Appropriate Intimacy in Dating | Religious Institute
Thank you for your question. It's a tough one because the Bible isn't very specific on intimacy while dating. As a result, I can be neither too. My last article, “Biblical Dating: Navigating the Early Stages of a a level of emotional (or certainly physical) intimacy that would imply marriage. Intimacy includes emotional and spiritual connectedness as well as physical connection. Dating couples grow more and more intimate as they become more.
Marriages were arranged by fathers; and great importance was placed on family lines, histories, and dowries.
Few in modern culture would care to return to the marriage system of ancient civilization. Yet our modern system is not without flaw.
The moral erosion of our culture has encouraged people to place an over-emphasis on physical attributes, appearance, and sexual attraction.
This has occurred to the neglect of focusing on important qualities such as integrity, purity, and commitment; all of which are needed to sustain a marriage and family.
Because dating and courtship did not exist then, neither Jesus, His disciples nor the authors of Scripture were led to specifically address these modern practices. However Scripture is full of stories and truths that declare the need for sexual purity and self control.
After the creation of mankind, God identified His creation as male and female with the capacity and basic need to unite, become one flesh Genesis 2: But you have to be careful of the time you spend alone as it is very easy to reach a point of no return.
When a woman is being kissed, her resistance is limited, then it will become difficult for the man to hold back. Don't lean to the edge; know your breaking point and have a balance system. Intimacy is a vital part of a relationship where marriage is being considered.
For the Christian, what about intimacy before marriage?
The issue at hand therefore is, 'Are there ways of expressing this 'intimacy' before the covenant of marriage which we would advise against? We believe that certain expressions of intimacy are best shared within the context of a covenantal relationship that speaks to permanence, commitment and exclusivity. While we have been vocal on the issue of the 'physical' especially as it manifests itself in sexual intercourse, we may want to consider that other expressions of intimacy could well be cautioned against, including, for example, intimate social, financial, business arrangements which are entered into expressly because there is an expectation of marriage.
As it relates to the physical, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold up the notion of abstinence and not only among the young, due to the increasing 'vagina-centricity' of the times in which we live. Our message is unequivocal though that there are certain expressions which should await the presence of a covenantal relationship marked by the features named above. So while I would never advocate that all forms of physical intimacy should await marriage, I do counsel that there are, and should be, limits.
In agreeing to the limits it doesn't mean that we should necessarily aim for 'anything else' but penetration. Rather the approach to setting appropriate limits should underscore the values of waiting, control and respect. If proper boundaries are not established, increasing intimacy can have some undesirable results — such as feelings of abuse or betrayal following a break-up, loss of appropriate personal boundaries without a commensurate commitment, and beginning to become one before the couple actually belongs to one another.
Appropriate Intimacy in Dating
With this in mind, let's explore some boundary guidelines. It is difficult to provide solid physical boundaries that apply to every dating relationship. Depending on one's culture and one's typical physical contact with others, physical boundaries may vary.
- Communication and Intimacy
For instance, some people hug everyone they know. This is not a sign of intimacy or love so much as it is a greeting.
For others, hugging is an intimate gesture. It is also important to look at the degree to which the physical touch is carried out. There is a difference between a hug of greeting and a long embrace. Each person should be aware of the meaning he or she attaches to certain gestures when considering appropriate boundaries. It is also wise to be aware of whether certain physical touches lead a person to desire more intimate touch.
For example, does a hug of greeting quickly lead to a make-out session? Recognizing personal healthy boundaries is the first step, but physical boundaries should be mutually established prior to physical contact.
In the heat of the moment, it is difficult to stop a kiss that is later regretted. If both parties know the limits beforehand, maintaining boundaries becomes easier. Boundaries for physical touch should be a matter of prayer and discussion.
The partner with the stricter boundaries should set the norm for the couple. All that being said, there are certain physical boundaries that are clearly biblical. These are not a matter of personal meaning or choice. It is inappropriate to have sex, in any form, prior to marriage.