Huge topic! I know. I also want to keep this short so I have a feat on my hands. Maybe I’ll even break this up into multiple posts, so stay tuned.
The one reason I think there is less material out there on this topic is because the Bible doesn’t cover dating! Also, what worked for one persons marriage/relationship and dating process maybe won’t work for you!
Before we go around demoralizing people for not following our understanding of what good dating or courtship is let’s first cover what the Bible DOES say pertaining to us and what’s Biblical.
Convictions in dating. We all have different struggles and therefore live by different convictions and God is a relational God. One person might have just come out of a lustful lifestyle and so their convictions are going to be to have really strong boundaries to stay pure. While another person who has never struggled with lust in the same way will maybe be ok with kissing or cuddling before marriage for example. These two people can also come together in a dating relationship. The person who has not struggled with lust would then have to raise their bar for the other person who has struggled.
“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Romans 14:13
Whether you’ve ever struggled in this area or not, it is good to air on the side of caution and have high boundaries with purity in dating. The enemy doesn’t play fair and can allow anyone to fall especially if they don’t practice good boundaries or have accountability people speaking into their life.
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.”
Proverbs 15:22 NLT
Lust is a sin. Don’t let lust lead ANYTHING in your life whether in dating or any other area. Don’t let your eyes or fleshly desires pick your partner. Ask God about them and observe their character.
“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:16 NIV
Initial pursuit. Again, not something clearly outlined in the Bible but we do have some guidelines. Always come at any relationship in life from a place of wholeness; being full and complete in who Christ has called you to be. Love yourself and accept yourself before getting into relationship with any person, friend or person you’re dating to avoid wanting them to define you. (Wise mentors and counselors speaking into your life are a good place to start.)
Does the guy or the girl pursue or initiate? First off, pursue and initiate are different. Women can initiate or make themselves friendly, ask a guy to join a group event or maybe make themselves available at group events where he might be. Smiling and saying hi are a good starter too!
Sometimes even after a time of getting to know one another, a girl can even be the one to flat out ask the guy if something is going on between them that should be explored. (This is to be prayerfully considered and definitely brought before advisors or mentors.) We all know how Ruth obeyed what her mother in law Naomi told her to do and she initiated with Boaz:
“When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.” Ruth 3:7
Pursuit. One definition says it’s: an effort to secure or attain; quest. Boaz did everything in his power the next day to secure his relationship with Ruth the right way and in honor. Pursuit may be a whole other post.
There is some good material out there that makes a strong case for the nature of a man needing to feel like they have won you over. Its the competitive nature of men. Also, naturally men seem to see something pretty and go pursue but spiritually speaking; sometimes God may lead different to open his eyes to someone his flesh wouldn’t otherwise be drawn to but his heart and spirit need. The Lord leads us all differently.
The Bible says, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22 NLT
So, the man may find the woman and make it official but women can makes themselves friendly, initiate conversation and ask questions when the timing is right and you’re in community.
Wouldn’t it be nice if guys still walked up to girls and just asked them on a non-obtrusive coffee or ice cream date? Some rare ones still do (I know) but women don’t have to just be pretty wall flowers and its nice to have more of an active role in your love story with Gods leading.
Seek God about what fits you because you are unique and the person you date is also unique and God may lead you to speak, smile at someone or go to an event. And never forget:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” Proverbs 4:23