Love Your Women (no, not just your wife)
10 Ways to Love the Women in Your Church
No, not for the purpose of dating. Pursue them for the purpose of showing them what a man of God should be that they might desire that more than the pseudo-Christian lookalike who talks the talk but refuses to walk the walk. Some call them “friend dates.” That term is stupid, but it really does encapsulate the idea behind relationally pursuing a woman in your church. Model for her the type of man you would want your sister to marry. One that will lead her to Jesus before himself.
Listen to Them
This is almost a no brainer, but single men all across the board seem to fall short in this area every time. The best way to love the women in your church is to listen to them without the expectation of providing “quality counsel” that is supposed to “fix their problems.” Intently engage in conversation with them about real life, real things, and real issues (of course, with wisdom). Many women that I have met criticize men in the same way, “they always want to be correct and fix our issues, we just wish they would listen more.”
Pray for them
During your relational time, never forget to ask them about things that you can pray for. Write those things down. Save them in your smart phone. Write them on your hand. Do something to let them know that you will not just be like every other dude who solicits prayer requests simply to “have something to talk about.” Oh, and, actually pray about them in your quiet time with the Lord.
P.S. It never hurts to pray with them while you are together.
Nothing is more satisfying that knowing that you are being thought about throughout the week by someone else, particularly someone you do not know well. As you are praying for your friend, ask the Lord to provide you with Scriptures that will build her up. Proverbs 31 is a really great way to encourage a single woman to continue steadfastly following the Lord (as long as you do not make it creepy, single dudes). In the same way, building her up to other people in your church is always a great idea. “Did you see that “so-and-so” has grown a lot in this area? Man, I really respect “so-and-so” because she is always… “So-and-so” is really good at…”
Ask for Prayers from Them
Yep. That’s right. One of the best ways to love the women in your church is to deliberately ask them to pray for you. Don’t make it superficial (“would you pray that God would give me a new car or a new house?”). Make it real. Do the best you can – with wisdom – to live in the light before her, and then ask her if she would pray for you.
There are guidelines here that do not apply to the pursuit of single women. Biblically, it is very important not to encroach on the emotional life of a married woman in the way that her husband should. This builds unnecessary (and adulterous) emotional connections that are unhealthy for you and for her.
Encourage Their Husbands to Them
Typically if an individual is friends with a married woman, he usually knows the woman’s husband. This is something I have dabbled in and seen great success. Encouraging the woman’s husband you are interacting with – while you are talking to her – is an incredible way to build up that woman by helping her to generate a sense of pride (not unhealthy pride) in her family, the quality of her husband’s character, and how much her husband is impacting those surrounding him. Nothing speaks louder than knowing that the person you love the most is respected by his peers and has deeply impacted his peers on foundational levels.
Encourage Their Godly Qualities
Study the Scriptures and discover what they say about the character and nature of a Godly wife. Pinpoint some of these qualities in the married women that surround your life and encourage them. It is always a great idea to seek out her husband and ask if that is okay to do (as you do not want to jump into a potentially dangerous scenario where husband and wife have been fighting and you provide unbiblical emotional support to the woman). I have seen married women light up with joy after I have told them, “You model for me what a Godly wife should be, and for that I am so thankful.”
Encourage Them to Their Husbands
This is a surefire way to refrain from building too much of an emotional connection with a married woman. Sit down with your bro and let him know – preferably from the Scriptures – how Godly his wife is and how much she is impacting you by just being a prime example of living for Jesus. Don’t make it awkward. Now sit back and watch this brother light up, go home, and encourage his wife in ways he may not have thought about. Don’t be prideful. Don’t be selfish. Rejoice knowing that you are loving this married woman through encouraging her husband that he might encourage and love her better.
Use Them as Examples
Discussing how specific aspects of their life have impacted you during Bible teachings, small group discussions, discussions with their friends/disciples/church members, is always loving. We see examples in the New Testament where Paul encouraged specific women, some who were married (Priscilla), to the particular church he was writing to. This will get back to them. And this will make them feel loved.
Pray for Them
Once again, nearly a no brainer. Ask them for ways that you can pray for them throughout the week. Be sure to take a healthy step back if things begin to get too personal about her married life, issues in her married life, etc. (that is for her female friends, and her husband). You are also free to pray with her about things that are not too emotionally personal. Such a great way to love married women is to pray that God would bind together their family in supernatural ways and heal any pain/fighting that may be going on (you do not need to ask about this, but you can always pray for it anyways).