02 May 2012

Courtship No. 3 -Drawing Lines

One of the best things you can do, preferably right at the beginning of a relationship is draw clear lines so that nothing is blurred. It must be clear in both your minds what you can and cannot do. It must also be clear what things, while not necessarily sinful, make either of you uncomfortable.

Physical Boundaries

It is a given that people in courtship cannot do everything married people do. The two relationships differ. It is important for a couple to discuss what, with the guidance of scripture, they can and cannot do. After that is settled, they can discuss things that while they do not go against scripture, would still make them uncomfortable.

This is important because first of all, it prevents either mate making the other uncomfortable or put off by an action that either is not biblical or offensive. If everything is clear, this problem is not likely to occur. The other reason is that as a relationship progresses, familiarity increases with it. It therefore becomes easier do certain things and to cross boundaries that you would have found uncomfortable or even unthinkable in the beginning. Discussing physical boundaries, prevents this.

Granted, certain cultures are more liberal than others. My culture is certainly on the conservative side. I recall being told that someone found it stumbling that I held hands with my girlfriend. However, even in a liberal culture, certain things are limited to the marriage relationship, the obvious one being sex.

The Parent Rule

Its hard to say definitely what can and cannot be done though certain principles can be followed. The first being of course that what is forbidden in scripture must not be done. And secondly, what makes you uncomfortable must also be avoided.

Other than those two, personally, I let myself be governed by a simple rule. I will not do anything to or with my girlfriend that I wouldn't do in front of her parents. I think that rule is very good because it brings honour and respect to her parents. It takes a level of trust to allow ones daughter to start seeing a young man. The young man must be careful not to betray that trust even if something is OK or maybe even desired by the girl. This rule eliminates the cultural factor. Your liberties with your girlfriend or boyfriend are then dictated by the parents.

What if the parents don't mind or even encourage something that makes you uncomfortable or is not biblical? Well, the bible must be ones final authority. And if something is not forbidden yet still makes you uncomfortable, it must certainly be avoided. It is better to error towards the conservative extreme than the liberal. It is better to say, "We missed out on doing this," than, "We regret that we did that."