In Hot Pursuit: Should Men or Women Pursue?

Women have long held the idea that men are suppose to pursue them. There used to be a time when girls were forbidden–or at the very least, discouraged–from calling a man, let alone asking one out.

Times have changed, however, and many women now feel that it is perfectly acceptable for women to ask out (or *ahem* even chase down) the opposite sex.

But do these same standards apply to Christians? Is it kosher for a single Christian woman to pursue a man or should men always be the pursuer?

For starters, let’s look at God. He is the ultimate pursuer. He comes after us, romances us, and wins us with His love. Likewise, each and every follower of Christ should be in full pursuit of Him first and foremost before they ever worry about pursuing the opposite sex. Okay, now that we got that out of the way…

Let’s address the issue of what it actually means to pursue. All too often, Christians have a misguided notion, constructed by Hollywood no less, of what pursuit actually means. Pursuit is not aggressive, obnoxious, won’t take “no” for an answer guerrilla-style dating. No. It is something quite different.

One definition of pursuit is the “act of striving.” I like that. Here’s why: pursuit should be an ongoing process to attain or secure that which you are pursuing. You see, it never stops. Pursuit is not a one-time deal. Husbands must still pursue their wives. Christians must always pursue Christ. Our Lord continually pursues us, His children.

Pursuit, by definition, should be us striving continually. Sound exhausting? Well, I guess it can be, but it serves a purpose. And what does all this have to do with dating?

The way I see it, the act of pursuit in dating has to be in direct relationship to one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. If a man is pursuing a woman, he should not be doing so unless he is pursuing Jesus with all he’s got. And ladies, why would you want a man to pursue you who is doing any less?

Sadly, many woman want to be the pursuers in the relationship because 1) men aren’t doing it or 2) men are pursuing, but doing it poorly. As a result, women all too often try to take the reigns and become the pursuer, so as to force the situation.

Some men today think that a text message with a “u look hawt” and an evening watching Jersey Shore on the couch constitutes “pursuing.” So it’s understandable when a chick tries to turn the tables.

Here’s the truth, pursuit does take both parties. God, for example, pursues us, but it requires that we respond to His advances. Likewise, a man pursuing a woman requires (if she is interested) that she respond accordingly–meaning she flirts and let’s him know he is on the right track.

So, as you’re reading this, you may have noticed that I only paint the man as the pursuer…and you’re right. I know to some I may sound old-fashioned, archaic, and not very egalitarian, but here’s the thing: I know there are exceptions to every rule, but I think most women like–heck, they want–to be pursued. And most men want to be the pursuer.

The trouble is, we have forgotten what that looks like and how to do it. Pursuit is an ongoing act of striving that requires both people to participate. If men pursued Christ first, then a woman in a non-Hollywood type manner, you better believe that a woman would respond with excitement and enthusiasm…making the pursuit fun once again.

What do you think? Should only men pursue? Should women pursue men? What should pursuit look like? Weigh in with your own thoughts on the hot pursuit.

25 thoughts on “In Hot Pursuit: Should Men or Women Pursue?”

  1. I am in tremendous agreement! We recently discussed this at a women only life group throug my church, and we all agreed (with evidentiary proof from the bible) that men should be the ones to pursue women. I actually just had this same discussion with an elderly man that regularly comes to my store in the mall. Surprisingly, he thought women should look more actively for a mate. I told him I disagreed and we had a nice chat about it.

    Great post!! =)

  2. Great post, Nicole! I think men should still be the pursuers. I don’t know why…maybe the feminism/equality movement, but it seems that pursuit is no longer taught. So, understandably, no one knows how to do it/receive it.

    The men I know want to be pursuers and they want women to let them pursue. I hope that we can teach this healthy method of growing relationships.

    I loved this part:
    “Here’s why: pursuit should be an ongoing process to attain or secure that which you are pursuing. You see, it never stops. Pursuit is not a one-time deal. Husbands must still pursue their wives. Christians must always pursue Christ. Our Lord continually pursues us, His children.”

