Below is an excerpt from Wendee Mannon’s (CEO of OnDaySix.com) upcoming book for single, Christian women desiring marriage, Love Unstuck; Be the Leading Lady. This excerpt discusses the flow of a romantic relationship, specifically the second phase, the questioning stage.
Relationships flow naturally. Most romantic relationships go through somewhat similar stages that allow good foundations to be built; Crushing, Questioning, Committing, Trusting and Engagement. I used to want to skip through the first stages of a relationship straight to the commitment piece because I had fear connected to the initial stages.
I would meet a guy. I would be friends with a guy. I would start to like a guy. I would want the guy to come right away and talk to me about knowing that we should be together. I would want each party to ‘just know’ and take any of the choice or uncertainty out of the process. Not a good plan…….
2) Questioning: Make a good choice in the midst of options
As the relationship moves forward, that crush leads to a time of questioning. As women, when this time of uncertainty and questioning comes, we tend to want a commitment from a man. This isn’t realistic though. This period of time in a relationship usually has sporadic times of meeting up or occasional dates. From initial attraction to the questioning stage, authentic invitation is of utmost importance. The man is questioning the relationship as well. He has levels of uncertainty combined with his own personal core value system and way of making decisions.
This time period of questioning can be very short if you have a man and woman who actually know what they want in a future mate. Where it gets confusing and drawn out is when one or both parties have no idea in the world what they’re looking for. They may think that they do, but when asked the question point blank, a blank expression appears on their face.
Most men trust their gut feeling when thinking about pursuing a woman. They won’t pursue a woman unless they feel good when around that woman. They won’t pursue a woman that hasn’t invited them to. That means that the authentic invitation is given often and with no expectation from the woman if there’s interest at this point in time. Relationship is a choice. Both parties have the same ability to choose the other person and this makes commitment a precious and valuable commodity.
This stage of questioning cannot be rushed. Many want to sit down and define a relationship before a good decision for commitment can be made. As women, we need to understand this period of time and actually enjoy it. We must see the value in the question and trust that God’s leading us to the right answer.
If a man tries to have a defining the relationship talk too soon, please be confident enough to let him know that you like him and want to know where this leads but aren’t ready to make a formal commitment. Christian men feel a lot of pressure to make their intentions known too soon, which, in turn leads to big messes later when the woman finds them backing out of the relationship quickly because they weren’t ready to make that type of commitment.
This second stage tends to be the most difficult for women to navigate. Women want to be assured that a man is interested and committed to them from almost the moment they meet. This is not how we as humans are built. We’re built to make choices and decisions in process based on what we desire and taking into account lots of different aspects in a relationship before making a commitment. This is a good thing. A good choice is made in the midst of options. This sounds scary to some, but we need to be able to navigate this as we journey through dating and into a committed relationship. Women who feel valuable are able to navigate this stage with grace and openness. If there is lack of value, usually we’ll run away from the relationship because it feels too scary to navigate.
Keeping your options open at this point to other men of interest is important because it helps take the pressure off of the man of interest and allows your mind and heart to know that you’ll be ok if this does not lead to a commitment. This is a fine line that requires maturity and counsel to walk out well. Make sure you have both as you embark into this stage.
This is the stage where you’re both getting to know each other from surface level to going deeper into core values for life. This should happen over a period of time and a few dates. Go with your feeling. If you like what you’re discovering about each other, continue on. Make sure the dates are both fun and leave room for conversation. Let the man pay on dates and initiate, and be very open and inviting if the interest is growing. Authentic invitation is so imperative in this stage if your interest continues to grow; help build the man’s confidence to take the relationship to the next level of committing.
Excerpt from Love Unstuck; Be the Leading Lady by Wendee Mannon