One of the things I most appreciated about my husband before we started dating was that he was very clear about his intentions. There wasn’t a lot of time between the first sign that he might be interested and when he asked me out on our first date. There weren’t months of build-up wondering if he was interested, what his actions meant, and whether he would eventually ask me out. He liked me, and he asked me out on a date. It was simple, and uncomplicated, and I liked that, probably because I found it to be such a rarity in relationships.
For the most part, people aren’t that clear about their intentions. As I’ve written about previously, girls often confuse cause and effects when talking about what’s important to them in a relationship. And guys are known to delay defining a relationship, perhaps because they are afraid of the responsibilities that such a relationship entails.
The lack of clarity creates confusion, hurt and a lot of discord – things that shouldn’t characterize relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yet, I find that sometimes this is even more prone to happen in Christian circles. Intentions are unclear, interpretations are made, and people wind up hurt, and more often than not, both parties have some of the responsibility to bear.
Ladies, we have a tendency to want to interpret every little sign to reinforce what we hope to be true. However, we have to remember that part of a being a godly man means being respectful, being kind, and caring for other people. If a guy acts this way, please be slow to interpret it as a sign that he wants a romantic relationship. After all, these are characteristics that we want to be true of every brother in Christ. Additionally, please consider this – it takes a strong and courageous man to be clear about his intentions…and this is the type of man you should want to date. If a guy is not clear, and you’re having to “read between the lines” and “figure out what it all means” that’s probably not the guy for you.
On the other hand, gentlemen please know that a girl is going to try to interpret your actions. If you aren’t interested in dating her, please don’t act like you are. I’ve found that since I’m married, guys treat me differently than if I was not. They are nice, respectful and kind, but there is a sort of deference, a respect for the fact that I’m someone else’s wife. But here’s the thing, in all likelihood that girl that you are flirting with will be somebody else’s wife one day. If you aren’t interested in her being your wife, or at least dating her to find out if she could be your wife, treat her as if she is somebody else’s. Treat her as a sister in Christ who is betrothed to one of your brothers. In doing so, your intentions will be clear.
While most agree about the importance of clarity, we have all been guilty of creating confusion. Yet our God is not a god of confusion but of peace (I Corinthians 14:33a). And this is what we should strive for in our relationships as well.