Keeping each other’s best interests in mind also includes a large measure of respect. Having love enough to marry someone, yet enough respect for them, their purity, and their well-being to keep some distance until the time is right and all green lights have been cleared. Love and respect go hand in hand.
Respect also applies toward the young person’s family and potential in-laws. If either young person cannot respect the other’s family, that is a definite caution. Anything that could cause friction between a child and his/her parents or siblings should be carefully examined. This is not necessarily a deal breaker, but it is definitely something that must be considered prayerfully and with open communication as to why there is an issue.
Some personal soul-searching must also be done to see if pride or emotions are prohibiting the one in the relationship from seeing what others see. If God is not allowed to work in this area to resolve and deal with the problem, there will be relationship problems down the road. Humility is a key factor in all relationships, as pride leads a person to claim what is not his as a right instead of a privilege.
The emotions, thoughts, and bodies of the people in a romantic relationship do not belong to each other. Purity is often thought to merely be sexual, regarding bodies. It is not. Webster’s Dictionary defines purity as: freedom from what weakens or pollutes;containing nothing that does not properly belong; freedom from moral fault or guilt;marked by chastity.
“Moral fault or guilt” assumes a moral standard, which can only come from God and His Word. If the relationship does not align with what God says about marriage and even platonic relationships, then it is not pure.
“Containing nothing that does not properly belong” means that if you have something or have something in you that does not belong to you, you are not pure.
“Freedom from what weakens or pollutes” refers to not doing things that tempt or weaken the conscience.
Chastity is another misunderstood term. Chastity is defined as: abstention from all sexual intercourse; purity in conduct and intention; and personal integrity.
“Personal integrity” is often forgotten in a relationship, if for no other reason than because the relationship is based on what the people involved want. She wants love, he wants respect. She wants comfort, he wants control. All selfish problems must be addressed by God before someone can be in a truly healthy and chaste relationship.
“Purity in conduct and intention” keeps lust from being a factor and brings us back to purity.
“Abstention from all sexual intercourse” is often stated but, again, is misunderstood. Sexual intercourse means more than just sleeping together. A kiss, no matter how “innocent”, is a sexual act. These definitions raise the bar much higher than most people want to raise it.
We got very technical with definitions today, but in our day and age, it’s necessary for knowing where to draw the lines. Next week is the conclusion of our series on dating and courtship principles. We hope you’ll join us!
*Note: A full bibliography from this series will be released at the end of the series. Any statistics, articles, books, or websites will be included.
*DISCLAIMER: In light of the controversy over Joshua Harris’ book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” I considered removing it from this series. However, during the time that he wrote it, he was seeking the Lord and His will for Christian romance. It is for that reason that I decided to retain his quotes. I do not agree with his recent choices and apostasy from the faith.