7 Ways to Effectively Pursue Your Valentine
This post was originally published for Valentine’s Day 2015. Enjoy!
I was struggling, pounding it out about a mile and a half in. Sweat stinging my eyes and concrete blocks for feet. My short snatches of breath weren’t cutting it, and then the worst of the worst happened on a difficult run…a slow song came up on the playlist. NOOOOOOOO! I love me some “Free” by Zac Brown, but just NOOOOOOOOOO! I had been meaning to edit the playlist but only remembered that tidbit in this very situation. Where was my Jerry Reed with some “East Bound and Down”? Or Ed with “Sing”? Though I hate to expend any energy on music wrangling while running, this was an emergent circumstance. When I looked down to scroll through the playlist, I had received a text from my husband. And a big ‘ole ginormous smile broke out across my red splotchy face…he sent me flowers WHILE I was running. And, of course, I screenshot it because that was the coolest thing ever. And, of course, I went on to beast the rest of my run…maybe…
The past three years have been the most difficult of our sixteen year marriage; if you’re married long enough the hard years come. I know…I thought we were different too. But we aren’t. We spent most of last year in counseling, and you’ll never find greater advocates for marriage counseling than these two Cawthons right here. It may seem a little late in the game, but we learned how to love each other well. Primarily by loving Jesus more.
During this season, Chris and I have spent a lot of time studying how God loves, how he pursues, how he forgives, how he extends grace, and with his help we’re applying that to our relationship the best two jacked-up people know how to do. So, in the interest of saving you $100, some couch time, and a box of Kleenex, here’s what I’ve learned about how I (and I think it’s safe to generalize to most gals – single or married) want to be pursued.
A girl wants to be pursued…
1) With beauty. Think about how God dazzles by the ocean, with a sunset, in the mountains, through the warmth of sunshine. We are inherently wired to respond to beauty in a positive way, so intentionally add some beauty to the mix.
2) With purity. God never pursues our hearts because he wants anything from us. A woman has a sensitive radar for motives. If we ever feel “buttered up” as part of a goal – sex or any other ambition – your efforts are counterproductive. They make us feel cheap not cherished.
3) By a leader. God is the example of a strong, powerful, selfless “man” who leads with love. And, men, you need to know that a woman’s heart hungers to be led well. As John and Stasi Eldredge correctly assert in Captivating, even strong women don’t fear a man’s strength if she is confident he is a good man. According to little ole’ me, a man desiring to pursue as a leader must be pursuing Jesus at least as much or more than his lady is. I can get under that leadership all day long.
4) Personally. God doesn’t go after your heart in the same way he goes after mine. He knows me perfectly and he knows you perfectly, and he displays that by how he gets our attention. Driving the Jeep, with the top down and doors off, on a summer night, he woos me with a clear sky populated with stars aplenty and a big, bright moon. He may stir your affections for himself in a completely different way. Effective pursuit demonstrates how well you know your person, and we can just make peace with the fact…DETAILS MATTER.
5) Creatively. God employs an endless repertoire of creative pursuit. He’s not the God of rut and routine, just look at the variety in everything he ever created. We can all feel challenged by his lead to love more creatively.
6) With security. Dudes, you can never overestimate the importance of emotional and physical safety to a woman. Throughout Scripture, God clearly identifies himself as our safe place. A woman looks for security in a relationship and assurance that she can let her guard down and not be intentionally hurt.
7) Extravagantly. God is clearly the master of grand gestures. So when I think of extravagant pursuit, I’m not at all talking about dollars. I’m talking about throwing the tried and trues out the window and going with a risky BIG idea. For instance, a picnic on the beach at sunset is extravagant to me…while costing less than dinner and a movie.
Ladies in the house, agree or disagree? And, fellas, what should we know about how to be “caught” and how to love our guys well? I can’t wait to hear your perspective! Don’t forget to enter the Tenacious Grace Valentine’s Day Giveaway; three (3) winners will be announced tomorrow![Images: Michael Nugent, Sam Petherbridge]