We love each other, so is it wrong that we're fooling around?
Message: So...this might be a long one. I'm new to your blog and I wanna hear your opinion.
I've been dating my boyfriend for almost a year and a half. As an anxious person, he's been very good for me. He's one of the most selfless, sweet people I've ever known, he calms my anxieties, and I trust him completely. My parents are even beginning to like him and see my relationship as a good thing. We plan on getting married in college.
That being said, we've had our issues. We're both each other's first relationships, and we knew each other for 5 years before we became a couple. So it was exciting and new at the beginning and things moved pretty fast physically. We haven't had sex, but we've gotten pretty close. We've gotten caught once, and confessed to our parents once. Those times were pretty strained. I was guilty and disappointed and dissatisfied. But things have gotten a lot better since. I know it's a stereotypical statement you'll probably laugh at, but I really love him as a person and I see a future with him.
The thing is we're still really physical despite trying to slow down. I think part of it is that my parents came down really hard when they found out. They're very strict and overbearing at times. They both teach at the school I attend, so I never get away. So I've grown up sort of rebellious, and I feel like that might be a part. As well as knowing that my mom never had a boyfriend till my dad and my dad did literally the same things I've done, but with multiple girls. I don't see why they have the right to meddle in my sex life to that extent. It's also just that we're very affectionate people, and though we both know it's probably not good, we can't seem to stop once it starts escalating. We won't have intercourse till we're married, especially since it's irresponsible and we both have big plans for the future, but everything else is so hard to resist since it satisfies without the risk or the physical act of fornication. I've been struggling with this in my walk with God, and I know he is too. But most days, I don't see why there is such an emphasis on it's sinfulness. We do it out of affection and passion. And my parents treat it like I murdered someone and am the epitome of they're failure as parents. They've only accepted him recently because they think it stopped. I've almost told them before, but it was like going through hell. They've threatened to send me to boarding school, even. I don't know. I guess I'm just wondering if it's so wrong to, one, do what we're doing, and two, if it's worse that we're hiding it from our parents.
Thank you so much for your honest inquiry. I know heaps of people, including myself, who have wondered about and struggled through similar questions. I also think God saw fit to send me this question because this has ALWAYS been my particular temptation. I can say no to drugs, alcohol, and caffeine any old day, but lust can be a beast!
I want to highlight a few different thoughts that you brought out in your situation description. Hopefully these responses will lead you to see yourself in the gorgeous light that Jesus see you in and open up the relationship that goes beyond “rules” about sex.
First of all, I want to affirm you. You are clearly a beautiful, passionate, exceptional and sexual woman. It seems weird for you to hear that as a good thing, BUT IT IS! God created you that way and He LOVES those things about you. In fact, since He made you in His own image I can guarantee you that your emotions and passions reflect His own. Also, I’m SO glad you’ve found a guy who really wants to benefit your life and who wants to be connected with God. That’s the kind of man you can grow spiritually with.
Now on with the juicy bits:
Let’s start with the obvious questions. How far is too far for a Christian girl to go? Or what I think is a better question--is there a good reason to limit yourself sexually? I don’t want to discuss the health risks of STIs or pregnancy or even how promiscuity correlates to depression. There are medical professionals and CDC websites that can give you stats to the moon and back. The truth is, many responsible adults in monogamous relationships are able to keep from getting infections and unwanted pregnancies. I HATE when religious people make their arguments based on the physical “what ifs,” so I want to address this topic from a purely theocentric (God-centered) viewpoint.
First off, I want to look at a text that is kind of direct. In fact, it seems to take kind of a harsh stance, but bear with it and you’ll be rewarded with some answers!
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. “ (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, NIV)
Let’s break this down a little bit.
The first two verses tell us what and WHY. God wants us to avoid any kind of sexual immorality in a way that is honorable. BUT it is a mistake to think that this means “straighten up and act honorable, lest you embarrass me.” I looked up the word here for honorable and it’s the word “time” (tee-may). It means “full value.” God really wants you to regard your body in a way that indicates your full value, your dignity, and the high price that comes from knowing your true worth.
Your sexuality is the most precious and worthy expression of your romantic love. Like other precious and worthy things, it would be ludicrous to spend it casually. According to the Bible, saving sex for its ultimate set-apart purpose is part of how Christians should be living.
But what is the set-apart purpose of sex?
That’s where it may get a little strange for some people, but there are many references in the Bible where God calls His people His BRIDE. He claims to be in a covenant relationship with us. Our reason for getting married and, by extension having sex, is to reflect the oneness in covenant that God has with His people.
