The way people talk about and answer this question still really surprises me. People I thought would answer one-way answer the opposite, some people get really passionate about it too. But I think people’s views are often linked to other assumptions, which can hinder and end a romantic relationship before it begins.
In my experience, there are lots of topics which cause controversy when it comes to Christian dating. Like dating a non-Christian (Read Why Does Everyone Tell Me Not To Date A Non-Christian?) or is there such thing as ‘The One’. (Read Why I Chose To Reject Finding ‘The One’).
But surprisingly, in my experience, one that really seems to polarise people is when someone asks ‘Should men always make the first move?’
I have seen people in relationships and people who are single, male and female, argue both sides. Some say that it really doesn’t matter, or assuming men have to do it is archaic. While others say men need to be intentional and commit to the relationship, and getting them to ask is part of that. Some people want men to be ‘head of the relationship’, therefore they should make the first move.
It’s often linked to other assumptions, rather than being a stand-alone view.
Personally, I think reasons for people’s strong opinion on this matter is because it’s often linked to other assumptions, rather than being a stand-alone view.
On the one hand, for example, if you see the relationship being more about equals and sharing decisions, or if you’re just laid back about these things, or if you’re a bit shy (particularly if you are male), you probably don’t really mind who asks.
On the other hand, for example, if you have a more traditional view of male and female roles, or are female and have been hurt in the past by someone who you chased but then they were a bit flaky, or if as a man you like to take initiative, then you probably think men should ask.
Do They Help Here?
Essentially, I think it’s other assumptions and experiences that drive people’s opinions on this issue. Which is fine and understandable, but I believe it’s more important to let those assumptions drive the other issues rather than this one.
It’s more important to focus on forming a relationship built on mutual respect and selflessness
In other words, I think it’s more important to think about what type of person you want to build a relationship with, the relational dynamics you want to help guide you, and your shared values, rather than getting worried about who should ask who.
(The following extract is taken from page 187-188 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free.)
So Should Men Always Make The First Move?
Some Christians recommend that when it comes to asking someone out, men should initiate and women should respond. But we don’t think it’s worth worrying about who makes the first move.
It’s more important to focus on forming a relationship built on mutual respect and selflessness. The less we get wound up about which gender does the asking, the better.
Some guys like to be the one who asks, and some girls like to be the one who is asked. There’s nothing wrong with this. We think it is up to you to decide what you would prefer and to act on it.
[As Rachel says] Ladies, if we would prefer a man to approach us, we need to be careful that we don’t establish such a strong sisterhood around us at social events that no guy will ever have the courage to approach us, let alone ask us out.
And men, if we would prefer to be the one doing the asking, ask! We can’t be flirting and sending out ‘I-like-you’ vibes, if we are not prepared to follow them through.
Asking someone out can feel daunting, whether you’re a guy or a girl, but remember that it isn’t the same as asking someone to marry you. (Read 5 Rules To Follow When Talking To Someone You Like)
‘Would you ever like to grab a coffee or go for a walk, just you and me?’
Skye did it brilliantly; she waited until coffee after the evening service before she approached Jake to ask him out. ‘Would you ever like to grab a coffee or go for a walk, just you and me?’ she asked. He was bowled over and said yes. She didn’t make it into a big deal or get lots of people involved. She just thought that they were suited and then dropped it into a casual conversation.
It’s really important that we have a culture in our churches and social groups where people can feel free to ask someone out without unnecessary barriers in place or everyone else marrying them off after the first date!
But whoever asks who out, the Bible challenges us to treat each other with selfless love, always being more concerned about their well-being than our own. (Read Today’s Big Question: Is Flirting Really Harmless Fun?)
Some men and women think men should always ask. Some men and women think it doesn’t matter. In my experience, this (surprisingly heated) debate will not be over soon. But I think whatever rule we have, it probably needs to be held onto loosely, as it may hinder starting a great relationship.
So imagine if we focused on how to build a mutually enjoyable relationship, and not just on how to start one in a specific way. If we really asked the important questions and thought about our assumptions, so we can clearly know why we want to invest in a relationship, as well as who with.
Should we have an absolute rule for who can make the first move? Comments welcome below.