Today I want to tackle the topic of setting boundaries in romantic relationships. Some us might have never heard of this before, but for some of us it may be something we have heard time and time again. Yet, many still don’t understand what this even means, or what it should look like.
Let’s start with a simple illustration:
A fence is used for many purposes. A fence might be used in a farm, or even someone’s back yard, to keep animals and children from wandering past what is safe and familiar. This fence can also keep out animals or other dangers lurking beyond. Essentially, the fence is a boundary to keep what’s good in, and keep the bad out.
That’s exactly what boundaries do. They are meant to protect, guard, and keep safe. Now, notice I said fence, not a brick wall (we will discuss that towards the end).
So, you ask, how does setting boundaries in my own life keep me safe?
Great question. Here’s what’s up. God does have a lot to say when it comes to finding a husband or a wife. Look at what Genesis 2:24 says;
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
This means that sex has been reserved for a married couple because it signifies the becoming of one. Sex is one of the very first boundaries that should be set in a romantic relationship. See, it is a powerful thing, and a dating relationship is not committed enough for something meant for marriage.
Now that we have that clear boundary in place, let’s go about other practical ways that we can set boundaries in relationships. Before dating, we must consider what boundaries we would like to set in pace. I encourage you to write these down and figure them out before dating. If you are already dating though, I encourage you to analyze if the boundaries that are currently in place are adequate.
The bible is very clear about reserving sex only for the covenant of marriage, yet, what about hugging, kissing, or even just holding hands? What about going on dates alone? These are boundaries that you must figure out with the Holy Spirit. Obviously, these type of things cause butterflies in our stomachs and we must be careful to not take things farther than they should go. Sex is not only reserved for a physical act, but even just looking at a man or woman with lust is considered sinful (Matthew 5:28).
Infatuation has a funny way of making us leave our brains at the door.
Pray and seek outside counsel about your relationship and what boundaries are appropriate for you. When one enters into a new romantic relationship, it’s important to be wise and encourage input from the most important people in our lives. Perhaps you might figure out that staying out late alone is leading to certain unnecessary temptations.
Also, holding hands is leading to other things such as inappropriate touching. If at any moment you begin to feel uncomfortable, even with something as simple as a peck in the lips, then maybe God is convicting you to set some stricter boundaries such as only kisses in the cheek or not kissing at all.
Trust me, God is always speaking to us about what will keep our hearts and minds safe, yet many times we reject His wisdom because it’s not what we want to hear. Maybe, certain people in your life might be pointing out character in flaws in a boyfriend that seems more than perfect. Take time to listen to these concerns that are probably coming from the people that love you the most. Maybe it’s time to step back from this relationship and set a time limit on how much time you spend together. This will allow you time to reflect and look from the outside in. You might be surprised what you find.
Please hear me out. I’m not expressing that we should become brick walls, rigid and overly strict. It’s completely normal to have a desire to date, but dating needs to have a purpose. As daughters of God, respectable young women, we must make that very clear to any young man wishing to pursue us. We are treasures, not trash. If someone wishes a deeper relationship with you, they must be willing to respect boundaries set in place for the protection of your heart.
God’s original design for romance has always been with the end result of marriage.
I hope that this article has made the topic of boundaries just a bit clearer. Ambiguity is never from God. He wants us to be sure of what we are looking for in a romantic relationship because we deserve that.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
With much love,
Carla, Co-Founder of Empowered Beauty
P.S. Be on the look out for more posts on dating and relationships!