Monday, August 15, 2011

The Better Way

Some call me old-fashioned when it comes to dating. I wasn't always this way. Until the last year or so, if I liked a guy, I went for it, because if I didn't let him know I was interested how would he know? Surely no one could put us together better than I could, and certainly God couldn't find the right person for me and put things together without my help.

I am by nature a go-getter and I approached relationships no differently than I did any other goal or dream. I saw what I wanted and I worked hard for it. Sometimes I got him, sometimes I didn't, but it wasn't for lack of trying. No guy could ever say that he didn't know I was interested or that he didn't know what I wanted. I made those things abundantly clear.

In the past I have asked guys out, pushed myself on them, chased them, pursued them. Every time, whether sooner or later, I ended up with a broken heart, a failed relationship, alone, and determined to never make myself vulnerable again. Repeat cycle. There had to be a better way.

Christian and non-Christian friends alike made suggestions for things I could do to attract men: like sports, being more outgoing, be less introverted, flirt more, flirt less, dress one way, dress another, quit looking, quit wanting. I had to give up who I am and my personality and my hopes and dreams and THEN the thing that I no longer wanted would come to me and I could be happy. Bad advice. Like I said, there had to be a better way.

My dad, of course, always told me that a guy should pursue me. He should have to chase me. I need to play hard to get. I need to dress respectably, talk respectably, and expect respect. That did not compute back then, and in some ways the concept of playing hard to get still doesn't compute for me. I'm not hard to get. I'm actually relatively easy to get as long as you've shown me that you are worth my time. I don't like playing games. Games are lies. I hate to say it, but in some ways... my dad was.... you know.

I have noticed a trend of men no longer acting like the pursuer and the provider. Rather than asking you on a date they hesitantly say, "If you want to hang out sometime, let me know." Instead of asking for your number and if they can call you, they give you theirs and tell you to call them sometime. They make suggestions and drop hints that they might want to get to know you better, but then place the ball in your court and leave you to actually do the pursuing.

Have women Have I created the modern emasculated man who would rather not have a chance than to risk rejection? In my pursuit of my own desires and in my own selfishness and impatience, have I stripped men of their need for courage and bravery and taken from them their God-given role? Has the modern woman in opening her own doors, paying for her own dinners, and exercising her independence taken from man his ability and desire to be a leader, provider, and gentleman?

Surely there must be a better way. There has to be, because without it I am left with no hope because my way doesn't work. I tried it my way and my friends' way and the world's way and while I am by no means an old maid, I am still single at 24 while most of my friends are married or in serious relationships. And as for the relationships I've had, I cannot say that I am better for having had them. Stronger and more experienced, sure, but not better.

Albert Einstein defined "insanity" like this: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Intellectually I understood that something needed to change, but the execution of that was the problem. What do you do differently, how do you do it differently, and how do you change your nature?

I'd like to say that there was a switch that I flipped and from that point everything changed. I can't say that; unfortunately I am one who has to learn lessons the hard way. The time did eventually come that I was tired of being hurt and making myself vulnerable. The hurt I've experienced has hardened me and made me distrustful and hesitant to open up my heart, but the story cannot stop there because that would leave me without hope.

I eventually came to the realization that shutting down to protect my heart only protected me from the pain of rejection and of a broken heart, but did nothing to protect me from loneliness or to remove the longing for love and marriage and a family. I could not protect myself from both -- there are always risks in love, but a risk must be measured before taken.

I want to be pursued. I deserve to be pursued and not because of who I am in my own right, but because of how God planned for it to be. You see, God may have created men and women equal in terms of their value but He did not create them the same in terms of their roles.

Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." I firmly believe that a man should ask a woman on a date. He should ask for her phone number. He should lead the relationship. Jesus sacrificed Himself in the greatest demonstration of love on the cross. He sacrificed his societal status as he chose to dine with tax collectors and befriend prostitutes and hang out with society's rejects. He risked it all because he loved me.

In the Bible, men are instructed to love their wives like that, and that kind of behavior doesn't start with 'I do', it happens from the first time he comes in contact with a lady to some degree. Does he give up his place in the Walmart line to let you in front of him? Does he sacrifice his time by holding the door for you or stopping to change a flat tire? Is he willing to put his ego on the line and risk rejection by asking you for a date?

Doing these small things sets the precedent for the larger things. Will he give up his carefree life of singleness to be accountable to another person? Will he do without to make sure his family is provided for? Will he lay down his own interests and give of his time and his heart to demonstrate the love of God to his family and lead them spiritually?

Are you, am I, being the kind of woman who is worthy of his love and sacrifice? Do I show my appreciation? Do I do my part?

Ephesians 5: 22 says, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord." Verse 33 of the same chapter tells wives to respect their husbands.

Do I show respect for men by dressing in such a way that I do not tempt them to lust? Do I show my respect for them by allowing them to exercise their God-given instinct to provide and protect or do I emasculate them by insisting that I can DO IT MYSELF.

Do I submit to God's authority and what His word tells me to do, even when it is against my own sinful nature? Do I submit to my father's authority in my life? Do I submit to a man's decision to do what God has lead him to do by pursuing me or not pursing me? Do I show appreciation for the opened doors, the dates, and the kindness he shows me? Do I reciprocate by making him dinner and showing him kindness in return? Will I listen when he chooses to lead our family in a way that God is leading him? Will I submit to whatever decision he thinks is best for us, even when I disagree?

If I want a relationship with a Christian man who does things God's way, then I must do things God's way. This is not only the better way, but it is the best way.
Post a Comment