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.
Because this sort of (perhaps unintentional) deception is a particular temptation in a dating context, we need to be deliberate about avoiding it.
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.
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.
In the end, there is no formula and no rote substitute for intellectually honest Christians seeking to care well for one another and to faithfully apply Scripture to infinitely varied relational circumstances.
The first thing that should happen if it has not happened during the initiation of the relationship is that intentions should be established.Whatever that conversation looks like, intentions should be clear and it should be the man making them so.