Setting Boundaries in Dating to Honor God and Maintain Purity: - INTERCESSION FOR A GENERATION
This is a principle that apples in dating relationships and plutonic set up for a healthy pattern for a marriage, should God lead in that direction. This article first appeared in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, volume 38, number 04 (). The full text of this article in PDF format can. Not making yourself a priority in your own life isn't honoring to God and it will leave you feeling spiritually and emotionally exhausted.
It just means that it isn't time. The Bible says that there is a time and a season to every purpose under the sun Ecclesiastes 3: The flowers that normally come up in the spring aren't complaining in the winter time about not being able to bloom during winter; They simply wait until it is their time and when their time comes everything happens just the way that it is supposed to.
It will be the same way for the believer who is waiting on the appropriate time to date for marriage. The bible says that the man who delights in God's word and such will bring forth his fruit in his season Psalms 1: That means that whatever is due to that individual will come to pass as long as he continues in God's way.
Being in a position where your flesh is clearly not under subjection puts you at risk for a relationship that is led by the physical in dating, and that is not how you get to know someone for the purpose of being a potential life partner.
God may need to put you on the shelf for a little while, get you polished up, and fully delivered before he allows possible potentials to come your way. A second boundary once you meet someone who you're interested in is to steer clear of conversation that leads one to think about sex: I will use myself for an example.
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I met an interesting gentlemen and we exchanged numbers. We had been talking for maybe a week, and the conversation went from work to his penis to a dream that he had about me ripping his shirt off. There is only one place that type of conversation can go, and that is straight to the bedroom. Of course, that was my sign that I immediately needed to cut off the conversation with this gentlemen and set some clear boundaries with him, that if he is going to talk to me he is going to have to respect me by having only respectable conversation.
The same gentlemen also bought up rubbing my feet a couple of times. Remember, we had only been talking for a week. In a week's time, I haven't really had a chance to get to know him, and he's already leaning toward the physical. That can only form a very strong emotional connection with the individual before I find out if he has the character and integrity to sustain our connection beyond the physical. If the character is lacking, but a physical and emotional connection is there it will only provide momentary gratification until the fizz of the relationship fades out because sex, and emotions can only take a relationship so far.
A third boundary is to eliminate or be very cautious of late night conversation: The previous story took place at 2a. I just happened to wake up in the middle of the night, and grab my phone and noticed a text message was recently sent, so I responded.
However, that was too much of a temptation for the gentlemen that I was talking to. The mood was set. It was late at night. We we're both probably texting from our beds all comfortable and what not. It is just an easy scenario for temptation.
As a matter of fact, a brother in the Lord had texted me late one night as I was about to go to bed about 12 a. I texted him back. He asked me to call him.
After talking in general for a while. He gave in to temptation discusses certain things that men should discuss with men, and finally asking if he could come over to my place the next day. I paused in shock because I viewed this dude as a brother in the Lord.
I explained to him that I do not allow guys over to my house to be alone with me unless its a relative or something like that. A forth boundary is to not allow yourself to be secluded with the person of interest: This doesn't mean that you and your love-interest can't ever be alone.
It just means that you will not allow yourself to be placed in compromising situations that would make it easy to have sex outside of marriage such as hanging out at each others homes and you all live alone, or checking into a hotel room together. Restraint and care are called for in the absence of full marital commitment. This principle virtually eliminates high school and most early college dating, which tends toward sexual exploitation and experimentation. Following this advice alone will help spare one from significant emotional harm and prevent faulty patterns of relating to the opposite sex.
Marriage—and thus dating—are for the serious and the mature; this is not a game. In general, when you show physical restraint, this will help you develop, maintain, and preserve your significant friendship while keeping your head clear about whether a person of interest is actually a mutually good fit. As friendship progresses, unclouded by expressions of physical desire, you will see the person for who he or she is. When you ultimately get engaged, have declared your love, and kissed, you will have gathered a treasure trove of mutual trust and respect that you will enjoy and call upon throughout your marriage.
If this standard and the one in the previous point sound too idealistic, I urge you not to dismiss them automatically. Determine from this day forward that you will prize purity, honor your future spouse, and protect your eventual marriage. Set patterns of faithfulness and self-control that will guide you through dating and marital life.
Lewis noted a certain cultural irony: Yet relationships without self-control will give way to compromises and regret—first in the dating relationship and then in marriage. Going too far physically before marriage only increases the likelihood of adulterous compromise during marriage. During engagement, the desire for sexual release is strong. So it makes sense to keep the length of the engagement as short as possible—as long as it takes feasibly to plan for a meaningful wedding celebration.
It is wise for engaged couples to concentrate on knowing one another socially, intellectually, and spiritually—establishing oneness at these more basic levels.
Physical expression of affection should be simple and occasional rather than prolonged and often.
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Otherwise an engagement, particularly a longer engagement, can lead to temptation, frustration, and friction. Gratification delayed in the present builds toward ever more wonderful fulfillment and the beginning of marriage on a solid foundation with no regrets.
Cultivate habits of mental purity. Adultery begins in the mind, and Christ calls us to be sexually pure in mind as well as body. Mental infidelity erodes relationships by objectifying others made in the divine image, and it harms the one lusting as well.
Not only should the earnest Christian cry to God for deliverance when tempted 1 Cor. Lose it, then you lose the battle of your life. But Scripture emphasizes the wrongness of choosing to dwell on those thoughts, of choosing to lust after another, rather than vigilantly redirecting those thoughts.
Will I dwell on them, or fill my mind with something else? Does he have a good track record of working through disagreements, asking for forgiveness, displaying humility and teachability? If the person storms out of a room in frustration or carries bitterness in his heart, he will become all the more explosive in marriage.
Before engagement, address general concerns about previous sexual experience. Since openness is necessary for healthy marital relationships, those with previous sexual experience should ask two questions: Would my friend want to marry me if she knew of my past?
And, Could I live openly with a sense of security and integrity if she did not know? Would it make any difference? I am deeply sorry and hope you will forgive me.
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If the person definitely does not want to know, then it would be unwise to speak of the matter further. Sexual sins less than premarital sex or gross promiscuity should be left undisclosed unless specifically requested. As to the second question, the answer is perhaps implicit: If a person forgives a future spouse for such wrongs, then these wrongs should be left behind and not brought into the marriage as a weapon or tool of manipulation.
When we forgive, we are expressing that we no longer hold that wrong against another person cf. When forgiving, our yes should be yes and our no, no Matt. Richard Baxter advises married couples not to stir up what is evil but what is the best in each other, and this includes not bringing up past, presumably forgiven sins and failings: However, laying a foundation of friendship allows a couple to proceed toward marriage in a more natural, God-honoring way.
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