This is a guest post by a single sister in Christ who is about 30 years old whose walk with the Lord I greatly admire:
Dating can be a challenge for us single gals. Many of us have read quite a bit about being a respectful wife. We’ve read how to deal with our past. We’ve read about how to focus on God and make the most of our season. However, there is not a ton of information out there about being a respectful single girl. Sure, we know about common courtesies and being congenial, but do we apply the deep stuff to relationships, especially since we are not yet wives?
One thing that was huge for me to examine in my life was the topic of personal boundaries.
I firmly believe that we should all have boundaries in place. This is not to be in control in the relationship, but to guard our hearts. There is a very fine line between wanting to call all of the shots and setting limits that honor God.
I have set some personal boundaries that may not apply to you. You may have personal boundaries that do not apply to me. We live in a fallen world, and we all have baggage and scars that will shape our views. Below is an idea of some boundaries that are may be helpful. It is not an exhaustive list. Some of these I use personally, some I do not. I recommend discussing these with someone who you are far enough along with in a relationship, that this conversation is appropriate.
The point is not to make men follow your rules, but to let them know that your relationship with God comes first.
The tone of your voice and your facial expressions can make all the difference when discussing this, as it can scream control or it can gently speak of submission to God. Ask if you may speak with him about some boundaries that you believe are God honoring. Discuss your reasoning (if he would like to know), and be open to questions and comments. Don’t demand that he sit down and listen to every single detail of why you made this decision. Be willing to prayerfully consider any suggestions or concerns he has. We should pray about what boundaries God would have us set, and discuss them with a godly mentor. (I believe everyone should have a godly mentor or accountability partner)
- All men must leave your home by 10:00pm
This sets a boundary that lessens the time frame for temptation. This will not completely eliminate temptation, but it does cut down on it. As my mother would say in high school, regarding my curfew, “There is nothing you can do after 10:00pm that cannot be done before 10:00pm.” Now, if you are finishing a movie that will end at 10:30pm and he asks to stay and finish the movie, I do not see anything wrong with that. However, if the movie ends at 9:55pm and he asks to stay a bit longer to cuddle with you, this can be dangerous ground.
- Men cannot spend the night at your home
This is a boundary is non-negotiable for me. I know where my weaknesses lie. Not only are we to flee from temptation, we are to remove the very appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22) This also applies to you staying at his home as well. If either of you travel to see the other, make sure you discuss this beforehand. If you travel somewhere together, when booking the trip, ask him politely to book a separate room for you as well and let him know you are willing to pay for it.
- Let him know about any particulars regarding relationships that you have with your mentor/accountability partner
I have given my accountability partner the permission to ask to read my text messages, emails, etc. at any time regarding conversations with men. I let all men know this upfront. In my past, I have struggled with needing validation from men and words are huge for me. I haven’t struggle with this in a while, but I do not believe in letting my guard down.
- Your quiet time with God is a must
Sometimes in new relationships, we get really excited and want to spend as much time as possible together. I need to make sure I am grounded and in the Word daily. I can feel a difference on the days when I have not made time for God. Be open to switching your time, but never give up that time. It is vital to your walk with God, which always comes first.
- You will not sin with him
Every part of my being hopes that we are in relationships with godly men. (If not, please seek God’s will for the relationship. I am not the Holy Spirit, but I do not believe God calls us to be in relationships with nonbelievers. ) However, we are sometimes caught off guard. If a man is asking you to sin, do not do so. It does not matter how much you love him, how great of a guy you think he is, or how much you have invested in the relationship- do NOT sin with him. Your first priority is to honor God and bring Him glory.
Ladies, again, this is not meant to set up a system of rules for a man to follow. This is meant to help us guard our hearts and to honor Christ. We can go from bringing God glory to sinning very quickly, if we are not careful. We are all sinners and capable of evil. However, we can rise above with God’s guidance.
These are fantastic things to prayerfully consider. Here are a few more ideas for boundaries with men…
- Consider what you will and will not wear in front of men. All men. Including a man you date.
I vote to dress modestly at all times around men until marriage. Consider whether it is wise to wear a bikini, swim suit, short shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops with bra straps showing, etc… around guys. There are modest swimsuits available now. Or, you can wear boy’s trunks and a sweat shirt over your swimsuit if you must go swimming. To a man’s mind, some of these things are exactly the same as wearing underwear around him and your clothing (or lack thereof) can send all kinds of sexual signals that you don’t want to send until your wedding night. Keep your clothes on around him. Don’t allow him access under your clothing. Cover yourself to show respect for God, for yourself, for this man, and for your future husband and this man’s future wife.
- Consider whether it is wise to be alone in a house, apartment, or car with a man at all. Sometimes this is unavoidable. But sometimes it can be wise to avoid these situations if possible.
It could be wise to only be in a house where other people will be around, even if it is a child (one who is old enough to know what is going on and who can report to his/her parents what happens when he/she is with you). Being around other people helps keep us accountable and much more careful to avoid improper activities. Or you may decide to meet primarily in public places. Being alone for extended periods of time and having total privacy is definitely a recipe for temptation.
- If a man is married, is seriously dating someone else, or is not a believer, it may be wise not to spend any time emailing/texting/instant messaging/sending photos, etc…
These men are not available to you. It is wise not to allow yourself to develop a deep emotional bond with men you can’t possibly marry. I suggest not being close friends with men in these situations.
- Hold any man and any dream loosely in your heart and cling to Christ.
If you begin to realize that having this guy, marriage, being with him, feeling loved by him are more important to you than your walk with Christ and your obedience to Him, or that you are feeling tempted to sin in order to get what you want with a man – slow down. Nothing should ever come before Christ in our hearts. If we aren’t careful, we can begin to idolize a guy, marriage, romance, weddings, engagement rings, having a family, etc… Hold all of these dreams loosely in your hands and allow God to direct your steps. Be willing to be content with Christ alone even if what you want is not His will at this moment. This will save you a lot of heartache and keep your walk with Christ very strong.
What are some boundaries that you have?