    1. Malisa,
      You touch on a great point: the feminist and equality movement. There is no question that these movements have contributed to the emasculation of men and thus the act of men pursuing women. Great insight!

  3. Awesome post Nicole! Me and my wife give this 4 thumbs up!

    You’re the first person I’ve heard to say BOTH partners should pursue each other (at least so bluntly! We love blunt btw!). People normally focus on the man pursuing the woman. I think the definition you pulled for pursuit “an act of striving” is ideal for this topic as well!

    Seriously, it only makes sense for both the man and woman to pursue (strive) for a healthy relationship with each other. Building a relationships takes work from BOTH partners involved.

    I really love this concept, can’t wait to finish play with the idea with my wife after work!

    [Shameless off-topic comment]
    I absolutely LOVE the new site layout. This one is very spacious and easy to read, makes me want to comment on everything forever! Sorry, the web-geek in me couldn’t control itself.
    [/Shameless off-topic comment]

    1. Chris,
      Thank you for the kind words. I love that you and your wife discuss topics like these together. Sounds like you have a healthy marriage.

      As to your off-topic comment: I know right? We just had it re-designed. This is only the 1st phase. The rest of the changes will roll out next week. Thanks for the feedback. It is encouraging to hear that these changes do not go unnoticed!

  4. I don’t think there is or should be a hard and fast rule. I think that women ought to pursue if they feel so led. In my recent dating experiences, when I as a male reached out to various women, nothing came of it. When women made the first move, however, it tended to work better. Not sure I have a theological basis for that, just reporting in from the field…

    1. Ed,
      I do agree. I don’t think there needs to be a hard rule either. I’m by no means opposed to a woman asking a man out from time to time, but overall I think men should do the pursuing. It’s interesting that your personal experience has proven differently. I can’t argue with that!

  5. This is wonderful! I work at a Christian college and I always hear complaints from the women that the men don’t pursue (does not happen only at this college, I think it’s an epidemic on Christian colleges everywhere) and aren’t clear with their actions. On the flip side of that the women will take things that the men do way out of context. I work hard to express to some of the women the importance of creating “opportunities” to hang out with the guys. That is my version of pursuing.
    I agree with you on being pursued by the man. No matter how independent a woman is she wants to be wooed. I have been pegged as old fashioned, too. But to that I say that there’s no school like the old school.

    1. Celisse,
      You are so wise. I can tell. I love that you advise young women to “make opportunities” to hang out with guys. Yes! Too often girls do nothing and wonder why no one has asked them out. And as you point out, young men are all too often unclear in their intentions and actions. I’m glad that some of them at least have wise counsel in you.

      Your comment had me laughing out loud by the way! There is no school like the old school did it. And you’re right.

  6. Call me old-fashioned, but I definitely think the man needs to pursue. However, I think that men of God (especially older ones) need to do a better job of teaching young men how to pursue, date, woo, etc. women! Our generation is called “the fatherless” generation…and I think that sadly the truth of that has not shown many guys how to pursue….which is what makes girls want to do the pursing…. Definitely think that it’s the guy’s role though!

    1. Hannah,
      I love that you touched on the fatherless generation that so many young men have found themselves a part of. Men are not instructed these days on how to pursue a woman with respect and integrity. Sadly, men and women both, are suffering the consequences.

  7. Awesome article! I agree that men should be the pursuer… it is the way we are wired by God and for a good reason. I especially liked the part where you mention that the woman should flirt back and let the man know he is on the right track, if she is interested. It seems some take the “hard to get” part too far to where I become disinterested. There needs to be SOME reciprocity in the process. Thanks for posting!

    1. Well said! Women today very often tow the line of either being too afraid of looking scandalous so they don’t flirt at all or they are over the top when it comes to flirting, thereby turning a man off.

      Healthy and appropriate flirting is important! As you stated, reciprocity is needed. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Reminds me of a quote:
    “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek HIM first to find her.”

    If men persued the Lord with all their heart, I think they would know what to do when persuing a woman.

