Unfortunately for us, the Bible leaves a lot to our own interpretation about how we should date and enter into relationships. We are left with verse after verse about not committing adultery, warnings against sexual immortality, and verses about waiting till marriage to have sex, but we don’t have any verses that explicitly say which gender should make the first move when trying to enter into a relationship.
In our ever changing culture that is moving more and more towards women’s rights, how can we expect women to sit by and not make the first move? If women are allowed to fight in the military, certainly we should be allowed to ask a boy out?
Sadly, ladies, I am going to have to side with the people that are old-fashioned and say you should not make the first move with any boy you are interested in. Before you stop reading and stomp off in a feminist huff, I am not saying that women haven’t entered into perfectly happy relationships and marriages because they did make the first move. That being said, I am saying that for any Christian woman who is looking for a hard and fast answer, my answer would be no, let him make the first move. And I think the Bible does support my view on this.
Before we unpack this further, I want to talk about what I mean by “making the first move.” By that, I mean asking a boy on a date, to hang out one on one, or tricking him into a date in some way. If you are a girl who likes a boy, it is completely appropriate and necessary to make yourself available to that boy. That might mean finding ways to hang out with him in groups, flirting a little bit, being interested in what he has to say, etc. It is not un-Biblical or against God’s will to put yourself out there to be noticed by a man.
To the girls out there who are simply waiting at their windows for God to pull up to their dorm rooms with Prince Charming, I would say you may have to wait a long while. God does have a will and, in most cases, a man for our lives, but that does not mean that we do not absolutely put in effort. Not putting yourself out there/ taking the time to invest in a man, is just like not studying for a test and expecting to get an A on it. It just doesn’t add up.
As a girl who has been single her whole life (I’m 22), I have been continually frustrated with this so called natural rule of waiting for boys to make the first move. But what if they’re just shy? What if they don’t know I like them? What if we are meant to be together, but the timing from God isn’t right? Ladies, I have asked myself all these questions and more when I have been interested in a boy and he is not nibbling at the bait. But in reality, what every man, father, preacher, and guy friend has ever told me is that if a boy likes you, he’ll make it happen.
That is why we spend so many tear-filled nights crying to our roommates. Because the boy we thought was too shy to ask us out, really didn’t want to ask us out; he wanted to ask Suzie out instead. And I hate being the one to say this because I know there are exceptions to every rule, but I also know that every boy I have ever thought was too shy or didn’t know I liked him was able to ask out another girl who wasn’t me. Coincidence? I think not.
This past fall, I began to like a really good friend of mine in a not so friendly sort of way. He would constantly be inviting me and my friends to his room for movie nights, go out of his way to hang out with me, and walk me back to my dorm room so I wouldn’t be “by myself” after every time we hung out. But there was one little problem, he still hadn’t asked me on a date yet. And that put me in a terrible position because I didn’t want to be the one to ruin our friendship. He was the man, he needed to dare I say, man up. The temptation is strong to take matters into your own hands. As women, we have all had those moments when we feel so fed up, led on, trifled with that we plan of going to said boy and telling him how we really feel. Of asking him out right what his intentions are and demanding that he finally make a move. Luckily for me, I did not do that with this boy. After a couple months of this terribly frustrating pattern progressing, I was startled to realize that he had actually asked a girl out on a date. And you guessed it, it was a girl who was not me. Because no matter how hard I had put myself out there, figured he didn’t know I liked him, or prayed for him to ask me out, he still hadn’t. It wasn’t that he was too oblivious, too cowardly, too shy; it was just that he didn’t like me, and that’s okay.
Sometimes, we need to have those heartbreaks so that God can protect our hearts for the men who won’t break them. Sometimes, we don’t get the boy we’ve been crushing on because we don’t see the big picture and realize that he isn’t who we thought he was. Sometimes, we don’t get the boy because God has bigger plans, better plans. And sometimes, we just need to get out of the way so that someone else gets their happily ever after. So, yes, the boy I liked asked out another girl who wasn’t me. But, that same boy is still one of my best friends, because I was able to pray to God and start to realize some of the reasons we are better off as friends than as boyfriend and girlfriend.
