“Hey wanna go to a movie?”
With such and similar text messages do many Christian guys attempt to initiate relationships today.
It’s all so abrupt, so direct, so in-your-face, so quick, so cold, so inconsequential, so easy.
No preparation, no warm-up, no strategy, no “diplomacy,” no awkward conversations, no face-to-face contact. Just a stark and curt text that often produces a similar reply…then on to the next cell number.
Guys, whatever happened to wooing? That’s an old word for the slow, patient, skillful, tentative, breathtaking, exciting, agonizing, frustrating alluring of the young woman of your dreams? It seems to have become a lost art.
You’ve probably no idea what I’m talking about do you? Read Song of Solomon or Hosea for an idea.
Wooing usually starts with a look, then a second look, followed by repeated looks and lingering looks. You then graduate to attention-seeking looks where you want her to actually see you looking at her. Yes, you might quickly look away the first time your eyes meet but soon you’ll want that look to lock even for just a few seconds, long enough to convey something more than “just friends” but something less than “creepy stalker.
Then come the attempts to “bump” into her unexpectedly, or to “accidentally” maneuver yourself beside her at church, or you just have to ask her a vital question about something of no importance whatosoever.
Ah, yes, the first dry-mouthed, flushed-face, knee-trembling, heart-palpitating conversation. And a second. And a third. Time standing still in these treasured moments and going backwards in between times.
I remember it well and all too painfully. That lengthy period of anxiety and uncertainty as I carefully tried to cultivate friendship, then deeper friendship, then romantic friendship, and so on, all without spooking her into thinking that in my mind it’s a done deal and I’ve already got her chained to the sink with five kids hanging off her apron.
Sure, the inching a little forwards then a fraction backwards over many weeks caused a lot of sleepless nights (at least at my end). For months I just longed to know, “But what does she really think?” Have I blown it? Did I imagine it?
Daisies disappeared from every lawn for daily dissection “She loves me – she loves me not.”
Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic or just hopelessly outdated but I think the old way of wooing with all its attendant tension and anguish was a better way than the present weekly lottery that leaves so many cold and broken hearts in its trail.
Wooing dignifies women. It treats them with respect and honor. We don’t just spray careless and thoughtless texts around like gunshot, hoping to bag a bird here or there with a bit of luck. No, these are precious and sensitive human beings that we are to handle carefully and gently.
Wooing protects women. Wooing means that there’s a period of time where we can gradually test her response and our feelings without a commitment from either side – and therefore without raising then dashing expectations. Taking someone on a date as a first move raises the stakes and the temperature way too high, especially if only to plunge her into icy cold water the next day as you move on to the next target.
Wooing reduces experimentation. Some Christian guys are getting to marriage having dated multiple girls. They’ve got bursting pockets full of movie tickets and restaurant receipts from their various try-outs. So many of these shredded tickets and hearts could have been avoided with a more patient and tentative approach.
Wooing increases prayer. A text costs nothing – no money and no emotions. But wooing is so terrifying and potentially humiliating that you cannot but pray without ceasing – even if only to get some sleep in the meantime. You’re putting yourself, your ego and your reputation on the line. Instead of spraying the local female population with texts in the hope that one of them bites, you’re left utterly dependent on God inclining her eyes, ears and heart towards you.
Wooing teaches us about the Gospel. The whole Bible is a divine wooing of sinners like us. But it’s especially in Solomon’s Song and Hosea that the passionate wooing of God is front and center. God puts Himself on the line, He puts Himself up for rejection, as He pursues us with every fiber of His being, and ultimately with every agonized atom of His body at Calvary.
God doesn’t text the Gospel to us. He woos us with everything He’s got.