Boundaries and dating

Our wedding took place just 14 months from the day we met, and that was almost 30 years, three kids, two dogs and three mortgages ago.I still have every precious card and letter we wrote to one another during that time.I remember constantly asking myself, “Does he really like me? ” I also remember reading and rereading every card to decipher any hidden encouragement that he might truly like me as much as I was growing to like him.In fact, now I can’t believe how obvious it was that he was falling in love with me. What I know now that I didn’t realize then was that I had set some pretty strong emotional boundaries in place.Timeliness is as important as integrity in a relationship (Prov. To respect timeliness in what you allow yourself to feel and how you express it does not devalue your emotions through suppression. Yet we often talk about sexual purity as putting our hearts in a cage only to be unlocked in on the wedding day.Rather, good timing honors the sanctity of romantic emotions and their rightful end (Song of Solomon 8:4). I fear what that view of sexuality would look like in marriage.They are lovingly arranged in chronological order and tucked away in a shoebox in our storage shed.

It isn't that popular Christian conceptions of dating boundaries are too big, but that their scope is too small. It will draw boundaries that reflect the full personhood of each individual by showing concern for every aspect of each individual—personal, emotional, moral, and sexual, to name only a few of those many interrelated aspects. Personal agency maintained by good boundaries furnishes romantic intimacy with meaning and substance.I was still a virgin technically, but I’d done almost everything a person can do before actually having sex.Through my next two relationships, I struggled through the same guilt, the same questions: How far was too far?A hand on the arm can be a welcome source of intimacy and comfort to one person, or a privacy violation to another.Communicating what we need is a way of protecting ourselves in relationships and protecting others from the pain of hurting us.It seemed like I was stuck in that cycle—until I met my husband, James. It was the beginning of the lifelong adventure of sex that we get to share with just each other And I am so thankful for that. I dated one truly wonderful guy—but he didn’t share my standards.

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