Is love something that one has to pursue? Go after it full force or does it come to us?
I started a survey in these last two weeks in which I interviewed as many of my male friends as possible to find out their opinion about some questions I have been pondering about love and relationships. Actually, more honestly ones that I have been deeply wrestling with and even ruthlessly analyzing and stressing over in my head. My questions were around the idea of whether I should let a man I am interested in initiate a dating relationship or whether I should just ask him out? And if I did do the initiating, what would be the right way? When would be the right time?
The opinions I heard from these men fascinated me. I received the full spectrum of answers. There were some men who felt like it was their God-given role to initiate a relationship with a woman. Some told me that if a man didn't have the courage to ask me out, how could I trust him to be a courageous leader in life? Others added that if a woman asked them out, they would feel like they were being given a back seat in the relationship and like someone had "stolen their thunder."
On the other hand, others reminded me that I was an "emancipated woman," and so, of course I should ask the guy out. One of my friends, who now has a great marriage and two beautiful young daughters, told me that he had prayed that his now wife would ask him out. It was a kind of sign to him that she was the right one, when she did ask him out. Others simply said, "Amy, if you don't want to be single anymore, you need to ask him out!" No pressure right?
Wow! Those answers could leave this woman feeling quite confused and terribly perplexed. I am the kind of person who likes to do the "right" thing, and there didn't appear to be a "right" thing to do in my mind. Was there a right answer or a wrong answer? "What Would Jesus Do" could be my fall back question, but I had no idea what He would say. These were good men that I respected, and they could not give me a consistent answer.
As I began to analyze my data more, I began to think that perhaps it had more to do with two unique people coming together in a possible relationship. Some men want to be asked out, some don't. We bring our unique personalities to the table. How could a relationship grow where both the man and woman freed each other to live out their full potential? Maybe it is about listening to each other's needs and desires and not seeking to control the other person (How many stories have I heard of men and women trying to manipulate the other into a relationship, even claiming that God told him that they were supposed to be together? Scary stuff!)? It's about learning to read that other person. I've also learned that people's past experiences with dating will affect how they approach starting a future relationship.
And so back to me. I had to take a deep look inside my own heart. I realized that it was not against my "religion" to at least tell a man that I was interested (most of the men had agreed that there was a difference between asking a man out and just telling him in a calm and collected manner that I was interested). The deeper I looked, however, the more I felt like I did want a man to pursue me, for him to initiate a relationship. Why would I care if he led? Maybe I am tired of always having to be the "strong one" or the leader in life. I know how to lead. I know how to be strong (most of the time), but God asked me if I knew how to trust and rely on another and especially Him to lead? Do I trust that My Heavenly Father knows my heart, my needs and my desires? Do I trust that He can lead a man to me who is strong and courageous enough to pursue me? If I can't trust God with one of the biggest decisions of my life, what could I trust Him with? Lastly, I just want to feel like I am desirable and worthy of being pursued. It reminds me of how Christ pursues us as His bride and was willing to lay down his life for her.
There's a verse in the Bible that says, "Those who are led by the spirit of God, they are the children of God." I believe that I am God's child, and I live to be led by Him. I have welcomed God into every area of my decision- making, including my dating relationships. This is about a relationship with the Most High God- speaking my desires to Him, listening to His heart and plan and following the Most Perfect Leader. Maybe in a few weeks, I will hear Him say, "Amy, go for it. Ask him out. You've waited long enough." But for now, I am contentwaiting to see how My Father God is going to write my love story. Oh, the adventure!!!