Where are the limits?
We’ve often dreamt of going on holiday in the sun together. We’ve even booked the tickets, but then cancelled them.
We’ve known each other for several years, we were in the same class at Bible college and later on worked together in Christian youth work. When we started dating, there should have been a good foundation for a wonderful, problem-free relationship. We thought waiting to have sex until we were married wouldn’t be a problem. Well, it has been wonderful, but not problem-free …
‘People often ask us the question, “Where are your limits?”’
It may be high school students who ask, and sometimes it’s friends. This is a difficult question. It’s hard to keep to the limits when love between two people really sizzles. Lots of people have experienced these intense feelings of love: they are good, but they’re really powerful. These emotions have to be some of the craziest things God has created. Nevertheless, God-given limits should be a help for us, in the same way as we have boundaries around land, property and personal things we care about.
In addition, God has given us prayer and the Bible, where we find good advice and practical solutions to help us – if we use them. The framework we find in the Bible is good. A lot of people say, ‘Surely it’s OK now that we’re engaged?’. They think it is allowed because they’re engaged. But the Bible says something else. All sexual relations outside the framework of marriage are sin. The Bible is clear regarding sex between unmarried people. There is a scary phrase that’s used for this in the Bible: ‘sexual immorality’. A lot of people say they don’t find this anywhere in the Bible. We think this is a bit strange, as it is mentioned over fifty times in the New Testament alone. See Matthew 15:19–20; 1 Corinthians 7:2 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5.
‘We dreamt of going on holiday in the sun together.’
That’s why we didn’t want to live together before we got married. On reading the Bible we don’t feel that it puts sex in a bad light. In fact there’s lots written about it in the Bible, showing it is good and exciting, and there is a clear challenge to explore sex within the right framework. We can easily make it difficult for ourselves and do things that make it impossible to keep to the limits that are best for us. For example, we’ve often dreamt of going on holiday in the sun together. We’ve even booked the tickets, but then cancelled them. It might have worked out well. But we would (most probably) have returned home after falling into sin and we’d probably also have lost the boldness we have as Christians. This is perhaps different for others, but for us it would have been hard to resist the temptation. The warmth, the humidity, scanty clothing, sharing a room and a bed, a thousand kilometres away from friends and not least parents.
Of course, you don’t need to go on holiday in the sun to be tempted. We also feel the same where we live in Bergen, Norway. Especially when it’s way past midnight and the rain’s pouring down. The road home only takes five minutes to cycle, but it seems to take much longer. It’s just so tempting to stay the night. After all, we’re going to get married, aren’t we?
‘Have you ever met anyone who regretted waiting?’
It’s even worse when we’ve been apart for a long time. It’s at this point that we can tempt fate. Our bodies tingle with arousal and waiting seems impossible. At this point we need to have thought through things beforehand. We can’t just throw ourselves down on the sofa, tear off our clothes and stop just before any children are conceived …
Have you ever met anyone who regretted waiting? On the other hand, I’ve met a lot of people who regret notwaiting. The media-dominated society we live in tries to convince us of the opposite, but the media is silent about the responsibility we have when we do have sex – for example the chance of getting pregnant, with all the consequences and emotions that come with being parents. We don’t hear any objections to the use of the morning after pill either, or having an abortion – a solution that too many people choose, unfortunately.
‘God likes it when we ask His advice.’
Share what’s most important:prayer and the Bible. God has limitless resources to give you as an unmarried couple through your relationship with Him. You’ll perhaps notice that your conscience makes it hard to read the Bible when you do something that you know is against His will. Then perhaps you need a new start. Maybe there’s something you need to ask Him or each other for forgiveness for. At the same time, it can be good to talk to people you trust in a difficult time. It may be a friend, or an adult leader in Christian youth work where you live.
Here’s a final word of advice: Be an active couple. Get involved together, don’t just waste your time hanging around and hanging onto each other. This has been positive for us. Ask God to lead you. Let Him use you for a common purpose. God likes it when we ask His advice!
Published with permission from iTro.no