Have you ever started a new dating relationship with every good intention to pursue sexual purity, yet within a few weeks you cross a line you promised you never would?
Are you currently in a dating relationship and your purity is hanging on for dear life, with too many close calls with your boyfriend/girlfriend every date night?
Maybe you have managed to withhold from going “all the way,” but that “not so bad” stuff has become commonplace in your relationship?
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Is sexual purity even possible? Is it even worth it?”
In today’s sex-crazed, Fifty Shades of Grey, and “purity is lame” culture, I’m sure many of us have found ourselves in one of the scenarios described above. Let’s be honest… it is really hard for two young, hormone-filled people who are intensely attracted to each other to keep their hands off each other.
My wife and I can definitely relate. In the five years we dated before getting married, pursuing purity in our relationship was definitely a real struggle and constant battle. Although we managed to save sex until our wedding night, it was all the “not so bad” stuff that would lead us to tears and our knees before the Lord, asking for forgiveness and a fresh start. In the first half of our dating relationship, we definitely did it wrong. However, in the second half of our dating years, we did what was said to be the impossible – we went backwards. We found a way to keep our hands off each other and honor God and each other with our bodies. Talk about a freedom and holy intimacy that brought to our relationship. It’s really possible and it is definitely worth it!
So maybe you are a dating couple who constantly profess with your lips your commitment to sexual purity in your dating relationship, yet with your actions you repeatedly reject its possibility and reality. Maybe you are doing good in your relationship so far and desire to keep the pursuit of purity strong. Or maybe you’re single and want to know how do things right when you do start to date.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but whatever season you find yourself in, here are three ways to pursue purity in a dating relationship:
1. Make Sure You Have the Right Focus
If you have the right focus, then you get the right results! I’ve learned that it’s actually not a purity focus that you and your boyfriend/girlfriend need the most to “hold your horses.”
It’s not, “Lord, help me be pure,” but instead, “Lord, help me worship and honor you with my body”.
I think sometimes couples can be so focused and paranoid on staying pure that they draw too much attention to purity, which actually makes it easier for them to stumble. Don’t get me wrong, you must be cutthroat in your purity battle by setting boundaries and making the right choices in the heat of the fire. But purity doesn’t always need to have the most of our focus and energy.
If Jesus is truly front and center in the relationship, and both parties live each day to worship Him, the purity issue will often become an non-issue. The right focus is on Jesus!
2. Get a New Perspective on Love
If you are a physical touch person, and have the motto: “The more they touch, the more they love me,” then you need to get a new perspective on love. The lie of the world is that you have to be physically intimate to express your love to your partner. The truth is that you really show your boyfriend/girlfriend more love and affection by not crossing physical boundaries.
This perspective shift was a game changer for my wife and me in our dating relationship. Once we got the revelation and agreed on the vision that “I show that I love and care about you more when I deny my flesh and chose to honor your body and the Lord” it took the physical pressure off the relationship.
The purity issue isn’t so much that you want to be sexual, it is more tied in to your need and desire to feel loved. Solution: Come up with a list of ways of how you can both express love and affection to each other in nonphysical ways.
3. Verbalize the Mistakes
Don’t be afraid to call a “timeout.” What I mean by “timeout” is that once a boundary has been crossed, you must verbalize it right away to one another and call it what it was: wrong and dishonoring. If you don’t have this “timeout” and “pep talk” moment, your flesh will set up a new boundary marker in that new territory. It will be that much easier to cross that boundary again the next time.
I’ve seen way too many couples cross physical boundaries, yet never verbalize it and instead, just move on down the road and plan their next date. That would be like if you had a dog and they broke through the neighbors fence and ate their flowers, yet you never told them or replaced the board. The next time that dog is let out where do you think he is going… right through that fence and to the flowers again.
After a mess up, silence is the greatest enemy to future victory. So don’t forget to call a timeout, get loud in the huddle, and talk strategy of how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Pursuing purity may be one of the hardest things you face in your dating relationship, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Be encouraged because it is possible and you can do it!
God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 MSG