90’s Dating Gone Bad #4: Don’t Be Alone

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.

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10 thoughts on “90’s Dating Gone Bad #4: Don’t Be Alone

  1. A.M.E.N. That’s what my comment is. THANK you for making this blog. What a total explosion of the myths of Christian dating.

    In my experience, I’ve met a lot of Christian guys who were harder to be around, less forward, took less personal responsibility and initiative for starting interactions and relationships, just generally less developed and mature. And I think there are a lot of factors for that, among them some very fear based and over protective “Christian” parenting techniques that are good at helping a child to arrive at the age of 18 without having made a certain number of “mistakes” but are also good at helping those kids avoid any of the growth and maturity that would come with having learned from their mistakes.

    Whereas, I meet non Christian guys who, while lacking the spiritual connection I desire, have a lot of the personal maturity characteristics that I find lacking in the Christian guys. And frankly, I find it a turnoff in the Christian guys. It’s come to the point that I’m convinced I’m going to meet and marry a guy who has converted in adulthood but was raised in a non Christian home.

    On that same thread, I meet Christian guys who have barely kissed or dated, which is commendable. There are plenty of Christian girls out there just like that and so maybe they are saving themselves for girls like that. But with the culture of judgementalism that can be the ACTUAL thing that is learned with all of the emphasis on celibacy, meeting these people is frustrating. If it was just that they were less “experienced” than someone like myself, I would hardly care. But it is often that they have immersed themselves in just the sort of experience bubble that you are describing in your post. They have not only not had sex, they have not kissed, not held hands, not shared heart intimacies with any girl. They only listen to worship music. They can describe all of the latest Christian literature. What do I have in common with these people? As a matter of fact, what does anyone except people just like them have in common with them? They can’t have a conversation with anyone who is not living in just the same bubble. The Lord loves everyone and gifts everyone in the spirit, so who knows how he moves in their lives in power, but I can’t imagine how they would witness to criminals and the downtrodden. How can they relate to people their age who have not lived such a sheltered life, Heck they can’t related to a fellow christian like myself who has not lived in this bubble!

    And then, for some of them, there is the judgementalism that comes with this lifestyle. (And by lifestyle I’m not knocking celibacy and/or virginity….just the obsession with hiding from reality)

  2. For sure I think it’s all about what each couple/person can handle, rather than rigorous rules. Also, the “don’t be alone” thing *might* be more for teenagers than adults. It’s pretty hard to keep to that rule when you’re an adult and live alone.

    I think it’s also an argument for not waiting too long to get married when you know you’ve found the “right one”. Many of my friends have met their perfect match and gotten married what would be considered quite quickly, because they *knew* and there was no point waiting longer (and incurring greater temptation). I’m all in favour of that, if you’ve found the right person.

    And don’t get involved with the wrong one, and not think it will lead the wrong places…trust me, you are very wise to not allow yourself to be sexual with anyone you’re not married to. It does hurt in the long run far too much.

  3. I feel that to say that I, a 36 year old Christian woman, should not be alone with another man is highly insulting. What were we (back in the 90s) thinking, preaching, promoting to our young people?

    • I think we always want a law… it just seems so much easier sometimes than living with Him in the messy adventure that life turns out to be.

  4. I think you’re exactly right that we need to avoid putting man-made rules in place. Although, many of the ideas in ‘I Kissed Dating Good-bye’ may be very good ideas for teenagers, they are not appropriate for thirty-somethings who are much more mature and should have the strength of character to resist temptation.

    I also totally agree with you that it is vitally important to know the person before you marry them, and we should not rush relationships just to avoid sex. That said, many thirty-somethings are capable of knowing fairly quickly when they have found the right person. My now husband and I dated and communicated long distance for about 9 months before we were engaged (we are in our mid thirties), and our engagement was only five months long. I knew well before we were engaged that I wanted to marry him. Many people may see that as moving very quickly, and for some it would be, but is was right for us. We also were not overly concerned about sex–the attraction certainly was there, but our values and our commitment to wait was stronger. It was never an irresistible temptation when we found ourselves alone together. But that is only my story. Others may struggle more with temptation, and for them it may be wise to avoid being alone together, but that should not be an across-the-board rule in our Christian culture.

    Kate, this blog is a great idea, and I’m so glad you’re writing about your experiences. I have sometimes thought about writing about my experiences as a single person over thirty. I know from experience that singles are so often misunderstood, overlooked, and ignored by the church and Christian culture, and it is sad because God doesn’t view singles that way. And just because I am now married, it does not mean that I have forgotten what it was like to be single. My husband and I both know the pain and struggle well.

  5. THANK YOU! I have always thought this was a little ridiculous. Up until recently, there was a long time when a majority of my friends were guys. It wasn’t because I was a flirt, or a tomboy, or anything like that. I simply had a lot of guy friends, and I still do. They’re my brothers. Lately I feel as though that has been attacked and people saying that I can’t be alone with them, or if I have so many male friends I MUST be craving that attention. ALL NOT TRUE. If I have lunch with a guy (and yes, just the two of us) it doesn’t mean we’re going to run off and sleep together. And With dating, I really don’t understand how it is possible to really get to know someone without being a lone at some point. That’s when you can truly share your heart and know that you can trust someone. For me, if someone is like “I can’t be alone with you” it immediately tells me that I can’t trust them. Yes, we need to have boundaries – but we need to learn how to have SELF CONTROL as well. We aren’t animals who have no control over these things. And I love what you said about how we shouldn’t see ourselves as sinners and weak, because it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. Christ has made us strong and he can help us resist temptation. 🙂

  6. I agree very much. While it is probably a wise idea to avoid EXCESSIVE alone time (again, depending on age/maturity, etc) it’s not some sort of forbidden thing that, if it happens, will ruin your relationship.

    I have seen both sides. Two young, strong Christians I am friends with, spent much time alone together when dating, and they slipped up. So did another couple that was even more mature and further along in their walk. Both couples are married now, have solid marriages, and have repented & restored their relationship with their partner, and most certainly with God.

    They take a similar stance – being alone isn’t wrong, but sometimes it is NOT wise. Especially if you feel you cannot stand strong on your boundaries, or if you are young & haven’t made the hard & fast choice/decision of no sex before marriage. Different strokes for different folks, really.

    I think this rule has 100% good intentions, and while I’m sure it did quite a few couples (especially the much younger ones) a lot of good, it’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades to deal with, just a matter of finding the right level for you & trusting yourself…

    **Kind of off topic, but did anyone ever have that friend that swore up down and sideways that they would not kiss (or even HOLD HANDS) until their wedding day? Like, the “you may kiss the bride” would be their first kiss? I don’t really get that… seems kind of extreme… to me, personally, anyway. I feel like that’s either 1) really commendable (that must take HUGE willpower) or 2) setting yourself up for failure (“oops, we kissed. May as well ride this train to the station!” kind of thing).

    • I do agree with you for the most part. I think public alone time is totally fine, like really as much as you need. It’s just more bedroom alone time that might not be a good idea. Those things are very different.

  7. I really like your point abour being mature in relationships and be strongs 🙂 And I love your blog (a friend send it to me and told me “it’s so cool!” 🙂
    I wait for the next posts from Spain

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