By Liz Lampkin, Crosswalk.com
Dating is one of the best seasons in a persons’ life. It’s the time when you meet new and intriguing people. It’s the time when you take a chance at love. It’s the time when you learn new and exciting things about yourself and someone else. It’s also a time when sexual temptations can arise. While desiring sex is natural, controlling those desires can be a bit difficult if you’ve made a conscious decision to be sexually pure. There are so many suggested ways to maintain purity. Keep your mind pure, walk away from temptation, or just don’t date. While all of these tips are helpful, there are other practical ways singles can remain pure without sacrificing themselves and their dating life.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings about Sex
Let’s be honest. Christians do not like to openly discuss sex, let alone acknowledge their desires to engage in it. However, if your sincere desire is to remain chaste while dating, then it’s imperative to recognize or address your sexual desires as they come about. This can be done by doing the following:
- Have an honest dialogue with yourself. During this dialogue, admit your desire to have sex.
- After admission, dig deeper to find out why these desires exist. Ask yourself these questions; Am I in need of an intimate connection? If so, why? What is lacking in my life that I feel the need to fill the void with sex? What will I gain from a sexual experience? Is this person worth having this connection with? As you ask yourself each question, think deeply before you respond. Be completely open and honest with yourself.
- Once you’ve reflected on why your desires exist, pray and ask God to guide you in the way you should go in maintaining abstinence. Pour out your heart to Him. Let Him know your desires and humble, yet confidently ask for His love to help you control, not suppress, your desires. Ask Him to fill the voids within in order to navigate through your physical desires.
Often Christians are ashamed to admit their feelings about intimacy openly. This can stem from a lack of guidance about pre-marital sex in the church, from home, or even the school setting. Due to this lack of guidance, they suppress their feelings or attempt to pray them away. If you will have a successful dating journey in purity, you have to understand why you want to engage in intercourse and walk/pray your way through those desires. Suppressing them will only make things worse. Besides, if you can’t openly admit that you want to have sex, how can you engage in that level of intimacy with someone else? Learn to acknowledge and accept your feelings about sex. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Establish Healthy and Realistic Boundaries
To establish boundaries, you must first know what triggers your sexual desires. Once you own this knowledge, begin making a conscious list of things that may tempt you. As you create your list, make sure you are capable of committing to the things you’ve placed on it. It’s also wise to be sure your boundaries are realistic. For example, setting a limitation of only going on dates during the daytime is unrealistic. It also limits the time you spend with your partner. And let’s face it; just because you’re out during the daytime does not mean sexual urges won’t arise. Some suggested bounds could be limiting physical touch, planning public dates, and being comfortable with saying no to yourself and your partner. Let’s be honest, declining physical intimacy is not an easy task, but it can be done. Create your boundaries, make adjustments as needed and share them with your mate.
3. Have an Accountability Partner
Accountability is a crucial aspect of maintaining purity while dating. It is important to hold yourself accountable for the actions you take on this journey. However, it’s important to have someone who can help you on this path. An accountability partner will help you keep the commitment you’ve made to yourself. They will also encourage you during tough times without judging you. When selecting your accountability partner for this course, be sure of the following:
- Make sure they’re grounded spiritually, non-judgemental, and supportive/understanding your journey.
- Make sure they are someone who has your best interest at heart.
- They should be someone who has experience in abstaining from sex while dating.
- They should be someone who you can trust and who’s honest.
- They must be someone you can be open with.
- Pray and ask for guidance on who to select.
Choosing an accountability partner is about what or who works best for you. Everyone needs someone to help them achieve their goals in every aspect of their lives. Having a person by your side to hold you to your commitment will make navigating your choice easier.
4. Be Honest with Your Partner
Let’s face it. Everyone is not attempting purity while dating. If this is your goal, then you need to share this with the person you are dating exclusively. While this can be an uneasy conversation, you must have this discussion if you are sincere about this walk in abstinence. You can begin this chat using one of the following methods:
- Use conversation cards. You can create them or research them. Write them on small strips of paper, fold them and toss them in a hat/box. You and your mate can use these to break the ice to begin this discussion.
- You can openly and respectfully ask your mate their point of view on pre-marital sex. If they need clarity, you can ask them how important sex in a dating relationship is to them. Listen to their response with an open mind and respect their outlook. After hearing their response, you can tell them that you are refraining from sexual activities in your dating relationships. Once you’ve shared this, be prepared to thoroughly discuss your decision.
- If you find that these methods don’t work, you can boldly and courteously tell your partner about your decision at the beginning of your relationship.
Whatever method you decide to use, make sure you are ready to accept their reaction if they are not on the same path. You may also want to be prepared for the dynamics of the relationship to shift or end. Being honest with your partner about your choice will benefit both of you. It will let you know how sincere their intentions are with you, and it will stay focused on staying pure.
5. Date Someone on the Same Journey
Believe it or not, some people are openly and willingly abstaining from pre-marital sex. Make a conscious effort to date someone who’s striving to maintain purity. Being involved with someone on the same journey as you will make things slightly easier. They’ll understand your strengths and struggles. You can both keep each other accountable and pray for each other. A few other things you can do are:
- Establish boundaries together
- Plan dates/outings that aren’t so tempting
- Discuss your desires and why they exist
- Always communicate honestly with each other
Having a partner with the same goal can create a deeper bond and ultimately a stronger relationship.
6. Have the Right Focus and Be Clear on Your Reasons for Being Pure
There are so many reasons people choose abstinence. Maybe they want to cleanse their spirit, get closer to God, wait for marriage, or heal from past relationships. Before you can sincerely commit to maintaining purity while dating, you must be sure of your reasons. If you’re actively dating and inform your partner of your choice, they’ll want to know what brought you to this decision. When this happens, you want to be sure you can clearly verbalize your reasons and be confident in them. Not only this, but people will challenge or even criticize your decision, and you want to be sure you have a thorough understanding of your choice. If you find yourself questioning your decision, pray and ask God for clarity and guidance on remaining pure.
Dating in a world that encourages pre-marital sex can be difficult for anyone. However, as a child of The Most High, He has equipped you with everyone and everything you need to be steadfast and un-moveable in choices you make that will honor Him and the life He’s given you.
Author Liz Lampkin is an experienced writer, teacher, and speaker. She is an advocate for singles who encourages them to live their best life God’s way. Follow her on Instagram @Liz_Lampkin.