THE PHYSICAL STUFF
How far is too far? It’s a question that’s been asked as long as there has been dating. Especially for Christians, this question has caused a massive pile of debates, and probably more problems and frustration for young couples than any other dating question. Here’s the problem: it’s the wrong question! We want this really clear “you can do this and this, but not this” kind of answer. But, even if we had that answer straight from the Bible (we don’t, by the way), it would still create what is often created with that kind of rule…legalism. When it comes to physically expressing our feelings (like how I churched that up?), as soon as we set a clear boundary in place, we start trying to find ways around the rules or ways to flirt with just how close to the line we can get. "Well, we weren't technically doing ____, so it's fine, right?" Most of the time, wrong.
And here’s why this particular aspect of life is so much more prone to legalism and failure…we’re dealing with lust. Lust is never satisfied…ever! And so, wherever you and your significant other place that boundary, if you have already passed the point where your mind and body are on their way to doing more and more, you’re already hanging out in sinful territory. Also, because lust is never satisfied, your ability to stop before that line (or once you’ve reached it) is about as good as a snowball’s chance in the desert. This is why so many well-meaning Christian couples have a boundary somewhere, and are continually frustrated that they keep breaking their own rules and pushing things further than they wanted to.
So, I’m not going to give you a line – I don’t want to create the bar of legalism for you and your relationship. I will say that when my wife and I were dating and engaged, we had to set our boundaries well before lust would enter the picture. For us (and honestly, for most people) that line is probably WAY earlier on the “physical baseball diamond” than most people set their's. Honestly ask yourself, "at what point am I starting to lust, or to be driven to do more?" (and ladies, the honest truth is your guy’s lust threshold is going to start way sooner than you probably imagine) When does the heart-rate quicken, when do the palms go sweaty, when does your body start to respond physically to what’s going on? You need to back that line up before you ever get to that point!
And one bonus thought on this subject: choose the things you do together so that you’re set up for success in this area. Don’t make your dates or the times that you’re hanging out situations where you'll have easy opportunities to do stuff, where you have no expectation of being interrupted, don’t be snuggling under blankets…you get the idea. You can’t continue to hang out in places where it’s easy to push the boundaries, and then be surprised when you keep pushing the boundaries. Make part of your physical boundaries conversation deciding certain places and situations you won’t put yourselves in (hint: behind closed doors is usually a bad idea). So, read the following passages, and then have an honest conversation with God about where you should set those boundaries in your relationship. Then, it’s time to have a conversation with your boyfriend/girlfriend and make sure you’re both on the same page. Believe me, I’ve been there and I know it’s difficult…but trust me, it is possible, and it’s totally worth it!