Of the many things disintegrating in our self-gratification culture, the proper way to pursue a prospective spouse is a primary one. There seems to hardly be a boy around who knows how to act like a gentleman. To any guy who is reading this out of his own free will, I would dare to say you are in the minority.
If you’re a guy who’s interested in beginning a serious relationship with a girl, here are a few points to note before you go any further. If you’re still trying to determine if you are interested in her, check out this article for eight clarifying points.
#1 — Date with intentionality
You shouldn’t even be looking to begin a dating relationship if you are not seriously considering marrying the girl. Dating is not a state of being but a process meant to go somewhere. An alternative definition would be “the process of looking into signing your life away to another person.”
“Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.”-Jefferson Bethke
If you have the correct mindset, you won’t be scared of the word marriage and will call the potential outing a date (not “hanging out” or “just chilling”). Dating is not something to do merely to pass time. It should be a path of building and growing together as a couple with the goal of getting married.
#2 — Talk to her dad first
You absolutely must talk to her dad before you have any sort of conversation with her about your feelings or intentions. You should not go in the back door and try to win her heart. You must go in the front door and talk to her dad. To skip this step would be incredibly disrespectful.
“If a boy does not go to the girl’s dad first to ask about dating his daughter, [he] is dishonoring and disrespecting the dad’s God-given responsibility to rear his child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”-Rick Thomas, “Ten Clarifying Thoughts On Boys and Girls Dating“
If her dad is not present in his daughter’s life or mature enough to handle such a conversation, then you should talk to her mom, a guardian, or spiritual authority. This preliminary action proves that you respect and care about her to the point that even a potentially threatening authority figure won’t scare you away.
#3 — Let her know in person
Anything that’s going to get deep needs to be discussed in person. Too many misunderstandings stem from removing layers of interaction via text, phone, or even video calls. If you want to engage in a relationship with her, engage in the rich complexity of dialogue where you can’t hide behind a screen.
And make sure you initiate your time together. It is not natural for a guy to sit back and let the girl do all the work. If you want to be together you have to-get-her. Be aware of your intentions and make them known. Do not leave her wondering whether you are into her or not.
Since marriage should be a constant fight to make sure you are on the same page, start off on the right foot by unpacking everything connected to this transition from friends to a dating couple. Your intentions, your reservations, everything. Put away your phones and focus on the person in front of you for as long as is needed.
#4 — Do not cut off your community
Assuming she returns your sentiments and agrees to embark on this journey with you: date publicly. Do not silo off but interact within group settings. While there is a time and place for one-on-one dates, make your community the primary setting for your relationship.
Get to know each other in the chaos of running events, the laughter-filled company of good friends, and the peace of a quiet evening at home. Their friends and family will tell you a lot about who they are.
If the community is in favor of the two of you as a couple, their company can even set your relationship up for success. Many divorces happen because the couple is determined they can figure it out themselves and therefore don’t ask for help.
If you can surround your relationship with beautiful people from the very beginning, then you will have a good structure to help resolve inevitable conflict.
Of course, there are many more things to consider when looking to acquire a future spouse, but heed these when making the leap into what very well could be the rest of your life. You shouldn’t rush something you want to last forever, and these steps will help start you out on the right foot.