If you are committed to a relationship with a growing Christian, formulate a plan to prevent falling back into premarital intimacy. Be radical—do whatever it takes to guard your sexual purity.
In Matthew -30, Jesus tells His listeners to do whatever is necessary to deal with temptation. Rehearse in advance the devastating consequences of sexual sin and you’ll be less likely to commit it.
Lately, I’ve also started facing the ways in which the teachings of “emotional purity,” (a la Josh Harris, the Ludys, and others) have damaged the part of my brain that makes healthy relationships function. You are considered damaged goods if you have fallen in love and had your heart broken. I remember watching a video in which one of the biggest names in the courtship movement bragged with obvious arrogance that he didn’t tell his wife he loved her until their wedding. We took something as simple as saying ‘I love you,’ built a straw man rule around it (‘saying I love you is defrauding’), then hung it like a trophy on our walls.” Job well done, folks. They create skewed views of relationships which lead to dysfunction. Where others see nothing wrong, I am suspicious of every look, every situation, every witty exchange. I feel ill at ease sometimes even talking to other men. I’m really good at pushing those feelings away and acting “normal.” But I am bothered by my reaction to everyday situations.
I define “emotional purity” in the same way that popular homeschool writers have: it is the idea of “guarding your heart.” This sounds all noble and righteous and everything but in this context is really just a facade for fear. It was Josh Harris in and the Ludy’s in several of their books that popularized the idea that everytime you fall in love or get “emotionally attached” to someone, you give away a piece of your heart. Pride because suddenly you are better than everyone else. I am still uncomfortable hugging one of my best friends who is a guy because we were taught never to hug or have physical contact, even innocent, with a guy. We were taught never ever ever to be alone with a guy because it could look bad.
You as an individual are fully responsible and accountable to God for what you do (Romans -12; 2 Corinthians ). Make your moral decisions in advance—not in the time of temptation.
If it’s left to your feelings in the moment of truth, you’ll make the wrong decision.
When the attacks come—and they will—be ready to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians ). Don’t do anything with your date you wouldn’t want someone else doing with your future mate.
Somewhere out there is the man or woman you’re going to marry.
What do you want them to be doing now with someone else?
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke ). Look out for the “moral wear down” of long dating relationships and long engagements.
It’s easy to wear down in the battle for sexual purity, to begin to rationalize that you’re really a couple.
Don’t get engaged until you can put the wedding in sight.
(What follows is an abridged version of “Guidelines for Protecting Purity in Dating,” available at “Guidelines for Sexual Purity.”) 2. A rule of thumb is, don’t do anything physically you wouldn’t do with your brother or sister.