I have set a standard of not pursuing men whom I am interested in. However, this makes it so difficult as a woman because it’s hard to show interest without being the pursuer. In addition, having a crush is difficult for me since I desire a committed relationship that will lead to marriage someday, not just petty relationships that fill loneliness. How do I go about relationships with men whom I’m interested in without pursuing them?
I’m saying this because I love you, dear sister: but I totally chuckled at your message.
Especially this sentence: “How do I go about relationships with men whom I’m interested in without pursuing them?”
I’m not trying to be mean here. I also completely understand that a woman can look “desperate” or “man-crazy” if she pursues a guy. And there’s a very slim chance that a guy might notice you if you make a duck face at him long enough (which already breaks your rules).
So can we step back a bit? Please allow me the grace to say: Ladies, it’s okay for you to throw a direct signal at another guy if you’re interested.
I’ll go one further and say that a nice Christian dude usually needs a direct signal because they would never know otherwise. Most of my guy-friends, as educated and professional as they are, can be as dumb as rocks when it comes to women. I include myself in there too.
But I think a lot of this has to do with the strange subculture of Christian dating.
We really need to relax a lot about dating and romance. The Christian subculture gets pretty dang oppressive. Like when an older lady tells you, “Stop thinking about the way that boy brushed your arm!” — well, sorry lady, but Elisabeth Eliot spent a page talking about the way Jim brushed her arm in Passion and Purity, and Elisabeth Eliot is the ultimate mascot for pure Christian ladies. I’ve read her book twice and she went sort of crazy going after Jim. It was also totally sweet.
Oh, and Timothy Keller’s wife actually pursued him by basically saying, “We’re either dating or we’re not going to be friends anymore.” Pastor Tim admitted he had no idea she felt that way until she said so. I don’t hear anyone dissing Tim Keller’s wife on this — and in fact, I applaud her.
If you need a biblical example: I seem to remember Ruth, the ancestor of Jesus Christ, approaching a certain Boaz by laying under his covers and proposing to him for marriage. That’s not very subtle.
This is our human reality: that we’re hardwired to be attracted and feel chemistry and get hormonally excited, and when we’re chained down by weird cultural etiquette, you’re also diminishing your humanness.
So please, please, please be okay with going into an environment where you can meet many nice cute Christian men. And if you’re rejected: it might hurt, but it’s not the end of the world.
I am NOT condoning casual dating nor philandering nor even an emphasis on the dating scene. I’m not saying every woman needs to start pursuing the dude. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be careful, because you should, and if you feel some red flags, then bounce.
Yet please do not enslave yourself to a chokehold mentality that is supposed to be “helping” you when it’s only throttling your God-created femininity. And pursue God first in all this, because the main focus is not about finding a right partner: but becoming full in Christ, so that no one else may be your savior but Him. In between that space, you’ll find the guy you’re looking for, and he’ll be looking for you too.