You have a growing friendship with a lovely Christian guy and you would like it to go further, but he seems to be reluctant to take any initiative. What, if anything, should you do?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

This is not an unusual scenario. This can be for all kinds of reasons. Some men don’t like the prospect of being turned down. Some men find it difficult to know their minds and hearts. Some men are hesitant to commit. In the Christian community the stakes seem high – if the relationship does not proceed to marriage, the girl (or both) might be hurt and friendships within a close church community spoiled. But maybe he does not share your feelings about wanting the relationship to become more than a simple friendship.

Historically, it is traditional for the man to ask the woman out. There is a good reason for it being this way round.

Why is it an issue at all?

We live in a society where men and women are encouraged to have interchangeable roles. Historically, it is traditional for the man to ask the woman out. There is a good reason for it being this way round. The Bible makes it clear that in marriage – ‘the husband is to be the head of his wife’ (Ephesians 5:23 [1]). Since going out is a trial preparation for marriage, it is wise if the first step in the relationship follows the pattern of the man taking the initiative, (even at some risk to himself!).

Pushing a ‘declaration of interest’ can easily backfire.

Be wise in your conduct

In matters of the heart it is important that both sides are careful about what they disclose to others. Careless words or impulsive actions can do much damage and cause misunderstanding.

Pushing a ‘declaration of interest’ can easily backfire. You may pressurise him into a relationship that he is unsure about or you may end up going out with a man who expects you to take all the initiative from then on!

Remember that just because you have strong feelings towards someone, it does not mean that they are necessarily ‘the right one’. Such emotions must be tested in a number of ways – including whether the interest is mutual!

It is easy to misread someone’s interest in you. Sometimes a man is prone to persistently send out the wrong messages to women about his interest in them. In such cases it may be necessary for a pastor to counsel the young man to be very careful about encouraging a friendship with a Christian girl if he has no intention of considering the possibility of marriage. The pastor (or his wife) may also help you gain a more realistic view of the relationship.

What then should you do when your interests are not returned?

First, make the most of the opportunity to get to know him in the relatively unpressurised friendship stage. Especially at this time, take note of the genuineness and wholeheartedness of his commitment to the Lord. This time may also confirm whether he is interested in a special relationship with you or not. Starting to ‘go out’ is a public step and so adds some pressure and generally makes discernment about suitability harder.

Second, pray about the matter and ask God to work this out for you or, if this relationship is not His will for you, to give you peace and contentment about it.
Third, if you feel you need to share your feelings with someone, and depending on how old you are, speak to your parents, to your pastor and his wife, or to another mature female friend or pastoral worker in your church. Ask them for wisdom on your desires and for them to join you in laying your situation before the Lord in prayer.

  1. Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour.”