Where Does the Bible Say Men are “Wired to Pursue” (Oh Wait, it Doesn’t)?


(One of our engagement pics in 2008)

When I was 22-years-old, I met the love of my life, Luke. My spunky Haitian graduate school roommate singlehandedly set us up. Daily she would say to me, “You have got to meet this boy in my class; he’s so funny and cute.” Luke later told me that every class, our mutual friend would say to him, “You have got to meet my roommate; she’s so cute and fun.” Apparently she was a genius because we really are perfect for each other.

Luke is an introvert with lot of “class clown” in him. I have always had a thing for “class clowns.” I am an extrovert who likes to laugh and have fun, probably to a default. Luke loved Jesus when we met, but he had just enough of a “bad boy” vibe for me to want to drop all my studies and makeout with him all day everyday. He got me into just enough trouble to keep me interested, but not so much trouble that I lost my salvation. Looking back, Luke and I pursued each other, but I made the first move.

The first night Luke and I met we went dancing with a group of mutual friends at a local bar in Virginia Beach. Luke likes to tell everyone that we met at “Hot Tuna,” so he can watch me blush and frantically explain that we actually met on a Christian campus through my roommate. After all, I have a “good girl” reputation to maintain. After our first outing, Luke did not get my number but we did become friends on Myspace somehow. I was sure to put up my best pic and choose a really cool song to represent my page.

At the time I was a youth pastor at a small Presbyterian Church and Luke had told me the night that we met that he helped with his youth group back home in Pleasanton, California as a young adult. About two weeks after Luke and I had met, I didn’t hear a thing from my new crush, so it was obviously time to take matters into my own hands. My youth group was hosting a special dinner for at-risk women and youth, so I sent Luke a Myspace message and asked him if he wanted to help out. What better way for a woman in ministry to test the candidacy of a possible mate, right?

Luke responded within the hour, which I now find funny because he is not at all a social media kind of guy. He was obviously sitting by his computer for the last two weeks waiting for me to make a move. Luke agreed to come and of course I put him to work right away. He was a natural with the teens and his heart for the poor and broken was evident and real. After that night, Luke asked me out to ice cream, wined and dined me, and we pursued each other for a year before we got engaged (which is a whole other story about a woman putting a fire under a man’s butt).

The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW) continues to claim that God has wired men to be pursuers and that this is their designed gender role, but cannot support such a claim with scripture. Sure, any Bible reader can find a story in the Bible in which a man pursued a woman, but we can also find stories in the Bible in which a woman pursued a man.

Let’s take the popular biblical figure Ruth for example.

One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for. Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he’s been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor. Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.“I will do everything you say,” Ruth replied. So she went down to the threshing floor that night and followed the instructions of her mother-in-law (Ruth 3:1-6).

This plan worked for Ruth and she ultimately scored herself one heck of a man! The CBMW continues to make biblical inaccuracies because they are desperate to keep women “in their place” and promote an unhealthy, patriarchal system that continues to enslave God’s daughters. Sure, there are some men who seem to be “wired to pursue,” but this is undoubtedly due to their personalities or upbringings – not necessarily because God designed them that way.

Complementarians continue to teach men and women in their twenties and thirties a rigid, boxy method that simply will not work for everyone in the 21st century way of doing life and any theology that does not work for everyone is just bad theology.

Recently I received this comment from one of my readers:

As a single, 30 -year old woman, it’s getting harder and harder for me to buy this belief system. I don’t follow complementarianism in any other area of my life. I live alone, I work in the secular field and the family I grew up in didn’t follow this model. But I walk into the church, and you tell me I have certain roles to fulfill, and I need to do this, this and this in order to get married? I sign up for a women’s discipleship group, and the the best thing you can tell me is that yoga pants are sinful? I “date” comp guys, but I am obviously not wife material. And they certainly don’t see me as good for anything else. Just a hard thing to buy.

Sadly, this reader is not alone. Many women are flocking to complementarian churches hoping that the right Christian man will “pursue” them because this is what they are “wired to do” only to find themselves alone and feeling like an inferior woman.

Dear sisters, maybe the man God has for you was not wired to make the first move. Perhaps you, my friend, were cut from the same cloth as Ruth and I were, and so many other strong and independent Christian women living in the year of 2015. I know you want to please God, but maybe it is not as difficult as complementarians are making it out to be. There is no biblical formula to love finding you. Sometimes it is as simple as seeing a man you want, throwing caution to the wind, and going after him with every move you have got!

 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

(Proverbs 3:5)

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  • My wife and I met while working with two different youth groups in town, Jory, so your story resonates with me.

    As for where CBMW and others get the notion the Bible teaches men are created to pursue and women to be pursued, it’s like Nehemiah said of people spreading rumors about him: They’re just making it up.