  9. Compared to most of your readers, I’m an old lady :) My kids are college-age. My two cents: Not having been raised in a “Christian Home” and being a teen in the 80’s, my gal pals did alot of the pursuit of guys. I was raised by grandparents, and the daughter of a teen mom. I was very clear on my boundaries with boys, and never had the desire OR the nerve to pursue. My husband, who I met in high school, did ALL the pursuing. In the days before cell phones and caller id, I didn’t even HAVE his number for over a month. He called. He payed. He pursued. 4 years of dating and 23 years of marriage later, we’re still in love, still married. And he was the man who made me believe that maybe there was a God, and maybe he could love me.

    Those girls who did the pursuing? Most are still looking for Mister Right.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home either. I myself was pretty aggressive in pursuing guys. It seemed I was never asked out actually. it was always me doing the pursuing…until my husband. He pursued me in a healthy, yet romantic way. i was swept off my feet. I, like you, have said that my husband is my proof that God loves me.

      Sounds like we both scored great husbands, who pursued us well, just like our Lord. Thanks for commenting.

  10. I have never given too much thought to whether or not women SHOULD pursue men. But I know personally I want to be pursued. And from things I hear or read from other women, I think that is a common thing. I hate that the only men (in my experience) that will pursue women are the overly confident, obnoxious, charmer types. I want to be pursued, but not by someone that acts like a used car salesman or that leers at me. I think someone needs to teach the nice guys that it’s okay to pursue women and that women really do want to be pursued.

    1. Jenn,
      You make some great points. So many men do attack women like some sleazy car salesman trying to make a commission. (I love the analogy by the way). I think it is up to the now happily married husbands in our churches to teach younger men how to pursue a woman with respect and integrity. I hope to see more of this happen soon.

  11. I think we define pursuit so much in terms of dating. But, pursuit should continue in marriage as well. I think of pursuit in terms of “pursuing the heart”. We serve a relentless God, He who leaves the 99 to go after the 1. It’s that same picture that I think should be evident in our marriages.

    I’m not sure what that really looks like because I feel that it hasn’t even been explored or as you’ve said in the comments, taught by older men in the church. I’m also wondering to what degree a woman should pursue within a marriage, or as you say, if her response is more an act of simply responding and encouraging the pursuit. Practically speaking, I even wonder about things like sexual initiation, or taking reigns over communication with family, discipline of the children, etc. Maybe that is more a discussion about leadership and roles?? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  12. One of my girlfriends felt the need to make it known that they were traditional and wanted me to pursue them. I didn’t (and now) really know what that meant but after reading this, I feel a little better. I thought she wanted me to romance her all the time and that sounded expensive and tiring. I see now my lack of a proper relationship with God is what made me fall short (the relationship ended but it was for different reasons…I think)

  13. I think its for the better that a man pursue a woman. As a woman having been in a number of dysfunctional relationships where I was the one giving myself too willingly for the sake of needing affection, I was not allowing myself to experience the worth I had if I were to allow myself to be pursued. A woman needs to know her worth providing the guy she is allowing to pursue her is of good character and has high moral stanards and is prepared to give her the same if not more than she is prepared to give. Girls should be pursued like gold!

    1. Right Ms. Jules, the man should NEVER ,ever be able to experience being worth something.We just cannot let that happen, can we? Oh, God no!

  14. I believe that men should pursue. A true believer will understand a few things; first of all that you don’t have to pursue every person who shows interest in you or who you may have a physical attraction to. Spend time together as friends and then discern if this is indeed someone you would want to pursue further. If God gives you the green light in prayer, then go for it. I think what I am hearing from the guys is how discouraged they’ve become by a “no” from women who God probably did not intend for them. Consider these small victories fellas that you didn’t waste your time that is better suited for pursuing HIM. Instead of letting a few negatives get in your way, remember that if you want a truly Christ centered marriage in the future, you don’t want a wife who doesn’t submit to the Lord first. Let God be bigger than you, only then can you claim your identity in ANY relationship. Peace be with you.

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