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Every male who is out of college should have at least thought this through. Initiation is not manipulating the situation so that while you're officially "asking her out" there's no actual risk of rejection or embarrassment. It means that you as the man take the first step, risk and all. 'Doesn't that mean that she can just tell me no and leave me twisting in the wind? But whatever the circumstances, her role is as responder, not initiator.Once he determines he is ready to be married generally, and once he has found a particular woman he is interested in pursuing, our single man's next step is to "put some feelers out." He should talk to some of her friends, see if she's been asking about him, have one or two subtly suggestive conversations with her to see if she gives anything away.... In his Boundless article, "Real Men Risk Rejection," Michael Lawrence eloquently summarizes both the objections some men might raise to this idea, and, in my view, the ideal response: 'Wait a minute. As single men need to learn how to lead (whether they like it or not), single women need to learn what it is to let a man assume spiritual leadership in the relationship — and to respond to that leadership. All singles who profess Christ and aspire to marriage — even as a possibility — have this responsibility (even outside this area of life, we should all be trying to grow in Christ). If you're already sure of that basic answer, are you a growing and mature Christian?

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In my view, if you can't happily picture yourself married within a year, you're not in a position to date.

Third, once you decide that you are ready to date, look to God's Word to decide the kind of person to date, and evaluate potential dating partners on those criteria, rather than relying primarily on the world's treatment of ideas like "attraction" and "chemistry." I wrote at some length on this in my article, "Brother, You're Like a Six." For you busy singles with time for only one mildly irritating column per day, the summary is this: Pick a potential dating partner with an eye toward godly manhood and womanhood — with an eye toward who would make a good husband or wife, defined by those characteristics esteems in His Word, not the ones Hollywood likes.

The command in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply is a general command. As it is the man's God-given role to initiate, so it is the woman's God-given role to respond.

When Paul extols singleness in 1 Corinthians 7 (which is an often-misused passage in this area of life), it is singleness for the purpose of enhanced If you are floating around staying single because you enjoy social flexibility or having time to yourself or hanging out with the guys or because you have worldly ideas about the perfect woman or how to approach marriage, consider: Are you approaching manhood and marriage biblically? Her response may be positive or negative, it may occur through her father, her family or words directly to her potential suitor.

Ladies, this doesn't mean that you have to cut your would-be suitor off mid-sentence, take off running and shout your father's (or whomever's) name and phone number over your shoulder as you go.

It may mean that you explain to him that before you are willing to go out with him, he needs to meet person or couple X and discuss it with them or with the two of you.Finally, let me advocate the initiating of a relationship under some accountability structure.I mentioned the woman's father or family because until the second half of the 20th century, that's largely how it was done.See what an unsatisfying bumper-sticker treatment that was? Among the different roles assigned to men and women in the Bible, men are assigned the role of leadership. This is not a signal of male superiority or of the greater importance of men.It is simply God's design and assignment of equally valuable roles among spiritually equal beings. Briefly, biblical support for this position is found, among other passages, in the creation order in Genesis 2, in 1 Corinthians 11: 7-9, and Ephesians 5.As a practical matter, are you responsible and holy in the way you possess your own spirit, mind and body?

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