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March 21, 2006

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Bec

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for this. I really appreciate the perspective given and the affirming knowledge that there are guys out there willing to be patient and not so impressed with flirty females.

Rebecca

Rebekah

I was embarrassed for these girls as read it!I think perhaps Connor needs to be a little more careful in his approach but it sounds like the women are a little less than focussed.

But I should not be so quick to throw stones--I can be just as distracted and unfocussed in my own heart. It certainly makes cautionary reading!

Janelle

Amen to this article! I have three older brothers who have struggled with this (2 are now married to very godly wives). What I have noticed is that some girls will try to go through the family first...they want to be my best friend, hang out with me, meet for lunch, all that stuff. It is less subtle (or so they think) but it has the same effect on my brothers. Sometimes I wish they could be videotaped and shown just how obvious it is, and how my brothers are put off by it.

Naomi

Connor's comments simply reaffirmed my belief that men ought to be the initiator, pursuer and leader in relationships. Though it's hard (VERY hard) for us ladies to stand by and watch a passionate, Godly man be alone, I think that it strengthens our trust in God. His will and His timing are always perfect.

Just because a man is wonderful, doesn't mean that he should be ours. And really, even if he is intended to be ours, only the Lord can reveal it to his heart.

Angela

I appreciate "Conner's" humble willingness to seek help in this most delicate matter. It is always refreshing to hear a man's perspective to the whole Christian singles scene.

I do, however, have a word of Godly caution for our dear brother Mr. "Conner". 1 Cor. 7:1b reminds us that "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." Since you/he is dealing with potentially "baby" Christians anything that you/he can do to make sure he is "blameless" in the situation is of the utmost importance-even a seemingly "innocent hug/pat."

I, however, throw "no stones" as I, too, have had walk this tedious tight rope with the opposite sex. With the Holy Spirit's complete help it is possible to manuever safely across.

God bless you, Conner, and the rest of the Godly men out there who are truly trying to lead us women by example.

Janice

Wow, this is awesome and so encouraging to hear "the other side." It helps to have the practical application and be reminded of the importance of guarding one another's hearts through actions and attitudes. Thanks for the provocation to be faithful.

Stephanie

As real and serious as this topic is, I think you have to laugh at it all from time to time.

Such a time was when Paul Mathies (associate pastor at The Village Church in Highland Village, TX) began the first message of a two-part series on singleness. It's all said in a very joking manner, so please don't take offense... "There's a tendency in today's church that if a single's pastor talks about relationships, he becomes a heartthrob... may God's will be done!"

I highly recommend the Single Minded series. Part I was on 9/18/05, and Part II was on 9/25/05.

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/resources/sermons/091805_singleminded.html

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/resources/sermons/092505_singlemind2.html

anoninva

I hope this is not off topic. But I have big red flags popping up as I read this article. This young man (I am assuming that he is young) seems to be either quite naive or else he needs to re-examine his motives in leading this group. Perhaps it is not quite proper to have a single man leading a mixed-gender bible study? After all the Scriptures tell us that the older women are to teach the younger women. Perhaps this is why, as a protection for the hearts of the women and the men? If this man is a pastor and that is why he is leading this group, then that is a different issue, I suppose. But I would not, if I were him, trust myself so implicitly as he seems to be doing in his comments. If we think we are standing firm.... His comments about hugging are also troubling. Hugging women who are not your mom or sister is very problematic and sends the wrong signal. I think that the young ladies should also re-think whether they ought to be involved in this group. Perhaps they ought to find a group of ladies for Bible study? I for one do not see how you can really focus on the Word and on the Lord with this type of undercurrent (attraction) in the group. Just another perspective from an older Christian.

Vanessa

that's great, thanks carolyn for sharing. Sometimes i think that if i don't make it a point to initiate conversation with a guy, he will forget about me, or become interested in someone else who is. It takes trust in God and self control to refrain from the constant 'displaying' of myself, but it makes the relationship much more natural, serves the brothers in my life, and glorifys God when I do.

Philippa

I warm to this young man. :)

I'm a huggy person myself, but tend to distribute my hugs amongst my Christian sisters rather than my Christian brothers, because ... well, because. Sanctified common sense and all that. :)

As an older single, I have a soft spot for enthusiastic, godly young Christian men who are unlikely to view me as a potential date, because of the age gap between us... I can treat them as younger brothers without any agenda, and it's great.

