Call Me Old Fashioned
Call me old fashioned, but I love when my husband opens the door for me or gives me his jacket when I’m cold. To me, this signals his affection for me and a desire for my well being. He does it because it honors me and makes me feel special. Flowers are also a big hit with me. Leon can be a real charmer, and I soak it up like a plant soaks up water on a hot day.
Recently, I had the opportunity of watching the movie “Old Fashioned”. It’s about a couple that falls in love. During their courtship, Clay, the main character decides to set strict boundaries. He vows to not allow himself to be alone with his girlfriend in his apartment for absolutely any reason. As you can imagine, this creates many types of reactions from his friends and family. People might think of this as over cautious, but everybody is different and I admire when couples choose to abstain from sex. Whenever I see a movie like this one, I’m reminded of my courtship with Leon. When Leon and I started dating, we made the decision to abstain from having sex because we wanted to save this aspect of our relationship for our wedding night. We obviously wanted to spend time together and get to know each other, but not at the cost of our purity. A deeper friendship was the goal. It seemed appropriate to have family or friends around us, especially if we were at my parents house, which was the place we spent the most time together. We acted this way because we were taught these types of values from people in our lives. I believe God was also leading us. Because God was the center of our relationship, we had the conviction to wait to make love until our wedding night.
I’ve come to realize that we can draw much inspiration and guidance from the examples of the past and from couples in the present that live by what seems like old values. You might be asking yourself “What’s the big deal?” Why is it wrong or unhealthy to have premarital sex? Doesn’t sex before marriage produce intimacy and help couples understand compatibility? I can spend the night at my boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s house and nothing happens.
On one hand, the Bible says that sex causes "two people to become one." Therefore, it's more than just a physical act; it's also a spiritual encounter. -Mark 10:6-9. Really, sex is an expression of intimacy, not the means to intimacy. True intimacy is built on commitment, honesty, and love. Having sex is no guarantee that deep emotional intimacy will develop either. What about compatibility? Doesn't living together or sleeping over at your lover’s home help to determine compatibility? This view of choosing a partner emphasizes your partner’s performance, which will lead to your partner feeling threatened sometimes. There are more effective ways to determine compatibility with someone.
When you're considering a serious relationship or what I call dating with purpose, here are some topics that you can discuss related to sexual intimacy. Remember, God created sex for our enjoyment as part of the marriage relationship.
- Why is it important to spend time with friends and family or go on double dates?
- Shouldn't we just do what feels right? Why do we need to discuss sexual limits and boundaries?
- Staying the night or sleeping over can lead to tempting situations. Why do we need to set a reasonable time to leave and go home at the end of the evening?
- Are certain types of touching the same as sex?
The first thing to remember is that no sexual sin is beyond God's forgiveness. Thankfully, God doesn't withhold forgiveness or grace from those who ask for it. 1 John 1:9 promises that if you confess your sins, that He is faithful to forgive and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. This includes all sin. Psalm 103: 12 also states, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions [sins] from us."
With God’s help and the input of others, you can develop a dating plan that will preserve your purity and help you discover whether or not you’re compatible with the person you’re dating.