in order for two people to come together in marriage. And when that happens according to God's will, it sure is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Is Alyssa the one?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for being kind and considerate in your comments! We are so grateful to have you be a part of our community!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...