Go easy on the hugs, dear brother, use godly discretion and you'll be fine. And put God first in your life, and all things will work out ... whatever season God leads you through. :)

Jessica

Great insights! Thanks Carolyn. I was reminded of something I heard a very godly man say years ago... the paraphrase goes like this..."Are you treating men (or women if you are a guy) in a way that you would want women to treat your future husband (wife)?" This has been so helpful to me as I have interacted with the opposite sex.

Jennifer L

Well, we women sure have been known to misinterpret a 'thank you' or a smile from a guy, haven't we? All of a sudden we're anticipating THE question being asked and when can we book the church?! The poor guy was just...well, thanking you! :) I think that's where all the caution on the hugging is coming from.

I completely agree with Naomi. It is SO very hard to be patient and wait on 'him' to make the first move...especially if it appears he DOESN'T want to be married!

This brings us to the conclusion that God must, in His Sovereign plan, have a way of working things out or he is not to be our husband! The last comment Naomi made, "Just because a man is wonderful, doesn't mean that he should be ours. And really, even if he is intended to be ours, only the Lord can reveal it to his heart." is great...although I must say that I have no problem with a little matchmaking from those who are in my life! :)

I can't wait to hear the guys' thoughts on this post...did we scare them away? *grin*

RedWolf

An interesting discussion to be sure. I admire Connor's willingness to step out and lead and provide a godly influence in the lives of both men and women. I do agree with the earlier post that said that it is important for older women to teach younger women, but it's also important for guys and ladies to learn from one another as well. These small groups are also often times the launching points for men who eventually become pastors. It allows them to get their feet wet in ministry and really try their hand at it, and in those cases, they will eventually be ministering to women. Best to learn how to deal with it in a godly manner full of intergrity. Dealing with the opposite sex in ministry situations can be tricky, and so I think it's wise that he has a co-leader who is a woman. This allows there to be a woman leader available for times when more one-on-one ministry needs to happen, which could be a tricky and somewhat awkward situation if carried out solely by a man with a woman or vice versa. In the leadership roles that I've been in, we've always emphasized that's important for men to pray with men and women to pray with women, same with counseling on issues. However, teaching a Bible study is something that can be effectively done by all. The issue, I think, is not with Connor, but is just a natural part of human life. Women are going to be attracted to men, and the more godly and "got it all together" he seems, the more attractive he becomes. This is, of course, not license to use small groups or Bible studies to be solely the hunting ground for Mr. Right. But I wouldn't necessarily be surprised when a man finds that some of the women in the group find him intereting.
The only thing I really saw missing in Connor's comments was how he really deals with these advances from the single gals. I wouldn't expect that a single gal wouldn't be interested in a single guy, and so what he's seeing is in many ways quite normal. However, there is a point where if he sees these advances from a single woman, that it would be good for him to have a frank discussion with her about why he is not interested in dating and the like. Rather than just hoping that the single gals won't take notice of him or hope for a relationship, being proactive in helping the woman to realize the futility of her feelings will save embarassment for them both and possible heartbreak for the woman.

Kacie Landrum

I'd say the biggest problem in Connor's church is that the women outnumber the men 5 to 1. No wonder the women are so desperate to get attention--the odds are strongly against them! If Connor wants to deflect attention away from himself, maybe he should be inviting more male friends to church. Why is it that women greatly outnumber men at churches these days anyway?

Andrea

I would like to follow up on Kacie's question, "why is it that women greatly outnumber men at churches these days anyway?" I think this is the real issue facing Christian singles. If this wasn't so there would be no market for "singles books", as the primary purchasers are single Christian females. I am well aware of the problem (it's in Canada as well), but are there solutions to the problem? I actually feel sorry for the few guys that do step through the doors of the church. Often there is not enough male friends for them and us females do our best, but it is not the same. As a young adult leader, I find this issue sad and I wonder what we and our churches could be doing better to help deal with what I consider to be a problem.

barb

Let's not blame all of this on the girls. It is strange in today's world for a single man to NOT be interested in some sort of relationship with available, attractive single women. I don't think the gals in this study are out of line in trying to make a connection with Connor -- rather, the problem may be in their persistance. As a 40-year-old single gal, I can tell you that trying to make the first move doesn't work, and sitting back and waiting doesn't work. Being single is just plain frustrating sometimes!

RedWolf

In response to Kacie's comment, there is a great book on this very topic --- Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow.

And I definitely agree with Barb. We are told not to pursue, so we don't, only to find ourselves neither pursuing nor pursued. It's a dismal deal. When there are so many more women than men, it produces a certain level of competition -- which is undoubtedly the cause for some of the pressure that Connor is feeling.

