Since my husband Cliff’s article addressing how to be a godly man in courtship started making its rounds on social media, I also began receiving dozens of questions over Instagram from young women seeking to know how to be a godly woman during courtship.
We need answers to this important question, especially when the world’s messages are not helpful:
- “No boy will love you if you’re fat.”
- “You can be outspoken, but not too outspoken.”
- “Don’t be so emotional.”
- “Make sure you don’t initiate anything.”
Even in Christian circles, the messages can be confusing. The Proverbs 31 woman, for example, is sometimes held aloft wrongly as an unattainable standard, inviting comparison and shame.
The truth is: in God’s kingdom, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
We know women who love rock climbing and kickboxing, and those who love to cook and decorate. We know women who love window shopping, and others like me who don’t.
We know women who are fearless missionaries, triathletes, police officers, fashion designers… And guess what? They are all women, made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). What defines a woman as “godly” is her heart.
So what does it mean to be a godly woman in courtship? I’ll sum it up in 3 Ws.
1. A godly woman waits
“It’s the 21st century, Wai Jia. I can’t believe what you’re saying. Of course, he likes me,” my young friend said to me.
“Are you initiating most of your text messages, study groups and outings?” I asked.
“Yes, but that’s just because he’s quiet. He enjoys time with me,” she replied.
I looked at my young friend and suggested: “Why don’t you take a break? Aren’t you tired of always initiating? Don’t you long to be pursued?”
Tears came to her eyes, and I held her hand: “Wait and watch. Sit back a bit. If he really likes and loves you, he’ll begin to pursue you.”
A month later, the friendship dissolved.
The boy revealed he did not have intentions to pursue the relationship further.
My young friend realised that she was anxious to get attached, since many of her single friends were now in relationships.
When it comes to romance, a godly woman waits for God’s choice instead of rushing in.
Many times, a woman may take the first step in a relationship out of presumption, impatience or insecurity. This is exactly what we must fight against.
Having patience to wait is not easy, but it will pay off in the end.
Wait to see what he’s really like. Waiting to see what the guy is really like in different settings may reveal character strengths and flaws.
For instance, in community settings — does he serve others or wait to be served? In social settings, does he arrive late or early? Is he the life of the party or more observant and watchful?
Wait also to see what his interests really are.
I once had a suitor who said he was sold out for missions yet had never read a single missionary’s biography! Instead, he was into fiction novels. That, for me, raised a yellow flag about his true intentions.
Finally, wait to gain clarity on your values. Slowing down helps one redefine boundaries and gain clarity on one’s values.
What do you value? Is it faith, compassion and service? How about him? Does he prioritise similar values or is he lukewarm in spiritual matters?
Too often, young women fall headlong into a relationship without sufficient time spent waiting well.
They end up asking: “What if my boyfriend watches porn? What if he doesn’t care about missions? What if he is not passionate about the Bible?”
These are questions revealing deeper values that could have been identified as being misaligned from the very start.
And while there’s nothing wrong for a girl to initiate a friendship, I think it’s important that doesn’t set up a long-term pattern of pursuing out of insecurity and impatience.
As God made man the head of the household, it is important for the guy to step up and be courageous and proactive in courtship.
2. A godly woman is wise
Proverbs 11:14 tells us that “in the multitude of counsellors there is safety”.
If you’re exploring a relationship, don’t let the giddiness of infatuation throw you headlong into it. Instead, with a watchful, waiting heart, seek out wise mentors who can guide you.
If you don’t have any mentors, then pray for some and seek them out.
In our very busy lives, looking for good mentors takes intentionality and prayer. Ask yourself, what kind of mentor do I want? Then, ask God for them.
Identify some people you might know. Consider couples who have a close relationship with God, who agree to avail themselves to you, and who know you well enough not to judge you too quickly.
But how do I ask? Well, it can be as simple as, “I am seeking God about a relationship. Would you be willing to mentor me?”
Next, set some clear expectations mutually: “I would like if we could meet once a month to talk about questions I have about this boy I know.”
Be transparent about your misgivings (if any): “I have been wounded by church mentors before who told me no one will love me if I am fat, so I’d just like to share that seeking for advice is a vulnerable step of faith for me.”
The wonderful thing about investing into praying and seeking out mentors at this stage, is that the deeper you go into your relationship in courtship, marriage and even parenting, the more you will find yourself needing them!
So, before you embark on any relationship, would you actively seek God about providing godly mentors and counsel in your life?
3. A godly woman weeps
As women, we have all been shamed emotionally.
- You are too weak
- Too emotional
- Too strong
- Too messy
- Not resilient enough
- Not kind enough
- Not collected enough
Do you often feel you are not-enough, and yet too-much at the same time? You are not alone.
You are not too emotional, too intense or too much. In the Psalms, we hear cries of deep anguish and lament from David himself!
The problem with feeling we are “too emotional” is that we end up stuffing our feelings and hiding our past.
Or, we over-identify with them and become self-indulgent or over-reliant on our dates, when the truth is that God made us with a diversity of strong emotions to bring to His feet.
Weep if you must. But instead of pouring it all out before your date (especially if you’ve just met!), bring your emotions before God first.
Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Above all, guard your heart, for it is the well-spring of life”.
One of the greatest mistakes I see young women make is to pour their emotions out too readily before their dates.
When you give your heart and emotions too readily away, it can hinder the slow, quiet process of building a foundation of ordinary friendship.
Especially in the earlier stages of courtship, we must learn to bring our emotions first to God.
Because, guess what? When you get married, you’ll discover a surprise — no spouse can meet all your emotional needs.
One of the hardest things I remember doing was to come back home from each date with Cliff and get down on my knees in prayer to God.
“Oh God,” I’d cry, “Help me to love and cherish You more than Cliff. Help me to hold loosely to Cliff and tightly to You, that I may be ready to let go of this relationship at any time if You say so.”
One day, we met our trial. Over a date, Cliff shared how He felt God calling him to Cambodia. I asked, “What if God calls me to Africa?”
Innocently and candidly, he said, “Then I’d have to follow God.”
I burst into tears and ran home.
That incident showed me, that while Cliff had rightly put God first in his life, I had allowed my emotional investment in our relationship to supersede God’s call.
I learnt that a godly woman puts God first in her life, and is willing to lay down the relationship for God at any time.
So, why not start practicing early? Learn to bring your emotions before God first. Cling tightly to Him, and loosely to your relationship.
Dare to be a godly woman in courtship
While there is no formulaic answer to being a godly woman, there are some truths we can lean on.
God wants us to pursue our most intimate relationship with Him. He wants us to wait on Him before rushing into friendships, He wants us to seek out wise counsel and He wants us to pour out our emotions to Him before anyone else.
Ultimately, whether we are single, dating, in courtship or married — God must be our all in all!
Have you ever wondered if you’re making the “right decision?” What if I make the wrong move and ruin my life? What if I miss out on the right person? How do I navigate all these tough decisions to make in my relationship and/or marriage?
Join Cliff and Wai Jia in this week’s Couch Convo, as they talk about key principles that will help you anchor your decision-making journey. You can also send in your questions to the couple via Comments, DM or IGS.
- Which of the 3 Ws spoke to you the most?
- What might waiting, wisdom or weeping look like for you?
- Doing anything on Thursday night? Hop on over to the IG Live if you liked what you saw in this article.