He Said-She Said: Dating a Separated Man, Women as Initiators and More
- Thursday, September 30, 2010
It's "grab bag time" once again, and we've decided to answer more than one question in this edition of "He Said-She Said." We receive so many questions that there are simply more questions than there are months in the year! So we've selected six that don't warrant lengthy answers (or rather, ones we felt we could answer well enough with fewer words) and have combined them into one column. We hope you find them helpful and encouraging. Enjoy!
QUESTION: Someone I worked for 27 years ago, who was married at the time and with whom I had only a working relationship, popped up in my life last year. He and his wife are separated and have decided to get divorced, but the division of assets is an issue. My question: Can I, as a Christian, date someone who is separated, with the divorce proceedings in progress but still not through?
HE SAID: Can you? Yes. Should you? No. It doesn't matter how far along the divorce proceedings are, how "coincidental" the reunion was, or how much you enjoy one another's company, the man is still legally married. Carrying on a dating relationship with a married man is emotional adultery.
You don't know God's plan for his relationship with his wife, but if he brought you and your former boss together, the (future) relationship will survive the time it will take to divide his assets. By dating now, you will be moving ahead of God's plan and will for your life.
SHE SAID: Well, my answer is pretty simple: Is the person not married? No. Is he still married (even though he is separated) and still someone's husband? Yes. Therefore, you would be dating a married man. The end.
QUESTION: How can one encourage a Christian sister who has trusted God for a life partner for 23 years and is still single?
HE SAID: Continue to encourage her through your words, love, and actions. Include her in your activities, but try not to center on the family or relationship she doesn't have, but rather emphasize those areas where God is allowing her to do things you aren't able to and how she is being used to impact others.
I, like many singles, am truly grateful for the phone calls, dinners, outings with other's families, concern and love shown to me by my married friends. However, each person married or not, must find their own peace and joy. No one can provide it nor does it come in an earthly relationship.
SHE SAID: The same way you would encourage anyone who has desired for something, someone, anything in his or her life—no matter the time period. You listen, you offer a shoulder to cry on, you pray with and for them (Gal. 6:2). You walk with them through their sadness and suffering, pointing them to the Father and toward his timing and plans for all of our lives. We don't always understand his higher ways, but we do understand that he is sovereign and causes all things to work together for his good (Rom. 8:28). This is the hope that we cling to and all that you or your friend or any of us can do in trying to understand different mystifying situations in each other's lives.
QUESTION: I'm a 31-year-old male. I have a female friend the same age who doesn't believe you have to date someone to get to know them. She believes God will reveal to her the man she's to marry at the right time. Not quite knowing how to ask out someone like this, I asked if she wanted to court—she said, "Well let's go out!" We've had dinner twice and she says she definitely wants to do it again, but the times we "hang out" are here and there, dependent upon her schedule. Because of her full calendar I'm always hesitant to call her, but when we do talk we have good conversations. Another female friend of mine says it could take two to three months for her to decide whether or not she actually wants to date. How do I handle this nebulous, "friends stage"?
HE SAID: I have to agree with your friend, you don't have to "date" someone to get to know them. You can learn a lot about a person by being around, listening, observing and seeing how they interact in different situations.
Try not to get caught up in the "terminology" of whether or not you are "dating." You have gone out with her a couple of times, and she is still around. Continue to ask her out, leave her messages, and let her know how serious you are about spending time with her. She may just have a full schedule because she hasn't had anyone in her life she was interested in enough to change it for or maybe she wants to see if you will pursue her.
SHE SAID: Okay, well personal definitions of "dating" and other mixed messages aside, what is the standing of your heart at this point in the "friends stage"? Are you all in? Or are you only mildly interested and invested? It sounds to me like you are more than mildly interested in pursuing a serious relationship and aren't letting her "schedule" or fluctuating point of view when it comes to more-than-friends relationships sway your intentions up until this point. However, it also sounds like you might be concerned that she is not as interested in you as you are in her—or you might not have sent in your question for us to answer. If this is the case, then I would suggest slowing down a bit and letting your female friend have her two to three months of decision time to figure things out on her own. Meanwhile, you will still be around but will be observing from a more careful distance, as you step up your internal guard's ground patrol of your heart just a little bit. Watch, wait and pray. Then see what God is telling you and showing you about the situation (Prov. 18:15).
QUESTION: I would like to know what are God's "rules" on women initiating a relationship with a guy. I've been challenged on this subject as a leader, and I guess I just assumed through my upbringing and culture that a woman should never call a guy and initiate the relationship. In studying the Bible I can't really find anything that suggests this, but I believe that in today's world as soon as we take our eyes off Christ, our strong tower begins to weaken and if our eyes are not on him, sin will begin to creep in on whatever we have our eyes on. I believe God created man as the initiator and the woman as the responder, but I am having a hard time finding scripture to back that. I have no problems reevaluating my view on the subject and just want to know what God says.
HE SAID: "The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man" (1 Cor. 11:3).
Woman was created from man as a help mate for him, not to lead. When those roles are circumvented or not exercised, possibly by men not taking the initiative to pursue or women not wanting to wait, an imbalance occurs in how God created man and woman to operate.
There's nothing wrong with a female initiating a conversation or showing interest in a man, however I caution women who take a more assertive role to understand this could be an indication of or facilitate a character trait of a man who may not be capable of leading in the relationship.
SHE SAID: Look to the different relationship examples that we have been given in Scripture for clues: Isaac and Rebekah (Gen. 24), Jacob and Rachel (Gen. 29), Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 1-4). In each story, the woman was sought after or noticed by or pursued by the man. However, the example of Boaz and Ruth has a unique twist related to that time period and the culture. Naomi instructed Ruth to request that Boaz act as her kinsman-redeemer, but it was Ruth's right to do so according to levirate law (if a woman's husband died, his next of kin was to take her as his wife and protect her). Boaz, however, inquired about Ruth first, made provision for her and approached her first in his fields. Also, back in Genesis, even Adam was the one who first noticed Eve (who God created for him and brought to him) and said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man" (Gen. 2:23). Thus, in my interpretation, it was Adam who defined the relationship and sought to claim his partner—not Eve. ‘Nough said.
QUESTION: A godly single man prays for a wife! His mother has moved in ten years ago to help raise his two boys and she hasn't moved out! The boys are 22 and 23. God has brought him his wife, but confusion about his mom (who's moving in and out) has caused them to break up! How do you date a 45-year-old man with his mom living at home?
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