Should women pursue?


Many women’s magazines teach that if a woman wants a man she should go get him.  But in the Bible we see a different pattern.  I cannot find one single example of women taking men as husbands in scripture.  Nor can I find a single example of men being given as husbands to women.

[The LORD said...] Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. (Jeremiah 29:6)

The biblical pattern is:

  • men taking wives
  • father’s taking wives for their son’s
  • father’s giving their daughters to the men as wives.

Moreover, we see it’s the men themselves or the fathers of the men/women who find the spouses.  Women didn’t go out searching for husbands themselves.  Some marriages were arranged (Genesis 24) and some were not (as can be seen in the first part of the verse above). It seems that the women would have the choice to accept a marriage proposal or not (Genesis 24:8, 24:57).  Furthermore, we see time and time again that romantic relationships including the pursuit, betrothal and marriage mirror Christ’s relationship with His church (See Ezekiel 16, Ephesians 5, Revelation 21:2,9).   The Bible is not a story of mankind pursuing God and God then responding but rather a story of God pursuing man and man responding. The male/female romantic roles in the Bible seem to reflect Christ’s love, pursuit, care and sacrifice for His church as well as His authority over His church.  If you are not convinced, I have collected a few more scriptures including a look at Ruth and Boaz’s relationship. Am I saying that I think it’s sinful or wrong for a woman to pursue a man? No, I am not. I would however say to do so is working against a scriptural pattern and could be unwise.

What does it mean to be the pursuer/leader? The Bible does not spell this out so this is just my personal take.  I would say that:

The pursuer is the person who performs the majority of the acts of pursuit.

What are acts of pursuit?  I would say they are actions that either:

  • Clearly initiate a courtship
  • Keep the courtship going
  • Move the courtship towards engagement and marriage

Now please understand me: I am NOT saying that for a woman to let a man pursue/lead she can never perform acts of pursuit.  There might be times where it would be common sense and even wise for a woman to perform an act of pursuit. However, I do think that to let men pursue and lead is to let them do the majority of these actions. To understand this more, take a look at our article ‘How to Not pursue men’.

Below are a few potential consequences of women pursuing men:

1. We should start as we mean to go on

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:22-24)

In marriage, the man is called to love us and lead us and we are called to follow him and submit.  When this happens, marriage can be a beautiful living picture of the relationship between Christ and His church.  When the woman wears the trousers in a marriage and the man passively follows her, the picture is distorted.  Would you like to be in a marriage where you are the head and your husband the submissive follower? If this is your desire then you do not want a Christian marriage and most Christian women would hopefully say “No”!

What does this have to do with him being the pursuer?  We can’t expect a man who we have pursued and persuaded to marry us, a man who has passively submitted to our will, to suddenly transform into the leader and pursuer once we get married.   In addition, if we have taken the role of the leader, get married and want to let him lead, do you think it will be easy for us to relinquish control?  Relationships are difficult to change and we should start as we mean to go on.  The benefits of doing so are huge!   If we do get married to a godly, kind, responsible man and he has taken his role as leader from the beginning, we get to marry a guy who takes responsibility for the marriage.  A guy who protects as, guides us and looks after us.  A man who continues to chase us and treasures us.  We get to relax in our marriages and enjoy the freedom of letting him be the head!

2. A man who likes us enough will pursue us

18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”…20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her (Genesis 29:18,20).

Like Jacob, when a man meets a woman who he thinks he would like to marry, he is willing to work to get her.  Conversely, if a man does not have the drive or passion to pursue a woman, we have to question if he likes her enough. Do we desire to marry someone who was never that into us but ended up marrying us because we pursued him and pressurized him?  I imagine not!  Most of us want to marry a man who appreciates, cherishes and values us.  A man who is attracted to us, desires us and feels privileged to be married to us.

Such a man will be willing to pursue.

  • He will be willing to pick up that phone to ring us and will continue to be willing!
  • He will not be put off if we don’t call him to chat but will be happy we have taken his call!
  • He will want to initiate serious conversations about the future and he will want to frequently see us!

By pursuing a man we might end up being involved with someone who never would have chased us and doesn’t really think we are a catch.  On the other hand, by only considering men who are willing to work to obtain us, we weed out the candidates who are not that serious and avoid a lot of heartache.  In addition, if we do get married, we get to marry a guy who thinks we are wonderful and a real prize!

3. We can put him off and end up heartbroken

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. (Song of Songs 8:6)

Love is a very powerful thing and to fall in love and then be rejected can cause deep scars.  In my experience over the years and after talking to many men and women it seems that chasing men and trying to lead can increase the likelihood of a woman experiencing heartbreak.  It appears that God has wired men and women differently since it is the experience of many individuals that:

  • A woman can be pursued by a man whom she really likes and continually grow in respect towards him.  In fact a woman can grow to like a man she was not initially interested in through him pursuing her.  It seems as if she has been designed by God to be pursued.
  • When a man is heavily and continually pursued by a woman whom he really likes, he will often begin to lose respect for her (perhaps because she is taking away his God given role?)
  • A woman loves it when a man she likes calls her far more than she calls him and is always the one to initiate a meet-up. In contrast a man can begin to find it irritating when a woman he likes calls him far more than he calls her and is always the one initiating meet-ups before he has even had the chance to ask her.
  • The same behavior we find sweet that stirs us love in us, can seem annoying, clingy and desperate to a man.

Many a man has broken things off with a woman he was initially attracted to because she has unwittingly driven him away by pursuing him and trying to lead.  He might not even know exactly why.  He might just know that he initially felt a spark and found her very interesting and in time the spark was lost. By understanding how God made us differently and allowing the guy to lead and perform the majority of the actions of pursuit, we reduce the possibility of heartbreak.

4. We can use our single years far more fruitfully and effectively.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,

How much time do women waste interested in guys who are not that interested whom will never marry them.  How many years do women waste through being involved with men whom they pursued and ended up pushing away? Our time on this earth is short and there are so many people who have not yet heard the gospel and so many people who desperately need to be discipled in our churches.  We are called to seek God’s kingdom first and when we do this as single people, we can deeply impact the church and the world!  Women are in a hugely privileged position compared to men in this aspect: we don’t need to worry about finding a man!  We can seek God and His work without distraction.  If a godly man asks to pursue us, we can begin considering if they would make a suitable husband.  But until then, we can freely serve the Lord without having to worry about searching for a man!  Moreover, we don’t have to expose ourselves to the huge possibility of rejection in the same way a man does.  We can just go about our business and only be pursued by men who want to be with us. This again enables us to seek and serve the Lord wholeheartedly in a far more pain free fashion then a man.  Lord, help us to use this great privilege effectively!

So are you convinced that women should not pursue men?  Let us know by commenting below! [Rowina Seidler] Follow on article…How to NOT pursue men.

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