If nothing else, treating men who initiate well will encourage other men to initiate.If we are concerned about defrauding one another (again, this idea applies to both genders but particularly to the men as the initiators), another one of the early issues to address is how much and what kind of time couples spend together.Before continuing with this column, please review the preamble included at the beginning of this series, "Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating." * * * PART 3: Just Friends » As Christians in dating relationships, we want to avoid hurting one another and dishonoring Christ by "defrauding" (see NASB translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:6) our brothers and sisters in Christ by implying — through word or action — a higher level of commitment to that person than we have made before God.
You're trying to find out whether this is someone you should know more intimately en route to figuring out whether this is a person you could marry. You are trying to figure out if you to know this person intimately. One suggestion I have for couples starting out is that the majority of your time together should be spent with other people, preferably with your families and church families.
Get to know one another in groups, find out how the other person reacts to people, spend time with the people he or she cares about.
Then — in addition to actually thinking and praying about it — ask one of your pastors or elders whether he knows him and what he thinks.
If the pastor or elder you ask doesn't know him well, he can guide you to a trustworthy source that knows him better.
You probably won't know at this stage how things are going to ultimately turn out regarding marriage (that's why you date), so you need not communicate that right away.
But you should know what you're trying to find out and what your intentions are — that is what you, as the man, must be clear about.
Ladies, as uncomfortable as this may sound for the guys, you might be in a difficult position here as well, depending on how well you know the man initiating with you. Then I'd ask, have you had any chance at all to see him in group settings, or do you know him by reputation?
If you don't have even information at that level, feel free to tell him that you want some time to think and pray about it (that is, if you're not sure at that point that you're not interested).
Guys, tell her why you have initiated or are initiating with her, tell her that you intend to pursue the relationship to determine if marriage is the right choice before God.
In my view, this establishing of intentions should be done near the beginning of any exclusive or romantic time spent together — preferably within the first two or three "dates" during a deliberate conversation on the subject.
Do you have enough information to know that you could not marry this man?