Today I’m answering questions that are often asked anonymously. These questions are about physical boundaries. I’ll discuss how far is too far, setting boundaries, cuddling, forgiveness, and sex.
If you have any other questions about Biblical dating that were not discussed, ask them below in the comment section. I will try my best to answer them.
I hope you are enjoying this series and learning a lot about dating. I’m praying for you friends!
How far is too far?
“If faith is about an intimate connection with God, then the idea is not to see how close to the line you can get but rather to see how close you can get to God.” Thus, we shouldn’t be asking how far is too far, but rather should ask how can we become more like God.
To help us further understand this point, I want to look to scripture. The Bible tells us that our bodies are God’s temples. When you become a Christian the Holy Spirit becomes indwelled inside of you. Because of this, when you sin sexually – you sin against God’s temple. 1 Corinthian 6 explains this perfectly. “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” (1 Corinthian 6:13b-15).
When you sin sexually, you are making God’s temple into a prostitute. This may sound harsh, but sexual sin is a serious issue.
God doesn’t want you to see how close to the line you can get. God wants you to flee.
Who sets the physical boundaries in a dating relationship? And when do we set them?
Bring this up and the earlier the better.
I was dating a guy who said he was a Christian, but before we were official we held hands, cuddled, and made out. Each time I had to be the one to pull away and stop. I know kissing involves two people, but he didn’t seem to care about protecting my heart or having physical boundaries. After we had messed up, I told him that we needed to set boundaries. We could have avoided this confusion if we would have set boundaries day one. I’m not saying kissing is a sin. Every person and situation is different. I just felt that in our specific situation, we were going to fast and too far too soon.
It is crazy how God completely changes your heart. In high school, I could have made out with a stranger and not felt guilty. My thought was I’m still a “good” Christian girl because I wasn’t having sex. Now, after giving my life to God and walking with the Holy Spirit, I want to obey God physically. Honestly, I never thought that day would come. But during my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, the Holy Spirit convicted my heart every time we went too far physically. I now desired purity. I wanted to obey God. The guy just didn’t have the same conviction.
I know he loved God, but I don’t think his desire to pursue purity was as big as my desire. Since I know that I could easily slip back into sexual sin, I had to break up with my boyfriend.
The Bible helps us answer this question the best. In the book of Solomon, Solomon’s wife describes their relationship, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me! I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” (Solomon 2:6-7). We can’t awaken love before marriage.
It is never too late to have a talk about boundaries or change your boundaries. If the Holy Spirit is convicting you about something, you have to listen.
Can Christians hug and cuddle with their boyfriends?
This question does not have a simple yes or no answer. It includes multiple follow up questions. First, answer these questions: How long have you been dating? Does hugging and cuddling lead to temptation to go further sexually? What type of hugging and cuddling? There is a difference between an innocent hug goodbye and an intense cuddle session. Answer these questions and then talk to a spiritual leader in your life who knows you well. She can help you begin to draw a line.
Secondly, set boundaries. To help determine if hugging and cuddling will tempt you, it is important to examine both of your pasts. God has forgiven your pasts, so I am not trying to bring back guilt. And I am not saying examine your past together. (Do this separately.) But if you have a past full of sexual experiences, a long intimate hug could cause you to stumble. If your boyfriend is following Jesus, he will want to protect your heart and purity. Share together what causes you to stumble. You can do this without sharing details of your past that don’t need to be shared yet.
Finally, (and most importantly) ask yourself: Does this honor God? (Romans 8:7-8). Does it build the other up spiritually? Does it bring God glory? (1 Corinthians 6:20). Does it reflect absolute purity? Was there even a hint of sexual immorality? (Ephesians 5:3-5).
If you are walking with God, living by the power of the Holy Spirit, and working through all the questions above, I believe you will know if you and your boyfriend can hug and cuddle and to what extent. Remember, pleasing God is way more important that pleasing your flesh.
What happens when we break our boundaries? And how many chances should you give him?
In my previous dating situation, I was the one who realized and said that the boundaries were crossed every time. RED FLAG. If you are the only one who cares about the boundaries, you have a problem.
Keep in mind, we are humans. We will sin and mess up. No one and no relationship is perfect. But this answer is coming from the dating perspective, not marriage. If your boyfriend keeps crossing the line and pushing boundaries and not seeming to care – RED FLAG.
You want to set boundaries together and you want to both constantly fight for them. One of you may occasionally slip up. But you have to both want purity and want to fight for it. If one doesn’t want to fight as hard, he/she will pull down the other.
God cares about your purity and wants you to flee from temptations.
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body,” (1 Corinthian 6:18-20).
Can we have sex if I know we will get married?
No. The Bible tells us to not have sex until your wedding night. If you are not married yet, sex will hurt your relationship and your discernment process for marriage. Premarital sex will hurt the marriage, not help it.
When sex enters a relationship confusion and expectations are changed – regret, shame, and self blame enter the relationship.
I know you may think this is okay because you want to get married and may even be engaged, but I would urge you to wait. God knows what is best for you and longs to protect your heart.
Here are the questions from the other dating posts! Click for the answer:
- When getting to know a guy, can you hang out alone?
