Dating but not relationship
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.
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.
Guys, don't wait until you've had lunch or dinner or "hung out" one-on-one four or five times before you let her know what's going on.
The idea is to remove that period of confusion or vulnerability for the woman by being forthright about what level of intention or commitment exists (a la 1 Thessalonians 4).
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.
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.
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.
If you know the man well or at least better than what I've just described, but you are not sure whether you are interested in him, I'd encourage you to at least take some time to get to know him before giving an unequivocal "no." Keep in mind that this is different from feigning interest when there isn't any.