Dear Jenny, Thank you for your letter! It is so refreshing to hear from a woman who desires to honour God in every area of her life…including her love life.
Isn't love so exciting? Falling in love was something that I dreamed about as a little girl from the first time I heard about Cinderella and Prince Charming. But when I grew up I started to really ponder the whole concept of love, and it was then that I realized that God is a romantic. He has to be—He created love! He created the feelings that a man and a woman have when they begin to fall in love. He created the feelings that you feel when you and your boyfriend are together as well.
Being in love is not quite as easy as we once thought when we were little girls, is it? As Christians desiring to honour God we are called to live holy lives. “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you to be his children is holy” (1 Peter 1:15). Does this include our romantic relationships? You and I agree that it does! Doing the right thing is often not the easiest or most popular thing to do. The world we live in says that there are almost no rules or limitations, but they are needed if we desire to stay pure in our relationships.
In your letter you asked what a relationship between two Christians should look like. I believe that God's desire is for us to honour and respect the man that we are dating and treat him as a brother in Christ, for that is what he is. We desire our brothers in Christ to be godly men with pure hearts and minds, and that is the kind of men we want to marry! I applaud you for your decision to abstain from sex until marriage! What a gift you will be for your future husband!
There are many ways that we as girlfriends can help our boyfriends to keep pure minds. One is the way that we dress. We should dress in a way that helps our boyfriends and other Christian brothers to keep thinking purely.
There is a very romantic book in the Bible called Song of Solomon, where we find a key verse on the issue of romantic love. “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem…not to awaken love until the time is right” (Song of Solomon 2:7). The time that is right is in the sanctity of marriage, when a man and a woman commit to each other and vow to honour and cherish one another until death parts them. That is beautiful love, the way that God created it to be. Physical intimacy in marriage is beautiful and without shame.
So how do we stay pure in our romantic relationships? It is important to clarify that purity is much more than simply waiting until marriage to have sex. We need clear physical boundaries in our relationships if we are really serious about our desire to save ourselves for our future husbands. Boundaries such as choosing not to kiss lying down or touching each other inappropriately. These are things that tempt us toward sex. The world says that it's OK to do these types of things and still call yourself a virgin because you are still—technically speaking—a virgin. You may still be a virgin but purity is our goal! The word pure means untouched and unblemished. That is what we desire to be if our true longing is purity.
Jenny, I encourage you to pray about these things and ask God to show you what boundaries would be good for you and your boyfriend. Tell your boyfriend of your desire for purity in your relationship. Ask him if the two of you together can decide on some physical boundaries so that you may keep your relationship pure and honouring to God.
You are not alone! Every Christian that desires to have a God-honouring relationship has struggled with these same questions. The great thing about our God is that He gives us new beginning after new beginning. If you and your boyfriend have messed up in the past, you can start new today. If both of you are committed to honouring each other and God in the physical area of your relationships He will give you the strength to keep the boundaries that you commit to.
Thank you for sharing your heart, Jenny. I pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment as you consider these things.