Relationships Pt. 2
Welcome back to my "All things Relationships Blog" post. If you clicked on this link and haven't read part 1 just yet, please scroll down and read, then re visit this post.
This Blog post discusses:
The word “sex” means different things to different people.. In today’s vernacular, sex may mean vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex, or mutual masturbation.
Quick thoughts about sexual intimacy
Sexual intimacy is difficult to understand before experiencing its power. Some points to consider include the following:
Intimacy can progress quickly.
Intimacy must be controlled by putting up boundaries beforehand such as not being alone with someone, not staying out too late, not dating one-on-one until older.
The use of alcohol and drugs eliminates most people’s ability to say “no.”
Sexual intimacy is the greatest treasure a person can give to another. Does this person measure up to the gift? Has he or she proven himself or herself worthy of such an intimate and wondrous giving of self?
A few thoughts from God
The Bible states repeatedly that sex outside one-man-one-woman marriage is dangerous and unacceptable. But more than that, the Bible describes marital love as an ecstatic, mind-boggling mystery so profound that it is an image of the love that exists among the Trinity.
We often hear of the biblical forbiddens, but they rarely hear of the wondrous nature of human love in God’s divine plan. Sex is one of God’s greatest gifts. Enjoyed in its appropriate setting, sex bonds a married couple together emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
Genesis 1:27-28 — God created male and female.
Genesis 2:18-25 — 1) God created man and woman. 2) God created marriages as the way for a man and woman to become one emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
Matthew 15:19 — 1) Entertaining evil thoughts about things such as murder, adultery, fornication, stealing, bearing false witness and blaspheming is as bad as actually carrying out the sin. 2) Fornication means sexual activity between unmarried partners.
The Song of Solomon intimately portrays the love between a husband and wife. It also pictures Christ’s relationship to the Church: Christ describes Himself as the groom and His Church as the bride. Just as we as Christians are to only worship God, so are husbands and wives to be exclusive in their intimacy.
Why is it a sin to have sex before marriage?
In a Nut Shell
What is written about sex before marriage in the Bible comes predominantly from the book of 1 Corinthians, written by Paul. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
All it takes is a harmless peek on a screen and suddenly you find yourself drawn to pornography. Or a little flirting leads to an emotional affair that comes dangerously close to a physical encounter.
Sexual temptation is all around us and we are encouraged to give in and experiment. However, the Bible is clear on reserving sex for marriage and keeping ourselves pure. The fall out of casual sex and infidelity is significant and ruins relationships. So from a Christian perspective, what works to overcome temptation?
First be encouraged by this scripture which tells us we can overcome temptation with God’s Help.
1. Find out what pleases the Lord. This is a command straight out of Ephesians 5:10, and is part of what it means to live a life worthy of our calling as Christians, and part of what it means to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.
2. The battle begins in the mind. You need to know what God says about sex and trust what God says about sex. You need to be careful what you fill your minds with. Imagination is often the hot-bed where sin is hatched.
3. Pray (It is a spiritual battle too). Depend on God, on the power of His Holy Spirit to strengthen you in this battle. (Matthew 6:13; 2 Timothy 2:22; James 5:16)
4. Don't put yourself in situations where you will be easily tempted. There is little point praying that God would not lead you into temptation, then walking straight into a tempting situation.
5. Talk about sex (accountability). You can't fight this alone. You need God's help and you need help from God's people too.
6. Weariness and sadness often leads to sin. Learn to know yourself. Know when you are weak and susceptible to temptation.
7. Trust God, not yourself, to help you. The greatest risk to falling into temptation is thinking that you alone can handle it. Distrust yourself and trust God. Dependence on Him and not self is the key to overcoming.
Before getting into this topic, the term boundary first needs to be discussed. Many assume boundaries are unloving defenses intended to create distance rather than relationship. In reality, boundaries aren’t as much about keeping others out as keeping yourself in. The whole point of having boundaries is so that we can contain ourselves within the parameters of where I stop and others begin.” It’s really not about keeping others out, as much as it is about defining who you are and what you think.
You can choose to think about boundaries as barricades and fortifications keeping others out, and maybe that’s how some people use boundaries in an unhealthy manner. Many Christians seem to have adopted the idea that boundaries are inherently negative.
What does the Bible say about personal boundaries?
While many Christians are quick to point to verses about love, sacrifice, and being self-less in defense of their boundary less lives, they choose to skip over a whole heap of verses that teach Christians to practice discernment when it comes to their personal life. Boundaries need to exist in relationships for love to be true, genuine, and purely motivated. (Please ponder on that statement)
If someone comes up talking foolishness (gossip, slander, lies, arrogance, vulgarity, i.e.), you are not obligated to engage them. You don’t have to feel guilty for choosing to hold up a boundary and not give them your attention, especially if it is going to negatively affect you. The Bible actually says this type of behavior can help protect you from becoming a fool yourself.
Furthermore, Jesus was known for setting boundaries. He would regularly take time away from people, even when they were looking for him, to go and be alone with the Father. If he felt the need to live into everyone’s expectation of him, he would never have had time to be alone with God.
A lack of boundaries can create significant issues because, without them, you can lose a definite sense of who you are. The goal of any relationship isn’t to become completely absorbed into another, abandoning your individual sense of self. That’s what living without boundaries actually does.
Losing your personal identity, feelings, and dreams are seen as closeness. Giving up your ability to choose is perceived as love. Sadly, many have lost sight of what love really is and instead have become satisfied with codependency in exchange for true intimacy.
How can you set boundaries while dating/Courting?
Clarify Your Communication Styles.
Share Your Personal Space Requirements.
Get On The Same Page About Future Dates.
Be Clear About Commitment And What You Want.
Know Where You Stand On Physical Intimacy.
Here are some Red flags to look out for as it relates to dating/courting relationships
Lack of communication
Withdrawal from important discussions and confrontations
Pressure to indulge in activities against your will eg. (alcohol, sexual intercourse)
Lack of interest in Spiritual Growth
Possessive, Envious, Controlling
A high sense or Pride and ego
The resistance to apologize and forgive
I hope this 5 min read was knowledgeable on the sub topics mentioned above. Feel free to take a note pad and write down pointers as it can help you develop healthy friendships and relationships moving forward.
Stay tuned for Relationships Pt.3 in the coming week as I engage with others in discussions on these topics and more.