Q: I’m not very outgoing and have a hard time making my interest in someone known. I don’t think the person that I’m interested in will ask me out because of it. What is your opinion on me asking him out? Some people I’ve talked to think I should go for it, while others think I should let him pursue me.
A: If you’ve spent any time at all in Christian circles, you’ll definitely know what this question is referring to.
There is a notion within the Christian culture at large that tells women they should take a back seat when it comes to initiating relationships with the opposite sex, and instead, let the guy do all the pursuing. They quote Scripture, regarding how a husband is like Christ, and a wife is like the church; and within that analogy they assert that the men should always be doing the “initiating”. They call it the “biblical model” of dating.
I actually grew up in Christian circles where this was the general belief system. But as I grew up I was exposed to many other ways of thinking, and eventually I took a look at these concepts with my own eyes. The main thing that changed my beliefs regarding the concept of initiation in a relationship was…..the Bible (believe it or not)!
I read scripture without trying to “read between the lines” and I realized that God called me to guard my own heart. In the culture I grew up in, that verse was always directed at the men, telling them they need to guard a woman’s heart and protect her with how they interact with her. Now, I am all about men and women respecting one another, protecting one another, and interacting with each other in a way that leaves a person better than you found them.
But at the end of the day, that, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen in real life. As a Christian who ALSO happens to be a Licensed Professional Counselor, I am a FIRM believer that there are times and places when guarding our hearts means setting boundaries and protecting ourselves from people whose actions and words don’t match up. There are also times, when we need to show interest in order to receive interest. Relationships are give-and-take, and the bottom line is that in a healthy relationship – each gender has to do a whole lot of each.
So with that spiel out of the way, what do you do when you, like the young woman who asked this question, find yourself taking an interest in someone who hasn’t necessarily shown interest in you? Here’s what I would say to that:
#1 – Talk to God About It:
People, in general, have a tendency to jump into relationships without actually talking to God about them. If you find yourself in this kind of relationship, there is no better way to move forward than to commit to talking to God about it. I remember a situation in college involving a guy I was interested in. We had spent a lot of time together and my feelings were moving from friendship to more than friends. But time was passing, and this guy wasn’t making a move. So before I decided to make a move, I committed the situation in prayer.
I literally prayed about it for 40 days (here’s a great place to start if you want to commit to prayer regarding a relationship). During that time, I asked God to open my heart and give me wisdom, so that I wouldn’t just consider how I felt but what God wanted. I asked God for clarity.
And you want to know what happened during that 40 Days? Mr.Too-Good-To-Be-True ended up with a girlfriend! And by the way, it was NOT me. No joke. I can’t say that situation didn’t leave me with some disappointment, but more so, it was a clear sign that this guy wasn’t as interested in me as I was interested in him.
That time of prayer gave me the ability to trust God no matter what was around the corner. And in the end, it helped me gain the freedom I needed to walk away. (PS. Coolest story ever: a few months after that, I met John (my hubby!). I had no idea at the time, but God was saving me from jumping into a relationship prematurely and missing out on the awesome man that is now my husband! Heartbreak isn’t always a bad thing, ladies!!! Read more about our story in my book, True Love Dates.
#2 – Show Some Interest:
Once you’ve spent some time talking to God about it, and you find your friendship with this guy continues to grow, maybe it’s time to show a little interest. There are some situations in which a guy and girl are friends, and the guy truly has no idea that she’s interested. In fact, I’ve even interacted with guys who actually thought a girl DIDN’T like him by the way she was acting, when she was actually just trying to avoid him BECAUSE she liked him. I know, us women are complicated. Sheesh!
So if you are one of those girls who has a tendency to play it cool/distant/shy and even ignores the guy you are into rather than talks to him….it’s time to make an effort to connect. Build a friendship. Give a smile. Ask some questions. Say hello more often. Sit next to him. Do something thoughtful. Do your best to actually show that you are open and interested.
#3 – Take Initiative:
After you’ve done all of the above, and still feel the potential of a relationship is there, I say, take initiative! I’m not even talking about being extreme here. It’s not like you have to get on one knee and ask him on a date.
But what is the big deal about asking him out for a cup of coffee? I think we often take it a little TOO seriously in Christian circles. It’s not a marriage proposal, it’s coffee. Take initiative in the direction that you are hoping for things to go.
And sometimes, ladies, that means stopping something, too. You know those relationships where you’ve been “friends who act like you’re dating but you’re not”? In those kind of situations, you need to take initiative of your heart by going ahead and asking him “what are your intentions here? Because this sure does feel more like dating than friendship.”
It’s important to set boundaries for yourself and guard your heart, rather than letting something go on for far too long and ending up with a broken heart. If it looks like a relationship, smells like a relationship, and acts like a relationship – it’s time to figure out what it really is and either move forward in a relationship, or walk away.
The bottom line in all of this ladies, is that not only is it okay, it’s actually IMPORTANT to take responsibility for your heart. Protect it, cherish it, and give it away with caution. Your heart is the most valuable part of who you are….so, please, take care of it.
For a much more in-depth look about this topic, check out my popular eBook:
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
Thanks for reading along with my “Dating Q&A” 10-part series here at TrueLoveDates.com, based on the popular portion of my speaking engagements, the “LIVE Q&A Sessions”. You ask me questions, and I answer them! If you’d like to host a LIVE SINGLES EVENT at your church, feel free to contact me regarding booking a TRUE LOVE DATES event for 2017 by clicking here or the photo below!