If you are a disciple of Jesus in a dating relationship, how much consideration do you give towards boundaries?
How do you stay pure during this season of dating?
The most important conversation for a couple progressing in their relationship to have is concerning how far is too far in their physical relationship. This conversation is the E.T.B. or the “Establish The Boundaries” talk. It is an awkward conversation, but it is necessary, and the talk must be specific.
Let me explain why this talk is so important. I will often talk with couples who are shameful of their dating relationship progressing too much sexually. We are wired to want physical progression in a relationship. If you experience any level of physical pleasure with someone, the next time you are together, you will expect what you experienced last time or something more.
If a couple never distinguishes how far too far is in their dating relationship, they will cross it every time they are together.
The scenario is repeated often in couples who are trying to follow Jesus. The Spirit of God convicts true believer, and they both feel shameful after the incident, but since they never talk about it, they keep messing up, and they keep progressively going too far.
A friend once got convicted concerning his physical relationship getting out of hand with his girlfriend. He finally initiated the E.T.B. conversation, and he was heartbroken to hear his girlfriend’s response. She was a fairly new Christian, and her boyfriend had been a Christian for many years.
When he told her his conviction, she responded, “I’ve thought what we were doing was wrong for a long time, but since I knew that you were closer to God than me, I figured I was just wrong because surely you would have stopped it if we were actually sinning.”
Ashamed and regretful, he continued the E.T.B. talk, and they got practical about establishing boundaries within their relationship. If you are in a relationship, you need to initiate the E.T.B. talk.
The awkwardness is not nearly as uncomfortable as the regret associated with continually indulging in sin.
Get specific about what is off limits. You probably need to set up parameters concerning how much kissing and cuddling you can do with each other. Many couples struggle
Flee Even the Appearance of Evil
Many of you need to consider that you are also to flee from the very appearance of evil (1 Th. 5:22). Not only are you not to sin, but you shouldn’t appear to be sinning. If your girlfriend sleeps on your couch when she comes to visit you, what is causing your neighbors to think you aren’t sleeping with her? Why would they think otherwise? If you watch movies in your apartment together late at night with the lights off, what is keeping people who are looking for an excuse not to follow Christ to find a great excuse in your appearance of evil?
I know it’s hard, and you want to hang out with one another. People are going to think what they want to, but you don’t have to help them think even worse things.
You have to decide which is more important to you: a passing moment of comfort or the expansion of the Kingdom of God around you?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.