Yeah. Don’t freak out, but sex isn’t actually that much about us. I mean it IS for us, but it has a deep theological purpose.
Let me explain. If marriage is a covenant that points to God’s commitment, then sex is the ceremonial mark of the covenant that points to the deep intimacy God wants to have with us. In sex, one flesh is literal! Dustin Hall, in his book The Elephant In The Room, says “Not that God is a sexual being, but one of the clearest ways God shows us what his character is really like is through the loving and powerful sexual oneness between a husband and wife.”
And THAT is why God cares deeply about your sex life… and, of course, He doesn’t want you to have to deal with any of the physical risks, the heartbreak or the guilt that may come with pre-mature sexy time. That’s also why Satan tries SO hard through cultural pressures to suggest that it’s no big deal.
“If sex forms a spiritual passageway of understanding into deeper intimacy with God it is not surprising that the adversary of both God and man…would bend his powers to the task of making human sexuality a receptacle of profanity, lust and shame" (Ty Gibson, A God Named Desire, p. 61).
Now that you understand more about the RELATIONSHIP that sex represents, it’s probably easier to see why people want to put boundaries around the act. Sometimes these well-meaning people forget to tell you the relationship, but they yell a whole lot about the rules and that makes for a perfect rebellion.
SO, now let’s go back to 1 Thessalonians.
There’s more to unpack but this will be shorter. The passage urges us to not “act out of passionate lust” and in that way “wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.”
Wow. This is SERIOUS.
The Bible says that having sex outside of marriage is a way of hurting someone. I know it doesn’t feel like it at the time, but consider these ideas:
· In sex, you are supposed to be 100% in sync with one another—body, mind, and spirit. If someone has not married you yet, they just can’t be all in! One or both partners will inevitably feel less than satisfied when they give so much, but don’t have a commitment to match.
· Since God asks for purity of heart, mind and body, it will compromise both partners’ view of and relationship with God.
· If sex must be hidden from parents or friends those relationships will suffer from lack of trust.
· If someone is using sexual intimacy as a crutch, it will help them avoid working through other life or relationship issues.
· If a break-up does happen (sorry to bust the bubble but I did an unofficial google search on this and the average woman will be totally brokenhearted at least twice before finding “THE ONE”) sexual intimacy of any sort tricks your mind into thinking you can’t move on because of the amounts of the bonding hormone, oxytocin.[i]
This brings me to a point I have come up with after lots of years of temptation. If I say I love someone, I will have their best interest in mind. Because I don’t know for SURE if it will work out, I want to help them save themselves for their future spouse and help them be the very best person they can be. I often say to people I date: “I want to treat you so well that If I got invited to your wedding one day I could look your wife in the eye and say…I kept his heart safe for you.”
Have I done that every time? Nope, I’ve messed up too, but that thought really helps me put true love and other-centeredness into the relationship. I’ve got boundaries that come from myself instead of what other people tell me is right. If I cross them, I’m disappointed in myself and I figure out some accountability and fix it.
I’m going to wrap up here because it’s late and I have a 5:30 flight. I just want to address one more thing I wish someone had told me.
Sex is not just his penis inside you. It’s not just an orgasm. It is the whole, deliberate act of turning each other on. How far is too far? Well, let me ask you this: When I’m on a diet, how many donut shops do you think I visit? How many cookies you think I sniff? How many pizzas do I lick?
Yeah. That’s right. Zero. Because when I’m really serious I try to avoid things that trigger my urges. So that’s my answer for sex too.
The reason I bring this up is because in everything (not just sex) God wants our purity. Our single-mindedness on God and His kingdom. The standard is higher than we could ever reach. I’ve messed up lots of times, but guess what? I KNOW that in my heart I want to do what’s right. I love sitting in church knowing that “If I confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive me my sin…” Every time I look in the Bible that verse is still there!
Let me encourage you, my beautiful, passionate, Godly woman…that verse is there for you too! God seriously wants you to have THE BEST SEX imaginable. He wants you to be able to explore and have fun and find release, but he also wants you to know how VALUABLE you are and how meaningful it is when two people can give 100% to each other and show the world what a covenant relationship looks like.
I know you might have more questions, so send them in!
I’m praying for you right now.
[i] Watson, Rita (2013, OCT 14). Oxytocin: The Love and Trust Hormone Can Be Deceptive
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