After my four-year dating hiatus but before I tried online dating, I began telling people I knew that I was open to being set up on blind dates. I didn’t know how God would work to bring my husband to me, but I figured I should use all of my resources – and I have a pretty awesome network. As I described the kind of guy I was looking for to my friends and family, I consistently got feedback on a few of my “deal-breakers,” the biggest pushback often being about the most important deal-breaker.
My biggest deal breaker: He needed to be a leader. I wanted to be pursued and romanced and I wanted a man who would be a worthy partner. I have a strong personality and I wanted a guy who could handle all I had to offer without being intimidated. For me, that meant that I wanted the guy to make the first move (including asking me out first). I wanted the guy to lead the relationship – to define where we were at in any given moment and look toward the future before I needed to worry about it.
When I told friends and acquaintances, I often heard, “But Tara, you’re an extrovert. And you’re already a leader. You’re kind of intimidating to most men and you’ll probably need to make the first move. He might be a leader in other areas, but in dating maybe you’ll need to lead.” Some insisted I’d end up with an introvert who liked taking the backseat. That notion broke my heart whenever I heard it, because the desire in my heart was to be with a leader; plus, every woman wants to be romanced! Praise God that he had worked on my heart enough during that four-year dating break for me to feel WORTHY of being romanced. I felt as though God wouldn’t have had me wait so long only for me to take control of the situation. And I felt as though God wanted me to be with a leader because I am a strong woman; he knew I needed a man who was strong in order to be equally yoked. I refused to listen to well-meaning people and listened instead to God.
I’m glad I listened to God instead of those around me. My instincts were confirmed when a few friends tried to set me up with a guy who looked “great on paper.” They sang his praises, told me that he was smart, successful, had good values and a sweet demeanor. I’ll call him “Bob.” Bob was about ten years older than I was and had been very successful in business. Some friends arranged several group events where Bob and I were the only two single people. I talked to Bob and asked him a ton of questions. He was sweet and smart and he seemed interested . . . but he never made a move. He seemed content to let others make the moves for him. After the second group outing where he didn’t follow up or ask me out, I told my friends that he wasn’t the one. They wanted me to “be brave” and ask him out: “Tara, he needs a woman like you to pull him out of his shell.” Although they probably were right, I couldn’t help thinking, “If he can’t lead on something as simple as asking me out, how will he lead when things get tough?”
I’d been a single parent for 16 years and I was used to taking control of situations in order to get things done. It wasn’t uncommon for me to step into a leadership gap when I saw one. I was used to making decisions, taking risks, getting things done – but I’d developed those skills because I had to to survive and be successful, not because I always wanted or even needed to be in control. When I envisioned my ideal relationship, it was a partnership where he was as capable of stepping up as I was and willing to lead where I couldn’t. Bob was the first time in my dating life where I stepped back and did not try to take control. Subsequently, nothing happened with Bob, which was a blessing (I’m sure for both of us).
Sometimes God calls us to do something counterintuitive for our own good. And from the outside, looking in, this might seem stubborn or silly. Only you know who God is calling you to be in any given moment. If you’re earnestly seeking his will, you’ll be asked to do all kinds of uncomfortable things and walk away from “good” opportunities so that he can bless you with “unbelievable” realities! For me, the reality is that I’m now married to Dale, who IS a leader, and I have to remind myself all of the time to let him lead. Not only does God ask us to let our husbands lead, it was a quality I had specifically requested. So when I get a little controlling and bucky, I have to step back and remember that Dale’s leadership is a blessing. Just like in my relationship with God, he is willing and able to take control if I’ll just follow his lead.
Do you believe you are deserving of being led? Are you willing to give up control in order to experience that blessing?