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.

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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?

Are you generally humble and teachable, and do you respect authority?

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.

Ultimately, this means learning to trust God's goodness and sovereignty.

Clearly, this is not the popular secular view of the "liberated" woman's role.

First, the man should initiate asking the woman out.

Whether this means approaching the woman herself or her father or someone filling that role instead of her father, it should be the guy that starts things off.

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