Dating as a Christian comes with its own set of guidelines and standards. Scripture teaches us that the union of two individuals in a sexually active relationship holds the same weight as marriage itself. It’s a bond that intertwines two souls, intertwining their physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual beings. However, when physical intimacy is experienced outside of a committed relationship, it can leave us broken and hurting. God designed physical intimacy to be a sacred act reserved for permanent relationships, where two individuals are deeply connected on all levels. So, how do we navigate the boundaries of physicality before marriage while honoring God’s intentions?
Honoring God with Our Bodies
Paul reminds us of the importance of honoring God with our bodies. Our physical selves are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we should treat them with the utmost respect (1 Corinthians 6:20). When engaging in physical intimacy, it’s vital to listen to our conscience and consider whether our actions align with God’s desires for us. If doubts or concerns arise, discussing these thoughts with our partner becomes crucial.
Recognizing the Trajectory
A healthy and thriving marriage encompasses various forms of intimacy: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical. These different aspects of intimacy should be cultivated and emphasized in a serious relationship. Although physical intimacy tends to take the spotlight, neglecting the growth of the other areas can hinder the development of a strong and lasting marriage. Instead of solely focusing on pushing physical boundaries, intentionally invest in cultivating other forms of intimacy.
Understanding our Fleshly Weakness
Our bodies were designed to crave physical intimacy, making it challenging to resist temptation. Jesus reminds us of the weakness of our flesh and the need to be watchful and prayerful (Mark 14:38). By having open conversations with our partner and setting clear boundaries, we can protect ourselves from falling into sin. Establishing guidelines and making a committed decision together helps maintain trust and supports our struggle against temptation.
Fleeing Sexual Temptation
Rather than flirting with temptation, we should actively distance ourselves from it. The Bible urges us to flee from sexual temptation and remove ourselves from situations that may lead us astray (1 Corinthians 6:18). It’s essential to avoid placing ourselves in compromising positions that challenge our self-control. By choosing to separate ourselves from tempting situations, we safeguard our hearts and minds.
Allowing Love to Awaken at the Right Time
The Song of Songs, a beautiful book in the Bible, illustrates the joy of sexual union. However, it also reminds us not to awaken love before its time. Rushing into physical intimacy too quickly can be harmful to a relationship. While cultivating intimacy in other areas, such as spiritual, emotional, and intellectual connections, we can enjoy the bliss of holding hands and sharing tender kisses without arousing desires that cannot yet be fulfilled. Nurturing these aspects of intimacy strengthens the foundation of our relationship.
Supporting One Another
When it comes to physical intimacy, each individual may have their own boundaries and comfort levels. It is crucial to respect and support one another’s convictions (1 Corinthians 8:11-12). Rather than pressuring someone to compromise their beliefs, we should encourage and uplift one another. In a relationship centered on respect and understanding, faith should be strengthened, not challenged. Building a foundation of mutual respect ensures that our consciences remain clear and our moral compasses intact.
Intimacy in Christian dating goes beyond physical connection. It encompasses a deep connection on all levels. By understanding God’s design for intimacy and setting healthy boundaries, we can cultivate relationships that honor Him and lay a strong foundation for an enduring and joyful marriage. Remember, true intimacy flourishes when built on love, respect, and a shared commitment to honor God with our bodies.