Today, I am going to continue my series on 90’s Dating Gone Bad. (Click here for the background article on this post.)
Here is the next rule that we made up in the wake of the I Kissed Dating Goodbye phenomenon. It is the one I am most worried to write about because it is such a hot button topic. Be gentle with me.
Rule #4: You shouldn’t be alone with the person you are dating (or courting, or buggying.) Being alone leads to kissing. Kissing leads to sex. Sex leads to dancing. And we cannot have any dancing now, can we?
I must admit, this rule can really irk me. And I don’t use the word irk lightly. Because it is a really awkward word.
It seems backwards for us to avoid sex so much that we march our innocent little butts down the aisle towards a person we barely know. Sex before marriage can be destructive, but so can marrying a person who you ask on the honeymoon “so, what’s your middle name?”
Don’t get me wrong. I have lived my life with the philosophy that sex is something incredibly sacred. So sacred in fact, that I have personally chosen to only be that imitate with someone inside the boundaries of a life long covenant. I have not chosen that simply because it is what my Christian culture expects me to do. I have chosen it because I know having sex with a man (or many men) who is not in covenant with me would be very, very hard on my heart, and could change my life in ways that I don’t want it to be changed.
I also don’t want to downplay a subject that has been a life struggle for some people. I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a man or woman who has been tortured over a sex addiction. (Let me say that I applaud you for being brave and fighting for freedom from this.)
As always, there needs to be balance. Balance between knowing the sacredness of sex and knowing the sacredness of making a good choice when it comes to tying yourself to someone for life.
Here are two things that I think will help us in the quest for this balanace.
#1) Know Thyself.
These are Plato’s words, and they are full of wisdom.Try to understand what is going on inside of you. Figure out what you can handle.
In my case, I know that I can make a boundary with someone I am dating and stick with it. I can kiss and not feel a need to go further. It has actually been healing for me to kiss people, (not very many mind you, but a few). I have gone through certain things in my past that made me apprehensive of any kind of intimacy. But over they years I have dated trustworthy, kind men who respected our boundaries. God brought a lot of healing through that, even though I didn’t marry them. I now really enjoy intimacy rather than being scared of it.
Other people, on the other hand, can not handle very much. They would want to go past their boundaries if someone was wearing the right pair of earrings. Be honest with yourself. Communicate well with the person you are dating. Make boundaries together that you know you can follow. And tell her put on some really ugly,chunky, Grandma earrings.
#2) Foster a culture that does not succumb to the lie that we are slaves to sin.
Yes, sex is tempting. Yes, we need good boundaries. But we have to stop telling ourselves that we are weak.That if left to our own devices we will have no choice but to lose ourselves in passion.
If we see ourselves as sinners that have no control over ourselves, it may be a self fulfilling prophesy. We should start seeing ourselves for what we are; people who the Lord has made strong. People who have self control and who do not need chastity belts in order to be in the same room with someone of the opposite sex. The more we see ourselves as weak, the weaker we will be. We must remember the truth; temptation does not have control over us. We have control over temptation.
I am not saying it is wise to sleep in the same bed together, to always be alone, to go off for the weekend to some romantic place and think we won’t be tempted. There is something special about saving those things for covenant, and you don’t want to set yourself up to go beyond your boundaries.
But I am saying that we need to see ourselves as people who can have adult dating relationships that allow us to get to know the other person very, very well before we get married without having to tear each other’s clothes off before the wedding night.
What do you think? I want to hear your perspective. We can all learn from each other.