In the design of a relationship that we're carving out here, caring well for one another means we can't place too high a premium on being clear. In fact, many women tell me they deeply appreciate such clarity.
Guys, again the brunt of the work falls to you here. Let me also reiterate that, like asking someone to date initially, It's just a marker to say things are going well, and as far as you're concerned, the game is changing.
Obviously, I've talked about this stage as being more emotionally intimate than the early days of a relationship, and I realize that in this day and age, many people feel that they must know the person they marry better than any other human being on the planet they marry him or her.
I generally think that is a wrong assumption and that such an approach leads to a lot of emotional "marriages" outside of actual marriage that are not biblical or healthy.
Before continuing with this article, please review the preamble included at the beginning of this series, "Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating." * * * PART 5: Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship » My last article, "Biblical Dating: Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship," sought to apply some of the principles we've discussed in this series to the early stages of a dating relationship.
We talked about how to establish intentions for the early stages, appropriate topics of conversation, types of dates and level of emotional investment.
If you've gone through the early stage of the relationship and truly feel before God (to whom you will give account for your decision) that you should begin to get more intimately involved with this woman because you think marriage to her is a good possibility, you have to tell her. If done well, it should actually put you both at ease moving forward.
Tell her that you have loved getting to know her, that you find her a godly woman, that you are interested in pursuing a more serious relationship with her for a finite period of time, basically to see if there are any clear obstacles (in terms of beliefs or affections or goals or personalities) to the two of you getting married. Obviously, as your relationship progresses, the two of you will probably spend more time together than in the early stage, and more of that time will be spent together.
That in and of itself can become a temptation — and the more you go over it and over it in your mind, the stronger the desire becomes and the less egregious the sin becomes (in your own mind, that is).
Finally, keep in mind that it is still not advisable to have long, intimate prayer times together at this stage.
Also, do clearly discuss limits on your physical involvement (in other words, reiterate that there will not be one) and put methods of adhering to those limits in place.
That said, don't make physical involvement — even a lack thereof — a frequent topic of conversation.
The situation has obviously changed somewhat, but that is still too tempting and too intimate.