Learning to Date from Ruth and Rebekah

Lately I’ve been rethinking one of the more referred-to parts of Get Married—the story of how I “pulled a Ruth.” I guess I should say rethinking again. Because even though I updated “Pulling a Ruth” with Ruth Revisited—based on promptings of my conscience—this time I looked at how I sought clarity in my relationship with Steve, and if that was the best way to get it, prompted by a reader’s question.

She wrote,

I have a challenge regarding your stance on taking a “proactive” approach to dating, particularly when it comes to women. Boundless encourages single women to put themselves out there — be it online dating, sharing with godly mentors their interest to be matched or joining life groups/ministries where potential mates abound. My question is this: Does Boundless ever advocate “pulling a Rebekah”?

Here, in part, is my reply.

Is Rebekah’s model better than Ruth’s? That’s a good question. But before I answer it, I need to ask and answer a question of my own: Have I encouraged Boundless readers to “put themselves out there”? I guess that depends, in part, on what you mean by that phrase. I can see how some of what I’ve written in the past, if read in isolation, could lead you to believe I’m in favor of aggressively marketing yourself to men — “putting yourself out there” — if you want to get married. …

The longer I’m married and the more I learn about my design as a woman, called in Christian marriage to model Christ’s humble submission to the Father (Ephesians 5:22-24, Philippians 2:5-11 and John 6:38), the more I realize how unhelpful my approach to dating was. By acting like a couple when I knew we weren’t and enjoying our buddy relationship without the protection of stated intentions or a commitment, I wound up in the unenviable position of having to ask Steve for clarification. I still believe getting clarification was necessary, but the way I did it wasn’t ideal. It would have been much better if my dad or pastor or older male friend had asked on my behalf, “What are your intentions for Candice?” Giving Steve an ultimatum, though necessary for clarification, set a pattern that continued into marriage. I got good at asking leading questions rather than waiting for him to lead and trusting the Lord.

My full response is featured on Boundless in “Pulling a Rebekah.