I talk a good bit about allowing our men to lead, us not taking control and us respecting them as the leaders in our relationships.
Sometimes, it is easy to go way too far toward one extreme or the other.
- One one side, the extreme is that we could become controlling and try to take over the relationship and try to force things to happen the way we think things should happen. When we go to this extreme (like I did for about 14 years in our marriage), we end up disrespecting our men, usurping their leadership, repelling our men… and we usually end up very resentful, bitter, afraid, worried and lonely.
- On the other extreme, we can be so determined to NOT be controlling that we can end up giving up our influence entirely and we can become totally silent and say nothing about our thoughts, desires, priorities or feelings. When we go to this extreme, we can become bitter and resentful because our men don’t read our minds. We can also lose our sense of personhood. Men are not mind readers. Men love for women to have feelings, original ideas and their own desires. Those are GOOD and HEALTHY things. It is necessary and important for us to say what we want, how we feel and what we need. We can do these things in respectful ways. We don’t have to become controlling.
There is this wonderful place in the middle where we are full of faith and trust in our men, where we respect them, and where we allow them to lead, but we also share our feelings,desires, perspectives and wants, too. I personally believe we must be operating in the power of God’s Spirit to soar in this place. When we are operating in our own power, we easily end up in one of the extremes.
IF YOUR MAN ASKS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO OR WHAT YOU WANT…
Please tell him! If he asks what you want to do that day, where you want to eat, what you’d like for your birthday – it is GOOD to tell him what you would like and to share your desires and opinions. Please don’t dictate or demand anything. But just briefly and pleasantly share what you would like.
- “Ooh! I’d LOVE to visit the zoo today and try out the new zip line that runs over the river!”
- “I’m definitely feeling in the mood for some Italian food today!”
- “Hmmm… for my birthday, I would really love to go to my favorite restaurant together.”
You are not demanding anything. He has the ability to decide whether or not do to the things you mentioned. Your man can then decide to delight you by doing something he knows you would definitely enjoy.
If you refuse to tell him what you would like, and you wait on him to come up with all the activities to do and leave all the scheduling and planning completely to him – you will probably be disappointed, and he will probably be very frustrated because he won’t have any idea how to do things that would make you happy.
WHEN TO NOT SAY WHAT YOU WANT:
The areas that I believe are areas to probably avoid when you are talking about what you want are things like…
- I want us to be in a committed relationship
- I want us to get engaged.
- I want a diamond ring./You need to buy me a ring.
- I love you (when he hasn’t said it first)
- Let’s go on a date (when he hasn’t shown interest or asked you out)
- I want to get married./We should get married.
- I want to have 4 children with you one day (when he hasn’t even asked you on a date yet)
- Here’s what I want to do, this is what we’ll do. I don’t care about what you want…
If you are demanding his affection, his commitment, his attention, his marriage proposal… that is a big problem.
Giving him directives or questioning his decisions can also be a problem. Men do not like to be told what to do. And they really don’t appreciate it when we question them as if they are incompetent:
- You should…
- I want you to…
- Why would you…?
- Why didn’t you…?
- You must …
- You will …
If your man asks what food you like, what church you prefer or what you might enjoy for your birthday or Christmas – please tell him your preferences!
My concern with control is that you don’t take over and try to make him do things or force him into a deeper commitment or try to force him to rush the relationship or force him into marriage. Allow him to set the pace of the relationship. But there are plenty of areas where you are completely free to talk about what you want and what you like.
SOMETIMES YOU MAY NEED TO HELP INITIATE A RELATIONSHIP
If you are interested in a guy, and you believe he may be interested in you, but he has not worked up the courage to ask you out, I have no problem with you saying something like,
- “Just so you know, if you ever wanted to ask me out, I would say, ‘Yes.'”
- “You are exactly the kind of guy I could see myself dating/courting. I admire you so much.”
Then leave the ball in his court. You are not forcing him into a relationship. You are not taking over. You are allowing him to ask you out- but you are showing him it is safe to ask you out. Especially on college campuses now with that ridiculous new sexual harassment law – it is going to be necessary to make it very clear that you would welcome a guy asking you out.
I am not going to say it is always wrong to give your number/email to a guy. There may be a time it would be good to do that. I think that generally, things probably work better when the guy asks for then girl’s number and calls her first. But there are a lot of variables and each situation is unique. More than following any suggestions I give – be open to God’s Spirit and His leading. 🙂
My concern is that you don’t fall to one of the extremes:
- say nothing and give the poor guy NO HOPE and no clue that you are interested in him
- take over and call him first, ask him out first, then text him multiple times per day and start talking about marriage and kids the first week you meet him.
Either of these extremes are going to be damaging to potential relationships with men.
If you have a situation you’d like to talk about – let me know!