Here is another short excerpt from the new book published last week, this time some advice to a dating woman:
I suppose we should back up and speak about what you want. Maybe you have not thought about it this way, but you want a man in whom you can invest authority. In other words, you want a guy who is able to take charge for you. Those last two words are important. Maybe you have experienced men taking charge selfishly. So, it may not seem to you now like you will want charge-taking in a guy. But you will. As we’ve noted, God did not make Adam and Eve at the same time, but in a different order (1Ti 2:13), and that makes a difference in how their sons and daughters love each other (1Ti 2:13).
How does that matter in your dating? The first is in the asking itself. A man taking charge is first expressed in overcoming the terror in asking you out. If you haven’t realized this yet, it is a terrifying thing for him, even if you have made signs that you like him. You may feel as if you have practically rolled out a red carpet sided with golden rope stanchions inviting him to approach you, and painted hearts all over your forehead beckoning him to ask you, but he still does not see it. You may feel like you have broadcast your openness with loudspeakers set to eleven, mounted on a flamboyant float parading around him for months, but he remains oblivious, like Snoopy lying face up on top of his doghouse. That may be because he just is not interested in you. But it may also be because what he hears is that persistent doubt inside: that, if you really knew him, you couldn’t want him. And he has yet to learn the love of God to overcome it. You must wait for him to learn it.
Women need to be very careful here. The third-wave feminism that tries to establish that there is no difference between men and women does not help you. If you convince men that they are no different from women, they will stop asking you out on dates. And if you think that you will just ask him out instead, you are stunting his growth. He will learn from your innocent act that he does not have to become a man. And that will plague your relationship for a long, long time.
Patty had recently converted to Christianity and was earnestly trying to submit herself to God. She didn’t know how this Christianity thing worked and was looking to others to find out. She and Boris were certainly friends, being in the same church. She had had some pleasant exchanges with him, but she wasn’t prepared for what came next. They were sitting on a hill. The air was charged. Boris paused, took a deep breath, and finally got it out. He asked her, “Has God told you that we should be married?” Patty caught her breath and fumbled for an answer, something like “No . . . why?” She spent the rest of the conversation trying to make things less awkward for him
Boris and Patty’s exchange, unfortunately not unique, demonstrates a particularly religious way of a man avoiding responsibility. Boris put the cherry on top by not even phrasing it as “God told me . . . ” but rather making it into a question for Patty about what God might have told her. Without getting into the question of how God usually directs us, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that a guy did somehow receive this privileged information about your future; the veil was pulled back revealing a vision of him being with you. What should he do with that information? Well, when people in the Bible received privileged information from God that affected the destiny of unwitting loved ones, they did much better by being quiet about it. Young Joseph, son of Jacob, upon being shown his future as a supreme ruler, made a mess of his life by reciting his dreams to his brothers (Gen 37:2–11; Gen 37:19–20). On the other hand, David, being anointed as king while the current king Saul remained in power, patiently sat on the information through many excruciating years before obtaining the crown (1Sa 16:13—2Sa 5:3). Mary, witness to extraordinary prophecies about her baby son Jesus, did not call the Jerusalem Times to spread the word. She wisely chose to “treasure these things up in her heart” (Luk 2:8–39). Boris would have gotten much farther with Patty if he had just told her that he liked her a whole lot.
Citing a dream or vision to ask a girl out—or worse, to propose—wreaks havoc because it shifts the responsibility for the request off of him onto God. Maybe it is God’s plan, but you, as a woman, need to know that it is the guy’s plan also. That is what it means to be firstborn. This is the first sign you can use to judge if this man is going to be able to carry the authority in your marriage to make it work.
Patty did not get together with Boris. She ended up with Steve, another guy who handled responsibility in the relationship quite differently. She came to appreciate and love that over an extended period of time. Today she is teaching her three grown children that God uses all of who we are to make decisions like these. We are made with wills specifically because God has a will. Responsibility comes along with having a will. Find someone who can ask you out. Again, Adam was firstborn in relation to Eve. Being firstborn means a position of authority for the flourishing of the woman. Does the guy you are dating have any sense of this? Can you see him step forward in situations for you? If he can, is it a matter of his own pride or a matter of your benefit?