It’s all over twitter. It’s discussed in detail in all the recent dating and relationship books. It screamed at us from reality television. Every successful TV matchmaker demands you live by it. It is woven into the plot of all of our favorite romantic stories.
Men are pursuers. Women are responders.
Patti Stanger, The Millionaire Matchmaker, is famous for berating her girls to “Give him space to chase! Be the hunted!” Steve Ward, VH1’s Tough Love host, explains “Men like a challenge; it’s in their nature. They love the thrill of the hunt. It’s okay to make him earn a relationship with you. If he is really interested he’ll do what it takes to see you.” Popular performer Steve Harvey, in his chapter entitled, ‘Strong, Independent and Lonely Women,’ says “If men can’t exercise two of the major components that make up who we are as men –providing and protecting-then we’re not about to profess our love for you.” He goes on to say that women who don’t need their men to be men (because the women are busy being the male in the relationship) will date perpetual boys who will use them or men who will leave them for women who are the women in relationships. Even reality TV shows like the Bachelor/ette have proven it…. When many men pursue one woman…. There is sometimes a happy ending. But when many women pursue one man…. They breakup within a few months. The entire secular world, feminists included, has come to observe that for a relationship to be successful, the man needs to be the pursuer.
Men are pursuers. Women are responders.
Scripture not only supports this truth, it reveals that God designed men and women this way. God created Adam as protector and provider, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15) Then God created Eve as the helper for Adam, because “for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:18-24) God created man as protector/provider and designed woman to be his helper.
This truth is not confined to Genesis; the entire book of Song of Songs is a beautiful, intimate picture of a bridegroom pursuing his love. He initiates their relationship and she responds to his tender courtship. He pursues, she responds. Another story that reveals this truth (one not so happy or romantic) is that of Hosea and Gomer, the prophet of God who married a prostitute. He went out and found her, rescued her from a life of sin and shame – and he married her. Again and again Gomer returns to her past life, leaving behind the man who gave her everything. He pursues, she responds – although her response is not always positive.
But why? Why are men pursuers and woman responders?
Patti attributes the male hunter behavior to innate masculine energy. “The man is the hunter and the woman is the gatherer, and the man is supposed to provide for the woman. So if she begins to provide for him, she gives off masculine energy, and it throws everything off balance.” Steve Harvey speaks of DNA, “Encoded in the DNA of the male species is that we are to be the provider and the protector of the family.” Matchmaker Steve Ward assumes it has to do with evolution. Men are hunters because somewhere deep down inside is a remnant of their ancestors – the prehistoric cavemen. Supposedly, prehistoric man lived in caves and provided for his family by hunting. Chasing down prey was his first job and first sport. Many believe that this evolutionary instinct is still present in men today. No better picture of the “caveman” behavior than Tarzan. He lived like an animal, surviving off the land. Initially, he was only able to communicate in a series of grunts. Yet, he somehow managed to win the heart of an intelligent woman like Jane, solely through his persistent pursuit.
But why? Why did God create men as pursuers and woman as responders?
Not because deep down there are still remnants of prehistoric caveman ancestors, but because God intentionally designed them that way. God’s design of masculinity as pursuer of femininity directly reflects Christ’s pursuit of his bride, the church. Jesus pursued us, his bride, “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Jesus made the provision for us to have a relationship with him, “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Is. 53:5) His love is unconditional and unfailing, “Nothing will separate us from Christ’s love.” (Rom. 8:38-39)
A man’s pursuit of woman directly reflect Christ’s pursuit of his bride. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:25-32)
Men are pursuers. Women are responders. Why? Because gender is a picture of the gospel. God’s “role assignments” for men and women are a living picture of Christ’s pursuit of and provision for us, the church, his bride. We, the females, are designed to be responders. Not as punishment for being less skilled or weak, but because this is how Jesus asks us to glorify him. Your Savior is asking you to be the responder – in your dating relationships, in your marriage, in your church – so that His redemptive salvation is declared to the world. That way, even if there isn’t a second date, even if your marriage is on the rocks, Jesus is made known through your behavior. By refusing to ‘be the man’ and embracing God’s design for your femininity, He gets glory.
Not because he is a modern-day Tarzan and you are his Jane….
But because, as male and female, you are a reflection of your Savior to the world.
great read! looking forward to more
“Jesus is made known through your behavior…” This is true in any relationship and should be an encouragement to all who love Jesus. Make Jesus known wherever we are and whatever we are doing should be our ultimate goal. Thanks for this post. The evangelical community needs to hear this.
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Thank you for writing this post. I am a 26 year old single girl living in Los Angeles. I get so much criticism for not wanting pursue men. I whole-heartily agree with this. I can’t find dates because I don’t chase after men. I wish my generation would go back to the belief that the man should pursue. It saddens me to see how the feminist movement went to such extremes that my view get frowned upon. So thank you for putting it out there and showing me that I am not alone!!!
This is a great reminder of exactly what has been challenging me lately. I love that you’ve grounded it in pop culture but more importantly in scripture! Thank you – I’m a new follower and looking forward to more visits!
You said that men are the hunters and cited a passage from Genesis 2. Verse 22 says, “22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” God here clearly is the one doing the pursuing. The man is merely being obedient to what God had him doing in the first place. The purpose of this is clear in the New Testament. It is not good for man to be alone. Not that a man should always be married but that he be actively involved in the Lord’s work.
You also quoted a couple of other examples. Gomer, Song of Songs and Christ with the Church. The problem with the comparisons here is that Gomer is a prostitute. The church, before Christ redeemed it was just like the rest of the world, trying to please God with their own righteousness and only ended up producing filthy rags. Is 64:6. I don’t think you want to compare a woman who is looking for a man to someone who is so much work that she commits adultery on him over and over. The man really would have to have some spiritual maturity if he were to pursue this type of woman. In reference to the Song of Songs, the relationship here is clearly of a married man and his wife. I don’t think it should be compared with a man who is pursuing a woman as a prospect for marriage.
Now the Bible shows that men and women are put together for the glory of God. In the first case (Genesis 2). It was for the glory of God that men reproduce and have intimate relationships with other people. Physical reproduction is not the only type of reproduction that exists today. God also allows Christians to birth spiritual children through the gospel. There is no sexual intercourse necessary in this new life.
Another example of God putting together people for His glory is found in Genesis 24. Abraham needed a wife for his son. This is to of course be instrumental in the promise of God. When God told Abraham that he would be a great nation. Isaac needed a wife, not because he was getting old but because of God’s promise to Abraham and Isaac. God here was providing Isaac with the wife. Isaac does nothing but wait on the woman that God brings to him. By the way, he is 40 when this happens.
“62 Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
Boaz, in the book of Ruth, does also wait on the woman that God brings to him and he of course does do some pursuing in the relationship. But he never takes for himself what is not given to him by God! It is not until Ruth ASKS Boaz to marry her does he do what she wants. Ruth 3:9 “He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” He of course wanted to marry but was not going to let his desires rule him. It had been over 3 months since Boaz first met Ruth. He could have had her at any time. Nevertheless, he waited on God and His timing.
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Recently, I realized that my comments made in the previous post were uncalled for and missed the heart of what you were trying to get across. It makes no difference what I said because there is way too much shortage of men who are actually doing what God wants them to do. I appreciate your comments and hope that what I said did not discourage you.