Temptations are enticing and hard to reject when there are no established boundaries to guide your decision making, especially when it comes to relationships. The heat of the moment will bring you places you never imagined possible if you aren’t prepared. It seems that talking about how far you will go as a couple is often too awkward to handle, so you leave it unspoken. In other instances, discussing boundaries seems not needed as Christians because they have been preset by parents’ opinions and what the Bible says. Living with these assumptions is deadly—no boundaries leave an opportunity to engage in activities that are unexpected, unwanted, and unGodly.
The drive for men and women to desire one another is normal and God created. When in a relationship the fluttering of your heart, long stares, wandering thoughts, and magnetic attraction are God made. God designed man and woman in the beginning to have attraction to one another, to become one. But, it is the long dating process before marriage, which may involve more than one significant other, that we must be prepared to resist temptation and honor God with our decisions. This requires the formation of physical boundaries.
The attraction we have towards the opposite sex is Godly as long as we don’t act on it before marriage. The Bible is clear on relationship boundaries, but often we choose to ignore the truth behind it:
- “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his or her own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
- “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
- “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
These verses often make us squirm–especially if we have slipped up once or twice. Does it really have to be this way? Wouldn’t it be alright to experience it for a moment? God will forgive me later, right?
The temptation of sex and lust is not easy to deal with. I’ve been there and struggled with it before. And as a single man, I understand how easy it is to have impure thoughts and want to act on them, but we (both men and women) must uphold our physical bodies to honor the Lord and our future spouse. There are no “ifs, ands, or buts,” it is a command and one that our culture fails at following.
Here are some scary statistics for single males and females today:
- 42% of 15–17, 72% of 18–19, and 84% of 20–24-year-olds have had oral sex
- 30% of 15–17-year-olds have had sex
- By age 19, the percentage of sexually active teenagers is 70%
- Then, at age 24, 84% of males and females have already participated in premarital intercourse
I gave these statistics to a Christian friend once, and their rebuttal was that the statistics wouldn’t be the same if you took the poll in a group of only Christian young adults—they’d obviously do a lot better at not falling into the temptation of premarital sex. Sadly, he was wrong; the statistics hardly change whether in a secular or Christian group. This is obvious evidence that our culture has enlightened the idea of sex into a leisure activity instead of a holy one, and that the usage of physical boundaries is nonexistent. Sex is a uniting, God made activity for married couples. It is a bond meant to seal two lives together for a lifetime. Every time you have sex outside of marriage you are making a bond with another for a lifetime. Yes, it is that serious. No, lots of bonds is not OK.
We’ve lost respect for relationships. We take action for what we want and often forget what the other may want. We confuse our desperation for finding meaning and purpose with the physical realm, thinking it will make us feel better or draw us closer to the other person. But the more we search for a sense of belonging within physicality the more we damage our spirit and future relationships. Furthermore, we forget that we are disrespecting not only ourselves, but our parents and God. We, as Christians, are better than that. Are you really willing to trade holiness and purity for 10 seconds of pleasure? That’s all your gaining, all the moment has to offer you.
Here are two truths: 1) If you’ve failed in this area before, know you’re not alone. There are others just like you who are looking to change their lives and renew their minds and bodies. You don’t have to keep repeating the same mistake, and 2) You have a choice every time physical temptations enter your life. You know what’s right or wrong. Choose God or choose yourself.
Our culture promotes sexual promiscuity from every media angle imaginable and we have begun to accept pushing physical boundaries as a norm before marriage. If we want to change our lives, our culture, or the generations coming after us, we must start to establish Godly, physical boundaries in our relationships right now.
What are physical boundaries: It is a mutually, thought-out agreement between an unmarried man and woman to not go beyond a certain point in the physical realm of a relationship and includes accountability and honesty to others.
Here is how the step by step creation of boundaries may occur:
- How far will we allow ourselves to go? (What is the boundary?)
example answer: Nothing more than kissing. No clothes off, ever. Hands off private areas.
- What type of atmospheres must we stay away from?
example answer: No sleeping together in the same bed. Door always unlocked. Not alone past midnight.
- Who will help us stay accountable? (The accountability partner needs to check in on the couple and their condition of following the boundaries)
example answer: Spiritual Mentor, Pastor, best friend, older sibling.
- What do we do if we cross our physical boundary?
example answer: Confess the mistake to an accountability partner. Set-up a process to keep it from happening again.
Sexual mistakes are the biggest heart breakers and the hardest part of trying to get over a past relationship. If we establish pure, Godly boundaries we can honor God, our significant other, and our future spouse. Make the formation of physical boundaries a priority in your relationship and be as detailed as possible in the creation of them. Loose ends or ambiguous boundaries only lead to them being easily broken.