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A pastor friend of mine once declared during a singles’ bible study that a man knows within three weeks of meeting a woman if he wants to marry her. Recently, a friend recalled this teaching and posted the quote to her Facebook page. Within minutes, the comment thread had garnered over 20+ comments, some rather lengthy, from both men and women – nearly all confirming the truth of the statement.

Thinking over my past experiences and those of my friends, both male and female, married, single, and divorced – not to mention those couples whom my husband and I have counseled, I agree. Although it may take the commitment-phobic male a bit longer to make his intentions known, a mentally healthy man definitely knows sooner rather than later if he has met his bride-to-be.

The manner in which men convey interest is through pursuit. Steve Harvey in his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, contends that a man who wants a long-term relationship will do several things to make his intentions known. He will:

* Profess his intentions toward his woman; usually bestowing a “title” upon her of some sort, such as girlfriend or fiancée

* Provide for her in one form or another, usually financially – the degree of financial provision proffered depends on the man and the woman

* Protect her from those who would seek to offend or injure her

While Mr. Harvey’s assessment may appear archaic and chauvinistic, there is truth in it.

I have witnessed enough singles first hand, and counseled enough married folks to attest that the one constant in a relationship is a man’s lack of pursuit. Meaning, if a man doesn’t woo to win his beloved’s affections, he never will. Granted, a man may pursue his woman initially, then sometime after marrying her slack off, or cease to do pursue her altogether. Exactly when and how the slacking can start varies from husband to husband – but sadly it can and often does happen. Wives can be equally as guilty of slacking off – especially where sex is concerned (but that’s another, different blog). On the other hand, I have never known of, or even heard of a man, who, failing to pursue his woman in the beginning stages of their relationship, suddenly upped his efforts after years of their being together as singles or as a married couple.

If a man wants to be with a woman, he pursues her. If a man wants to marry a woman, he asks her. It really is that simple. Styles of pursuit may vary according to his upbringing, cultural/ethnic background, financial means, level of education attained, understanding of women, or even his country of origin. But in the end, pursuit is identifiable. Likewise, lack of pursuit is equally identifiable. A man who doesn’t pursue initiates nothing – except perhaps sexual contact, or socializing for the sake of sexual contact (AKA “booty calls”).

Ladies, be forewarned: If you are a woman who is content with pursuing her man, or waiting around for him to “come around” to your point of view, then be prepared for a lifetime of doing so – because chances are – your situation may never change.

Be blessed, Family.

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