Sarah

Thanks for your great insights! I do, however, have a few concerns for Conner's sake as well as these ladies. Angela made a good point with the Scripture, "It is better for a man not to touch a woman." This was for the woman's good! Just as we woman should be careful of our dress for man's sake, men should realize that women put a far higher value on touch than they do. If Christian men knew what an encouragement this is, they might be a little more cautious in giving big hugs frequently.
I've also noticed that it is very hard to find the perfect balance between pursuing, which is NOT a women's job, and inactivity and unfriendliness. I come from a homeschooled background where friendship and talking between the sexes in highly discouraged, to the point that my now-fiance complained that these girls were the coldest people on the planet and this is why most young men never seem interested. Wouldn't it be wonderful if men knew all the triggers that encourage men and vice versa? That way, we could avoid sending unintentional signals. That way, we women could rest contentedly in the knowledge that our Lord is quite capable of letting the guys know when and whom to pursue.
I am currently living in Israel, and even here, the question is in the air: "Where are all the men?" One can only pray that the Lord will raise up Godly men to do his will, but regardless, we women have a duty to our Lord and that includes avoiding stumbling the men in the Church.
It also might be a good idea for Conner to be frank in letting these ladies know their attentions won't get anywhere, as opposed to hoping it will simply go away.

Shelley

Sadly, I've noticed that the behavior these girls are exhibiting frequently DOES get results. They're craving attention and they get it! There are many men, even "godly" men who are so flattered by the attention, they flirt right back. So, many times the men are actually teaching these women that what they're doing works. And at the same time, they're teaching the women who do not act this way that to get more attention they need to be more aggressive. My feeling is this, if I see a man responding to these flirtations, I know he's not the man for me. I want my future husband to be above that.


DeborahP

From all that I've read, heard, and seen, there is a space between the "coldest women on the planet" who don't even know to make eye contact and women who ask a man out over and over or drop mack-truck hints over and over. I don't know how to do it but a woman is supposed to let a man know with her eyes or body language or something that she'd welcome being approached by him. I've been reading that men need a sign of some sort before they will approach. I think a Christian Flirting Manual is needed.

I also think Conner could be clear that he's not interested in dating period or not interested in dating anyone in the group and be done with it. Subconsciously he may be enjoying all the attention.

daniel

I agree with DeborahP. Maybe we all need tips on flirting.

I've had older guys tell me I'm a real dummy for not noticing a woman showing interest in me. Older folks (55+) remember what flirting was. I'm 40 and grew up with feminism and very strict school and workplace rules.

The last 30 years did a lot of damage to the natural ways between men and women. These days the slightest misinterpretation can cause big problems. I think this is why men have backed away from initiating and don't even trust obvious flirting cues from women.

I think perhaps this is less of a problem among Christian singles as we take it as a given that we are relating to each other in trust and faith.

I do like the idea of Christian singles developing their own guidelines to flirting, meeting and dating. It wouldn't have to be an encyclopedia, but just something to give everyone a clear understanding of the basics.

daniel

Sorry, me again; I just had one more point to add.

I've been doing a lot of reading on this and have seen where Christian women often tell interested men that they would like to be friends first. I understand this as it's important to get to know someone over time before considering moving into a dating relationship.

Having said that, I have to let you ladies know that the word "friends" does a peculiar thing in the mind of a man. If you say "Let's start out as friends", it does not matter that you are willing to consider dating later on. When a man hears "friends", he interprets this as the woman saying "You are a nice person, but I would never ever consider dating you."

I know this seems unfair, but men have been getting the "let's be friends" rejection since the teen years.

I think it may be better for women to go ahead and accept dates. Go have lunch or dinner and THEN say "I need to take time to get to know someone pretty well before we get to dating regularly". That will keep the man's attention while establishing your boundaries. You are both in control, and there are no misunderstandings.

Shaqueena

Thank you so much for this. I like a guy in my Bible study group (incedently, for some reason there are more men than women in thus group) and I never knew what to do about it. Friends and family, who are not Christian, were encouraging me to make the first move and even though I knew God was telling me to be patient ( He sent me a very clear message on that score) I haven't been a christian very long and don't know how to interact with Godly men. Basically I haven't been interacting with them at all unless it's in a family situation - married couples who encourage me to interact with them where my son and I can see how God meant families to be, I love them for this they are all so good to me and my son. So, now I will be patient as God already told me to do and also do a little information gathering, like reading Joshua Harris' books on dating and courtship so that when the day finally comes that God brings into my life a pontential partner(whether it's the guy I currently like or not) I will hopefully know where to start. Again thank you.

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