  • I enjoyed being pursued : proof that I, a female am ‘wired’ that way? ‘ – not at all! I don’t know many men who don’t also enjoy being pursued! It’s human (as opposed to female) to feel wanted.

  • Thanks for this post – it’s a good reminder of our human tendency to read what we want into Scripture. I, being 35 and single, really resonate with the commenter that you quoted in the post. The complementarian church wants us to be one way, and then blames us when we don’t meet their expectations for marriage/motherhood. Glad I somehow found your blog via the magic of Twitter. 😉

  • That was painful to read. I am a 40 yo woman who does not fit well into submissive wife mode, which is probably a lot of why I am not a wife, submissive or otherwise. Thank you for writing. Those four words don’t quite do my gratitude toward those who tell me that complementarianism isn’t the only way, definitely isn’t “biblical”, and might not really be God’s plan. It saddens me to think how deeply embedded into this culture I have been and how I have been an active part of it. I hope for healing for those who are miserable in and because of it. Keep writing, Jory. Keep speaking truth. It will make a difference. It will get through to many who need to hear it.

  • actually your right the bible doesn’t say men are the pursuers.
    what he does say is to ” delight yourself in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”
    God does the pursuing , God makes the calls. The problem is not whether or not man or woman pursues. The problem is not waiting for gods perfect timing. God will set things in place in such a way to where it won’t even feel like either is pushing each other. What he has for you he will give you the strength and the courage. Our focus shouldn’t be on whether or not we should pursue the opposite sex and who should make the first move. Our focus should be soley on seeking God, and abiding in him.

    • Hi Brianna. I agree that our focus should be on pursuing God and that we should wait for the right person that he has for us, but I do think someone has got to pursue or it may not ever happen. 😉

  • Oh my gosh! I never knew there were any Christians that did not believe the mantra that “men were designed to pursue” and we just had to sit and wait on their timing ( not God’s ) to play their game and hoped they noticed us. Trouble is men today will not pursue! Then, there are the continuous articles one after another saying how women should NOT, pursue, it will always end badly if you do and men will turn against you, men have to do the chasing as it is in their DNA, and it is slutty to even state you would like to find a godly man. Not even recognizing that women were created with the same desires that men had! I was even told by this camp what Ruth did was not really pursuing because Boaz had already showed his hand that he was attracted to her and had showed her favoritism. That what she did was NOT audacious and bold, but was an accepted cultural custom of the kinsman redeemer. I disagree. I think she wanted to make sure Boaz knew without a shadow of a doubt she was interested in him. I think respect is a two way street and women’s pursuit should follow the same way men used to pursue. Women are always admonished to wait on God’s timing to make it happen, but I think that is not what is really at play. Why must women delay? Sure, ask for God’s direction and discernment in your journey, but why should a women be told to wait, yet men can move full steam ahead if they desire? As pointed out, it is not even biblical or stated in scripture. In fact, Adam never had to pursue Eve. She was right by him from the beginning. He did not have to go searching to find her in the Garden. Women are designed to be smaller, hence they are not as strong physically. but while different, women are not lesser in any way. Being a shrinking violet to gain men’s approval is not being “feminine” it is being fake. We are born feminine naturally by virtue of our design, not by effort. It is not something we have to try to be. Being intelligent, talented, and confident are good traits of women to be celebrated, not dumbed down so insecure men do not feel threatened. Men should admire and want their women to possess these. thanks for your site. Will read other comments. Glad I stumbled onto it. Bless you sister!

  • The biblical part never made much sense to me, but I have ALWAYS deferred to people who are able to draw strength and comfort from their respective religions.Meanwhile, I do not see that men are “naturally wired” to hunt ( otherwise, she is a possession and NOT a partner?) ,except that women like to say that so they can avoid being rejected.

  • Hey there sis!
    Lemme introduce myself: my name is Natasya Situmorang and I enjoy reading this article of yours right here! It’s so relatable even though I’m single for very much my entire life, which it doesn’t matter anyways, because I want to keep serving the Lord before looking for a man to marry and love me (I’m very much comfortable with the singleness I’m living out and I believe strongly that I have the gift of singleness . But at the same time, I’m not ready to be married so I’m not too desperate for a man at this moment ). I find the story of Ruth and Boaz fascinating actually. Whenever I read that Ruth pursued Boaz and then the two got married, I’d be like “gurl, you are forward. And brave!”. Sure, men are called to be leaders of the household once they are married but just because a sis in Christ pursues a bro in Christ, it doesn’t mean that it is actually written in the Bible where it says “men are wired to be the pursuers and women are wired to BE pursued”. Both men and women are to be loved by the ways ❤. Thank you for writing down this wonderful story .

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