Family, Friendship, Issue 49

Dear Kallos: How can my boyfriend and I be “pure” before marriage?

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Dear Kallos: How can my boyfriend and I be “pure” before marriage?

My boyfriend and I believe in having sex only after marriage but recently began touching each other’s bodies intimately. I am quite insecure and gave in to temptation often so I could feel “wanted.” I feel that our actions aren’t healthy nor holy, but I don’t really understand why, since we aren’t technically having sex. What does the Bible say about how to behave in a romantic relationship, and what is “pure” before marriage? - Strong-wannabe

dear Strong-wannabe,

Your desire to become a strong woman of God is so precious; don’t ever give that up! It’s clear that you want Christ to be at the centre of your relationship. This includes following what the Bible teaches about healthy and holy behaviour, even when it might not be what either of you prefer at the moment. I’m glad to hear you and your boyfriend share the same commitment to only having sex after marriage. But let’s take a step back and ask what makes this a good commitment and how exactly it is meant to be kept.

What is called “sexual immorality” or “fornication” in the Bible is basically sex with someone you not married to (Heb 13:4). By committing to only having sex after marriage, you are staying away from sexual sin (Song 2:7). Warnings against sin are always for our own good — when sex becomes the basis for a relationship, it can stifle its development and hide important issues. And if you have sinned — remember that it is not you but Jesus who makes you right before God when you ask for his forgiveness.

Does no sex before marriage really mean no sexual intercourse only? What about everything that comes just before crossing that line — touching private parts or other actions that intentionally arouse the other? Sexual activity takes many forms. Did you know that when the Bible teaches about holiness in sexual matters, it doesn’t just talk about guarding your own body (1 Cor 6:18–20), but also helping the other person to lead a holy life (1 Thess 4:1–8)?

Sexual holiness is not just about what you don’t do, but what you do to help each other keep right before God. So, it’s not enough to just keep clear of that line. Your instinct about whether a particular action is healthy or holy should be a good indication of whether you and your boyfriend should stop doing it. Talk about the help you need from each other. For example, if one person is aroused by the other’s hugs, then not hugging may be the way to go. It isn’t about being legalistic or forbidding all physical contact, but understanding and honouring each other, and ultimately God, with your intentions and actions.

I hear your fears of not being desirable to your boyfriend. But may I ask if you would want to be with someone who would put his own desires above you and God? Perhaps what your boyfriend needs is a firmer stand from you, but I urge you first of all to find security in how deeply precious you are to God! No one else can ever be you and you are worth more than you can ever imagine. Don’t believe lies about yourself, but rather soak yourself in God’s Word and let His love define you.

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