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When it comes to dating and morality, the most commonly asked question is, “How far is too far?” As a religion-spiritual person, you desire intimacy with God, but you also yearn for human intimacy as well. How do you balance the two?
The first thing to know is that it is not sinful to be sexually attracted to other people. Sexual intimacy is a great gift from God. You might think that if you try to be really holy, your desires will disappear. That is not true. In fact, the closer you get to God, the more you become who he made you to be as a man or woman. God’s plan isn’t to eliminate your sexual desire, but rather to perfect it into love. How does this take place, and how can you know where to set boundaries when it comes to affection?
There are two essential elements of love. The first is the desire for union. For people in love, that’s comes naturally. The second and more important element of love is the desire for what is best for the other, therefore when a man and a woman are united by true love, each one takes on the destiny, the future of the other, as his or her own. Such love elevates and intensifies the desire for unity so that the two want to be together not for just a night but for eternity. If a man craves unity with a woman, but he does not desire her salvation, it is not love. How to draw the line? Only date people who share your moral standards. If you don’t know a person’s values, then you don’t know him/her well enough to date him/her. Take your time building the foundation of a graced friendship, and only commit to someone who can be strong with you when you’re tempted. Also, don’t be afraid to discuss the importance of purity, even before the relationship begins. By persevering in purity, you’ll not only glorify God, you will increase your ability to love.
To remain pure, it’s best to avoid the situations and relationships in which you’re likely to sin. But how do you cool things off if you’re going too far? Some situations require you to stop the other person abruptly with your words and your actions. Sometimes a more subtle technique will work. For example, a dating couple could use a signal, such as a kiss on the forehead, to indicate to the other in an affectionate way that they need to stop.
A pure couple still desires to be close. But because of their standards, they choose to channel their powerful desires into creative ways of expressing love. As a result, their friendship and intimacy deepens and their relationship becomes stronger. They discover that purity isn’t just the absence of sex; it’s an expression of love. The exercise of maturity, patience, and sacrifice will prepare any couple for the challenges that await them in their future marriage plans.When our hearts are right with God, we are concerned with what is truly pure and with how we can glorify God with our bodies. We want every act of affection to reflect the fact that God is first in our lives. Until He is, we’ll have a terribly hard time discerning love from lust.
If you truly wish to know the will of God as it relates to purity, come to Him in prayer. He will tell you. Do not be afraid to meet Him in the silence of your interior life. The closer you get to God, the more perfectly you will be able to love your boyfriend or girlfriend. In prayer, you will learn that the purpose of chastity is not to isolate you from your partner, but to enable you to express the love of God to each other.
Yael VanGruber Counseling & Meditation Services
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Addison, Texas 75001
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