- How do you get to know a person without being too honest or too vulnerable?
- How do you know if he is authentically following Jesus or just putting on a show?
- Should you date someone who doesn’t put Christ first?
- How do you know if he will be a spiritual leader?
- What if you miss out on something good if you don’t date him?
- How do I make sure Jesus stays my #1 priority in a relationship?
- How do I know when the relationship becomes unhealthy or an idol?
- What makes a red flag big enough to break up?
- How can I date someone when he has a past of sexual sin and I do not or vice verse?
- What happens if you believe, “If I break up with him I’ll forever be single again?”
- Should we still date if we aren’t going to get married?
Sign up here for the monthly newsletter so you can stay connected! —->>> Sign up today!
11 Comments on Physical Boundaries FAQs – Biblical Dating Series (Part 3)
3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Physical Boundaries FAQs – Biblical Dating Series (Part 3)
[…] a dating relationship Instead of asking how far is too far, ask how can my relationship honor God. (How far is too far in a biblical dating relationship?) Joseph did not see how far he could take this relationship with his master’s wife. He made no […]
[…] Physical Boundaries FAQ | Joy Skarka […]
[…] know that the Bible doesn’t specifically address ‘how far is too far’, however it is clear that we are to flee sexual […]
Jasmineat (7 years ago)
*sigh* now this cuts like a knife… I was that girl too. I literally could have written what you did… only I did not end it where I knew it should have. I wish I had given him only 2-3 chances. It ended when he almost raped me, thankfully when I begged he listened that time. I am now completely traumatised. I’ve come a long way since then (it made me realise I needed Jesus more) but I don’t know how to heal any more. I’m scared.
joypedrowat (7 years ago)
Hi Jasmine, thanks for sharing that with me! I’m so thankful you got out of that situation. Are you a part of a Christian community? That is a great way to start finding healing. It will take time, so don’t get down on yourself if it doesn’t happen quickly. God will redeem you and bring you healing to your life. He alone can satisfy your desire to be fully loved and known.
Jasmineat (7 years ago)
Hi Joy, wow any believe it’s been a month since I wrote this. Yes, I am part of a great church and they (esp the pastor and his wife) have been so good to me during this time, listening, giving support and biblical advice, praying with and for me, talking to him (he used to go the same church as me until about 3 weeks ago) and protecting me, which I’m grateful for. I guess healing is slow and I keep having to remind myself to have patience. This last month a lot has shifted towards the better, not least of all because he left the church (I shouldn’t really be glad about that, but it’s such a relief not to have to see him twice a week!) I seem to have turned a corner and feel much more healed and much more hopeful than I did… praise Jesus! Thank you. X
joypedrowat (7 years ago)
Hi Jasmine! What good news – praise God! Thanks for coming back on and sharing that with me. I’m so glad you have people in your life to come along side you and help you find healing. Healing is a long and slow process – so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen as quickly as you would like. Blessings, Joy
Meganat (6 years ago)
I and my boyfriend have been together for over three years now, and we are having some sexual issues. We started out the first year not having any relations, but the second year we fell to temptation. We are both Christians and strive to be good people and follow the Lord. Though, for the past two years we have just been doing sexual things other than sex and I feel like I am falling down a pit. Before I met him I had just renewed my life and rededicated my life to the Lord because I fell into serious sexualidad sin. After that I felt new and revived. But now, I feel sinful and dirty. He honestly thinks that the Bible does not outline the fact that sexual acts are sinful and out of the will of God. We both agree that sex should wait until marriage, and that fact and decision will remain the same. We are both virgins still, and will stay that way until our wedding night a handful of years from now. We just are REALLY having some issues because we think opposite about other sexual acts and whether they are actually right for us to do. I have been trying to find answers everywhere, and by far this blog is the most real and accurate. I would really appreciate your advice a little on this if you wouldn’t mind.
joypedrowat (6 years ago)
Hi Megan, so glad you reached out! It is very important to talk about this with your boyfriend and to make sure you are following the same rules. No matter if one of you wants to go further than the other, you have to respect the one who doesn’t want to go as far. There are a lot of good books out there than talk about this, have you read any? I think the biggest thing is to communicate how you feel with him. You guys can’t push each others boundaries and make the other uncomfortable. That is not good for the relationship and doesn’t bring God glory. We want to glorify God in all we do, including purity in dating.
Parkerat (4 years ago)
Hello, good article. In your section, “WHO SETS THE PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES IN A DATING RELATIONSHIP? AND WHEN DO WE SET THEM?” you said for when, “Bring this up and the earlier the better.” however, this is not very specific. Can you tell me which date number you should talk about setting physical boundaries? Is date 2, 3, 4, or 5? I have heard advice not to talk about it right away on date one to prevent other person from feeling awkward since it is the first time meeting you. Which date number should this be discussed? Thanks.
joypedrowat (3 years ago)
Hi Parker, great questions. But I think it is different for everyone. I don’t think it needs to happen on date one like you said, or possibly 2 or 3. But it also depends on your history. Pray about it. Talk about it with your close friends.