Bryan has never been one to actively pursue a relationship with me. Past boyfriends have sent me flowers at work, shown up spontaneously at my door, left notes on my car, taken me to candlelit dinners and massaged my feet. Bryan has never done any of these things, or really anything even remotely romantic in the classic sense of the word.
When I have mentioned to Bryan how long it’s been since he’s taken me on a proper date (i.e. months), his response was something akin to, “Your goal in dating is ultimately marriage, right? In marriage, do people spend more time going on fancy, contrived date nights or just living daily life together? If the goal is to build relationship, which is more relational: getting dressed up to go to elaborate dinners or doing housework together?”
Maybe he’s just not romantic. Maybe he’s just being a typical man. That’s fine. I can accept that. But for a relationship to be successful, both individuals need to be seeking to meet the needs of the other. And I have communicated my need to be wooed and courted and pursued. For a relationship to be healthy, some degree of selflessness is required by both parties. But if I want to spend time with Bryan, it tends to be on his terms and in his timing, which is usually a last-minute text when he feels like hanging out and grabbing a cup of coffee.
Servant leadership is vital to a healthy, successful, godly relationship. For a relationship to be God-honoring, both people need to approach the relationship asking not “What can you do for me?” but “What can I do for you?” But, as much as I try to bless Bryan by meeting his communicated (and anticipated) needs, I have never felt a similar effort reciprocated.
Maybe we’re just not speaking the same love language. Bryan is spontaneous, and I am a planner. Bryan seems focused on knocking out life goals, and I am interested in connecting with someone to share life with. It’s possible Bryan behaves in a selfless manner toward me in ways I’m oblivious to.
All I know is that I can count on one hand the number of times he has offered to drive to pick me up in the past five months. He always expects me to come to him. And instead of going on proper dates, we just run errands together or cross off items on his to do list. This week, if I wanted to see him, he said I could go grocery shopping with him. As far as I can tell, he makes almost no effort to woo me or make me feel valued and cherished.
I don’t feel like a priority in Bryan’s life, and I’ve been telling myself I feel this way because he isn’t very romantic or experienced in pursuing dating relationships. But, if I’m honest with myself, the truth is probably that I don’t feel like a priority in his life because I’m not one.