I have two examples from Scripture to illustrate my point. First, from Song of Songs 2:7
Do not arouse or awaken love before it so desires.
In our romance driven culture, it can be easy to want to have a boyfriend just because we want to plan a wedding, post cute couplely pictures on Instagram, and have someone to buy us Valentine’s Day presents. But love is a powerful thing. Relationships are powerful bonds. Marriage is not an easy trek. We need to be wise women of God who are not quick to rush into the arms of the first man who asks us. We need to be woman who realize that God is the only one who can complete us, not an earthly companion in the shape of a husband. We need to be women who find our identity in Christ, not in the things that others are posting on social media or being single at a handful of weddings. Realize that being in love is not what you were created in this life to accomplish. It can be an accessory to your story that was placed there by our Heavenly Father, but remember that you were created to be so much more than someone’s Woman Crush Wednesday or being known as so and so’s wife. You are the daughter of a King, and His love for you is unwavering. He knows what you need and who you need in your life right where you are.
Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed so it will happen. –Isaiah 14:24
That is a promise that no matter how many broken hearts, mistaken relationships, and pain we have to endure when looking for Mr. Right, God is always leading us on the path that will bring us closer to Him. I know that it might seem like the end of the world right now that this boy doesn’t seem interested in you, but believe me, the same boys I thought I had to date in high school, are now drug addicts, college drop outs, or worse. God definitely knew far better than I did. And even though I have not been able to date anyone in college or high school (which I would’ve loved to do), I can see so evidently the way that God has been shielding and protecting my heart through the boys I thought were my husbands.
So, what do you do with this now?
1. Pray for wisdom. Pray to be able to see the true character of this man you are so taken with. Pray that God will protect your heart until He is ready to pass it off to another. Pray that your foundation will be in Christ and your identity rooted in Him. Your singleness is not a disease or illness to be cured, it is a gift from God to be celebrated. By praying and spending more time with God, you will get a better sense of God’s character and His actions. Soon your desires will align with His.
2. Recognize that a true man of God will be in constant pursuit of your heart. Think about it: if he is not able to man up and ask you on a date, how will he be able to pursue a relationship with God when things get tough? How will he have the courage to provide for you and your family? Be able to spiritually lead your family? Trust me, ladies, as hard as it is to believe, a man will make the first move if he is truly interested.
3. Guard your heart. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve for every man to see. Don’t make yourself so available to every man you meet that you become unwanted (not sure what this means? We’ve compiled a study on the Proverbs 7 Woman who knows all the tricks of what not to do to attract a guy). Pray that God will protect you from the men who want to use your body, want to have some fun, or don’t want to treat you with the respect you deserve. God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine, don’t think that He won’t provide you with what you need in a husband.
4. Move on. Don’t look back on those boys who didn’t give you a second glance, didn’t care about your story or interests, or just didn’t like you as much as you liked them. Be able to let go of those boys and notice Godly men – not the flashy ones, but the ones that will stay. Ask God to show you why this relationship wouldn’t have worked out. Recognize it’s okay for not every boy to like you and realize every girl has gone through this struggle – you are not alone.
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. –1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Most of all, God has a path He is leading you on right now. It might be full of dry patches, valleys, thorny bushes, and cliffs, but He is not leading you alone. No matter how alone you might feel as you fifth wheel with your friends, see Instagram pictures, go to wedding after wedding, or watch your friends get asked out on dates, remember you are never alone. God is right there with you through your trial with singleness and unrequited love. He is giving you this challenge for a reason. Instead of fighting Him on it, relinquish your control and try to spend your single days building God’s kingdom in a way you probably could only do right now if you were single. I hope that someday your prince charming will come and sweep you off your feet. But if he doesn’t, or you’re getting tired of waiting, remember God has already claimed you as His own, as His bride. Thankfully, our relationships with God are not ones where we have to worry about who will make the first move.