What's in this seemingly designed-to-confuse relationship manifesto? Stuff like, make sure you're mature enough to date (hint: if you're asking the question and you're old enough to get married, you are). Ask God to "show you" what you need to do to move forward. Figure out what your courtship/dating life should look like once you are in a relationship (uhhh... I literally have no idea what this means). Be intentional about doing covert ops on -- er, I mean getting to know the girl you're interested in, mostly in groups but then singling her out in those groups to find out what she likes (because that's not creepy at all), etc. Overuse of the word "intentional" or some variant thereof seems to be mandatory in these kinds of articles.
And of course there's no mention of, like, letting her in on this process of determining if she's The One. Just a lot of "determining" and "being intentional" and "using discernment" and "prayerfulness." No wonder we're all so confused.
Want to know my pithy, five-word response to this guy's question?
Dear Confused Guy:
ASK HER ON A DATE.
Not enough for an entire advice column? Fine.
Dear Confused Guy:
If you find yourself attracted to (because physical attraction is OK; you don't have to confess to your accountability partner that you thought a girl was cute) or otherwise interested in a godly woman, ASK HER ON A DATE, probably within a few weeks of first realizing your interest. If she says yes, then take her on a date. And if you have a good time on that date, ask her on another date. Rinse and repeat, and remember that you're a Christian.
See, friends, we have this handy-dandy cultural shorthand for discovering if someone's interested in us. Ladies, if a guy is interested in you, he will ask you out. Fellas, if a girl is interested in you, she will say yes when you ask her out. See how easy that was? Now, sometimes one party can be interested while the other isn't -- or one party might be dating someone else already. That's not so hard to handle either! Ladies, if a guy is not interested in you or is already seeing someone, he will not ask you out. Fellas, if a girl is not interested in you or is already seeing someone, she will say, "No, thanks," or, "Actually, I'm already seeing someone" when you ask her out.
I can think of so freakin' few genuine, legitimate reasons NOT to act like this, most of them involving some kind of catastrophic relationship blowout in the recent past. So, if you didn't just break off an engagement or ditch an abuser or something similarly disastrous requiring some healing time, what's the holdup? Ladies, if a godly man asks you on a date, you should probably say yes. Guys, if a godly woman has caught your eye, you should probably ask her on a date.
There now, we've got that all settled, right? RIGHT??