Someone has to jump first

21st November 2022, 06:33, London

Growing up, I received a lot of advice on men, relationships, and marriage. One statement, in particular, seemed to rub me off the wrong way: “The man should love the woman more, if not the marriage will not last.” Interestingly, I have learned that many of my female friends also heard this statement.

The truth is I’m not married yet and hence, I don’t intend on addressing the point of the marriage not lasting (regardless, God forbid, because Mr Power Closet and I are stuck till the grave by God’s grace). However, it got me thinking: how do we even measure love?

Sometimes deception lurks behind outward actions. Chivalry, for instance, can be a mere facade, hiding the fact that one’s heart doesn’t truly belong to another.

When I imagine love I envision the typical love story: the man falls head over heels first, and then the woman follows suit. I suppose that women should almost “give him the privilege” of having their hearts. Whilst a part of that is true (I’m teasing) what if it’s the lady that has to be bold and reveal the depth of her love first? What if he requires the woman’s love and vulnerability for him to show himself?

Sometimes it feels like a woman communicating her love openly to a man is such a taboo. I remember reading a book that sighted muted responses and monosyllables as the way to get a man’s attention. Toxic, right? What happened to good old communication? Perhaps the author believed that men should take the lead and initiate deeper conversations. But I couldn’t help but wonder, what happens when you’re finally with him? Will you remain silent?

In the parable of the lost son we are quick to point out the son as the “bad egg.” Have you ever thought about the Father’s actions in that parable? Perhaps it was the Father’s love and compassion that provoked the son into repentance. Here is a scripture that elaborates this:

”Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?“ ‭‭Romans‬ ‭2‬:‭4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

”Do the riches of his extraordinary kindness make you take him for granted and despise him? Haven’t you experienced how kind and understanding he has been to you? Don’t mistake his tolerance for acceptance. Do you realise that all the wealth of his extravagant kindness is meant to melt your heart and lead you into repentance?“ Romans‬ ‭2‬:‭4‬ ‭TPT‬‬

The Father ran to the son not knowing if he had anything good to say. I had flashbacks of when God once challenged me to emulate the Father’s actions (you can read it here). At first, I thought, “Are you kidding me?” But I’m glad He did. It taught me a powerful lesson: gender should never hinder the expression of one’s feelings. Sometimes, as a woman, you have to be bold and be the first one to open up on a deeper level. Or be the first to be even more passionate about showing your love. (Btw I am referring to situations where there is already an established connection, relationship, or “intentional friendship” between both parties. I’m in no way advocating for a woman to pursue a man).

Why is it such a big deal to tell him “I love you” first? Why is it such a big deal to say “I want to be with you”? Why is it such a big deal to reveal that you’re deeply in love with the person? But of course, all of this should be done with wisdom and be led by the Spirit. The Bible speaks about not tossing our pearls before swine (Matthew 7:8). Your heart is precious and it must remain guarded until you’re convinced it’s someone worth opening up to.

Let’s circle back to the parable of the lost son – the Father ran to the son without knowing what the son was going to say. Imagine if the Father had gotten there and the son had said “Sorry I left my favourite jacket on the sofa” and walked past. Or the son had asked his Father for more money? That would’ve been quite a story, wouldn’t it? What I’m getting at is the Father didn’t open up because he knew how the son would respond. He took a chance on his son. He took a leap of faith and showed him love regardless of the outcome.

As I study the Bible I’ve seen on numerous occasions where God demonstrates real and deep love because He gives love without seeking a particular response. For the ladies, let’s say you tell your man “I love you” first. You’re secure enough to know that even if he doesn’t say it first you’re not less valuable. Let’s even imagine a situation where he doesn’t say it back. Does that make you a fool? No, it doesn’t. Does that mean you’re not a Proverbs 31 woman? Not at all. Real love gives without looking for a response. My hope is that when you do communicate your innermost feelings you do so because you genuinely want to and not because you’re looking for a response or for someone to soothe an insecurity in you.

Now to circle back to the original statement “the man must love the woman more so the marriage can last.” I can assure you that marriage aside, you saying you love him first doesn’t mean you love him more.

I remember being on holiday, walking around and enjoying the scenery as I pondered on this revelation. I’ll never forget how the Spirit of God interrupted my thoughts and called out the point of deception. He then added that He is the only one who knows the score of whose love is greater and this is something He would not reveal to me.

Love is about giving. It’s okay to give deeply and passionately when you feel safe. It’s not just okay but it’s important to do so. Lastly, it’s okay for the woman to be the first to jump!

Love always,

P.s. to jump means to take a leap of faith. To fall in love you literally have to be willing to take a leap of faith and try. You open your heart and show yourself and that can be scary indeed.

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