Q: How long should a woman “wait” for him to step up and ask her out before she gives up on him and moves on?
*Note: I wrote the following article for my Q&A series in 2015, but due to the amount of questions I received about this topic this year, I felt like it needed to be resurfaced! Please, read on:)
A: Welcome to post #1 of this 10-part Dating Q&A Series. Trust me, I am eventually going to focus on the men’s role in a dating relationship, but in this post I’m going to address the women. Before I tackle this question I have to say that I chose this particular question to represent a bigger issue. You see, out of the hundreds of questions submitted, I started noticing a theme that actually made me sad.
Question after question, I was hearing from women with similar concerns. Questions like:
Why do men expect so much but give so little?
How do you attract men, not boys?
Why is it so difficult to meet godly men, who don’t just profess their beliefs but actually run after God?
As a Christian women, does it set a poor precedent to be the one initiating a relationship?
We’ve been friends for years, how do I know if he likes me?
Is it okay to initiate a relationship or should I wait on the man?
What do men think of a girl pursuing them?
The easy answer to the above questions would be to write more and more articles to the men telling them to give more, to ask more, to get healthier, to become stronger, to be godlier…and on and on and on. But first of all, that would take way too much time. And second of all, I think by answering all of the above questions in that way, we’re missing something pretty big: DEFERRED RESPONSIBILITY. That’s the one thing I see in common with all of the above questions.
What I mean by that statement is that it seems to me that in Christian circles, we have created a culture of single women who automatically defer the responsibility in their relationships to the man:
Men should _________________________ (fill in the blank).
But instead of just waiting for the men to do ________________, I think it’s time for us women to step it up and take responsibility for our lives and relationships. You can never guarantee that someone is going to REACT or ACT how you want them to, but you can take CHARGE of your role in an interaction. That’s called a boundary. And boundaries are good. Here’s how:
START SPENDING TIME WITH BETTER GUYS — BECAUSE THEY’RE OUT THERE!
I always get questions from women disappointed in the men in their lives. Lying, cheating, passive, arrogant, rude, selfish…the list goes on and on of the things I hear. But one thing I want to say to these single women is to stop simply complaining about the “jerks” in your life and instead do something about it! Invest your time in the good ones! They’re out there and they’re waiting! I KNOW they’re out there, because I interact with them every single day through this blog and through the churches, colleges, and conferences I visit. Believe it or not, there are still good guys out there! So often women have a hard time believing this, and so settle for men who treat them poorly. Take responsibility for your relationships by investing your time in people who value your time.
STOP BEING OKAY WITH GIVING SO MUCH AND RECEIVING SO LITTLE
Another thing that comes up again and again is the idea of women who give too much, and men who give too little. But partly I think this is also a representation of the kind of relationships we’re allowing ourselves to engage in as women! If someone is giving too little, why waste another moment trying to convince them to give more? If this is the kind of dating relationship you’re in, imagine how terrible it will be to carry that kind of interaction into marriage? Take responsibility for your relationships by saying no to one-sided relationships.
STOP WAITING AROUND AND START LIVING!
I recently read a Christian article that encouraged women to “wait on the men”. I’ll be honest, I totally yelled at my computer screen at some point during that article. Since when are we called to “wait on men”? For some reason, I was pretty sure Scripture encouraged us to wait on God…..but hey, I could be wrong.
I see an interesting culture of conservative Christian women who believe that they should just wait around, letting the men in their lives “lead the way”, all-the-while passively following along in an ambiguous, awkward, who-knows-what-this-is kind of relationship where they have no idea if the guy is interested in them or just sees them as their “sister in Christ”.
But what gets me is that not only are they waiting, they’re making excuses for him along the way: maybe he’s too shy, maybe he hasn’t yet heard from God, maybe he’s trying to guard my heart, maybe he’s intimidated by me……..and with all the excuses, they continue to wait, and wait, and wait.
And what we get in the end is a whole lot of capable, godly, beautiful, amazing women who are just waiting around for the man to do something, all the while passing their lives away.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Christian woman get so bogged down by the concept of men being “leaders” that we fail to recognize that God only calls us into this kind of “leading” relationship within the walls of a loving, respect-filled, and mutually submissive marriage.
As single women, we need to take responsibility for our relationships by making sure to catch ourselves when we start moving into “ambiguous territory”. When your relationship with a man starts getting exclusive, emotionally intimate, physical/sexual, or starts to resemble a dating relationship in some way – don’t you DARE wait around for the next few years (or even months) wondering what’s going on in his head.
Protect your heart by either taking a few steps back and either giving him room to pursue you, or go ahead and ask him what’s up!! Something as simple as: “Our friendship is starting to look more like dating….What are your intentions here?”
It’s time for women to stop blindly following, and instead take responsibility for their relationships by protecting their hearts and minds from the zone of ambiguity, because it’s right there in the twilight zone of relationships that the most heart-break and confusion actually occurs.
Christian women need to take responsibility of their lives and their relationships, because God calls us to guard our hearts above all else, and that’s what this means. Because ladies, anything valuable, is worth protecting – AND EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU IS SO EXTREMELY VALUABLE.
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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!