It seems to me that our Christian society can get so fixated on the “physical” aspects of intimacy, that we neglect the emotional and spiritual components that can be just as binding and just as devastating in the end.There is some deep power in , more power than we give it credit.If you’re like me, you cringe whenever you hear the phrase “guard your heart.” It’s a cliché in Christian circles that carries a great concept but comes with very little practical application in that no one really knows how to put it into practice.Matthew 7:6 warns, “Do not throw your pearls to pigs.Editor’s note: Emily is the author of The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years. Just so we’re clear right up front, I’m not saying everyone should make a hard-and-fast rule to never stay up late talking to their honey or not kiss a guy until they’ve got a ring on their finger.This Q&A is continued from last week’s discussion with Emily.) Chapter four, “Sex, Chastity & The Biological Clock,” is a big one – it covers so many key issues for single women. People know their own personal strengths and sources of temptation way better than I do.The goal should be safeguarding the gift, protecting it as much as possible until we can use the gift the way God designed it to be used. That’s because avoiding temptation is a lot easier than running from it.If you’re running from it, you’ve already seen it, and its power to stop you dead in your tracks is immense. If you don’t buy or bake any, you’re not going to blow your diet. If you don’t put yourself in situations that can easily lead to sins against chastity, you’re going to have an awful hard time sinning against chastity. The book just came out a few weeks ago, so thus far no one has rolled their eyes to my face.
Emotional boundaries can be difficult to establish.
You give clear-cut advice on physical parameters in a chaste relationship, and you write that “If you’re serious about embracing chastity, you have to become a bit of an old fuddy duddy.” You spell out situations to avoid: Drinking too much at parties, on dates, or during events out; talking too long and too late in the car; talking too long and too late anywhere; sleepovers; laying down together; kissing laying down; kissing sitting down; maybe even kissing standing up; not to mention kissing with any portion of your clothing removed. I’m just giving a list of situations that can become – or are – minefields for a couple trying to date chastely.
Now, a couple of those situations listed are “avoid at all cost” – drinking too much, clothes off.
Though I don’t claim to have all the answers, God really challenged my heart on this subject during my season of dating.
Reflecting on my dating history and on my clients’ experiences, I have found that couples who develop emotionally healthy relationships usually keep the following boundaries in mind.