How Should a Man Pursue a Woman?
Posted by Zema on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 10:55am EST
Rapper Jaylafé recently wrote an article about courtship. Check it out.
I’m convinced that much of our struggle with relationships and becoming married boils down to our men. Actually, I know it for sure. We don’t build fruitful relationships that lead to marriage because we’re struggling with how to do it. So, how should a man pursue a woman? First, if pursuing a woman means chasing after someone who has a face and body you like but will never stick with you in the hard times, love your children or cherish the Lord, don't pursue her! Don't strategize how to go into a dead end.
And sometimes, men choose to not try to pursue women because they’ve experienced unfruitful relationship after unfruitful relationship and believe they’re doing relationships the wrong way. So they give up. But if a relationship isn't fruitful, it may not necessarily be a result of us going about it the wrong way... sometimes it may be because the relationship shouldn't be happening in the first place! Much of our disappointment comes not from pursuing things wrongly but from pursuing wrong things. If it's not broken, don't fix it... and if it is broken, don't try to fix it either! But that doesn’t mean we should become jaded and stop pursuing relationships. We have to go about it more carefully and thoughtfully.
The Bible teaches that "he who finds a wife finds a good thing" (Proverbs 18:22). But even pursuing a good thing for a bad reason turns everything sour. We have to be careful. Before we ask how a single man should pursue a single woman we should ask why a single man should pursue a single woman. If you're pursuing a woman, what's the motive? Is it because she has the look, knows how to cook and can balance the books? Or is it something deeper: is it because she loves Christ, desires to grow in holiness and wants to encourage you in your walk while she walks beside you? The only thing worth pursuing is the glory and presence of God, and this is what a relationship with a woman should be about. If the motive is not God's glory, the motive is in vain.
If men are going to pursue women in a God-glorifying way, we have to begin by rejecting the idea of noncommittal dating relationships with women. Don't commit to pursue if you're not pursuing to commit. The Bible gives us two general categories for how men and women should relate to each other (outside of family relationships): as brothers and sisters in Christ and as married people. The Bible doesn't have a category for noncommittal, friends-with-benefits relationships! So, a man is either friends with a woman, married to a woman or moving toward marriage with a woman (1 Corinthians 7:36). This means that if a man is pursuing a woman, his top priority in the pursuit should be critically evaluating whether he and she could become married.
To be specific, he should be considering whether they can become healthily married. In other words, just because you could get married doesn't mean you should get married! In pursuing a woman there should always be a strong eye on marriage, but with healthy motives. Mutual attraction and sexual desire is not enough of a reason to marry; if it were, why are there so many divorces? A man should not pursue a woman whom he does not consider a potential wife for a healthy marriage. If you know you would never become married to a woman, don't pursue her! Don't turn on the oven if you're not going to cook anything!
How does a man know, then, if a woman is marriage material? Firstly, he should examine his own life. Even if a woman is marriage material, a man shouldn't pursue her if he isn't! Is he a man who's ready and willing to sacrifice himself for a woman, to lay down his life for her, concerned that she become holy through the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25-32)? Is he a man who has put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11) and is ready to provide for, protect and lead his family? Is he a man who loves the Lord with all His heart and lives to please Him? Is he a man who submits himself to the Word of God and is committed to his own holiness more than vain and sinful pursuits? Any woman being pursued by a man who is not these things or is not strongly moving in the direction of these things is a woman who will suffer.
Secondly, a man should evaluate the woman he's pursuing. Is she a woman who will have a tendency to embrace her husband's leadership (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 3:18-19)? Is she a woman who will support and encourage her husband, serving alongside him to help fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20? Or is she a divisive, quick-tempered woman who is quick to challenge and belittle her husband? Will she expect her husband to guide and provide for the family, but be patient and nurturing even when he fails to take responsibility? Or will she fall into the sinful pattern inherited from Eve at the curse, desiring to take over her husband (Genesis 3:16)? Is this a woman who will be there for you when the chips are down and the stress is up?
If a man is moving in the direction of the qualities above, and the woman he is pursuing seems to have the character outlined above, what types of things should a man be looking for in a relationship with a woman to determine whether they could become healthily married? In my opinion (meaning that the Bible does not directly say the following things, although I believe it indirectly teaches them), a man should first look at the calling upon his as well as her life as Christians. Are they moving in a similar or compatible direction in terms of their careers, gifts, ministries and inclinations? If a man feels a strong call toward working in American urban school systems and doing urban ministry while a woman feels a strong pull toward working internationally, traveling the world and interacting with other cultures, marriage might be a difficult thing (though certainly not impossible) for them.
They would not have a similar or compatible context for exercising their gifts and callings, and this could cause a painful strain. Do they see eye to eye on how to manage a family? Are they in agreement on the roles of the husband and the wife in marriage? Do they view parenting in the same way? Are they in agreement or at least willing to compromise on the managing of finances? Are they both submitted to the Lord as Christians, ready and willing to build their lives upon His Word? Are they willing to be flexible, to major on majors and minor on minors? Are they willing to work hard to fight sin together and love the Lord in dependence on Him?
So, a man pursuing a woman is no small matter; it is as serious as determining whether a man and a woman should marry! However, marriage is not a commitment to be feared but an experience to be embraced. I’ve been married for over two and a half years, and I can attest to that fact! When done rightly, it is the best symbol we have of what it will be like to be with Jesus in Heaven (Ephesians 5:32)! It is not always easy or happy (no one ever said it was supposed to be), but it's worth it and it's right and it's good. It's beautiful thing when a man and a woman strive together for holiness in a desire for each others' joy in Christ. This is the banner under which a man should pursue a woman. So, pursue Christ with all your heart and pursue a woman when you realize God didn't want you to pursue Him alone!
You can follow JayLafé on Twitter @jaylafe
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