Sharon Hodde has written an insightful and practical post on the issue of submission within the context of dating. Below is an excerpt. Click here to read the whole post. By the way this is directed towards women but us men might benefit from this as well. A wake up call to some I might say…
For instance, in the past I have entered into serious relationships pre-maturely, and walked down many other paths that I knew were dangerous to trod, all because I was following my boyfriend’s leading. I didn’t exercise any kind of real discernment because I thought that I was called to follow him.
With all of that in mind, submission is not entirely appropriate in dating. Dating is the period in which you determine whether or not to submit to a man in marriage. Prior to a marital commitment, you are discerning whether or not he is right for such a radical step of trust.
Granted, there is no man who will be perfect in that regard, but you should be sure to marry a man who will seek God in all areas of his life, including you and your future family. That is the kind of man you are wise in submitting to, but that is not information that you can know with certainty right away. For that reason, it is important that you guard your heart, especially at the beginning.
Now here’s the catch–although the man should be doing all of these things, it is the women’s choice as to whether she will follow. Ladies, this is very important, because it is not your prerogative to follow his leadership if you are not yet sure of his character. In the same way that you wouldn’t go out with a random guy you met in a bar simply because he asked, you don’t need to follow every single suggestion you receive from the guy you’re seeing if you don’t know the source of his judgment.
You see the reason a man should lead in a dating relationship is two-fold. The first is the most obvious–it is preparation for marriage. If he’s not a leader before marriage, he certainly won’t be a leader in marriage. But the second reason that a man should be exercising leadership is that he is demonstrating whether or not his leadership is trustworthy. If he is consistently dependable, thoughtful, and strong, then a woman can trust his leadership because he is earning credibility through his actions. The longer he demonstrates these attributes, then the more she can actively defer to his leadership. This progression of increasing trust will continue all the way into marriage.