When we began dating, my now-husband and I walked in to our dating relationship with a clear goal: to save sex until marriage. We’d both known very few people who had done it, and honestly I thought it was going to be simple. But I was very quickly proven wrong. I absolutely believed in the goal, but without a plan and a purpose, I knew that it would fall apart. I’m thankful that we both decided to lean on God and His Word instead of on our own power. I hope that you choose to do the same, and even more, seek God’s grace in every stumble. Here are a few ways that we can seek sexual purity through the lens of God’s Word.
1- Have the right partner, and be playing with the same goal
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 | 2 Thessalonians 3:6 | 2 John 1:9
God’s Word is very clear about being equally yoked in marriage and relationships. If the person that you’re in a relationship with isn’t working toward the same goals as you (including sexual purity), the chances of you making it to marriage in that relationship (which shouldn’t be the case if they aren’t a Christian) without giving in to sexual sin together is slim. I’m not saying it’s impossible. But if you’re a woman who claims to be a Christian and love God with your whole heart, you should not be in a relationship with a non-believer or lukewarm Christian. You will find your relationship and your standards pulling you in different directions, and it’s more important to have right, lasting love with a true Christ follower than it is to have a relationship now to avoid loneliness.
2- It’s better to break up than live in sin
1 Corinthians 6:18 | Romans 6:12 | Matthew 5:29 | Romans 6:1
Sweet sisters, if you find that you and your boyfriend or fiancé cannot resist sexual sin, I would encourage you to break up. I understand how harsh that sounds, believe me. But God’s Word is clear on how he feels about sin. He hates it so much that he went to the cross to bring you freedom from it. But if we continue to take part in the sin that He so boldly freed us from, we take advantage of the grace that He offers us. If you and your boyfriend/ fiancé cannot walk together in holiness and find yourselves repeatedly engaging in sin together, it’s time to take that temptation out of your life. If this has you thinking, “but I’ll never find someone else” or “but we’re going to get married anyway”, you are making excuses for your sin. God desires to make you holy and for you to practice sexual purity. Seek Him in that, and don’t be afraid that you won’t have someone or that you’ll never be together again. The Bible is clear- It’s better to be single and be obedient to God’s will than have a boyfriend or fiancé and continually step outside of it. I also want to quickly mention that if you or your boyfriend/ fiancé actively views porn, you need to break up. God calls us to obedience, and porn kills true intimacy. This is not a punishment, but an opportunity for healing. The Bible is strictly against it and if either party in your relationship is actively engaging in that sin, I would encourage you to take time apart for true and deep discipleship, accountability, and seeking Christ. This is not something that you should be tackling alone or leaving in the dark.
3- Flee from the temptation and appearance of sexual immorality
1 Cor 10:14 | 1 Thessalonians 5:22
If you know what you’re trying to avoid, then you shouldn’t be asking, “how close can I get to it”, but instead, “how far away can I stay from it?”. As we continue this analogy, let’s say that a car is a relationship and crashing in the car is having sex before marriage. It seems hokey, I know. Just stay with me. If your goal was to never get in a car crash, there are several ways to avoid them with the simplest being to never get in a car. But lots of us get in a car every day (or are in relationships). What we don’t do is take purposeful and unnecessary risks that could quickly land us in a car accident. Instead, we buckle our seatbelts, drive hands free, and don’t go teetering up winding roads. The same can be applied to our sexual purity. If we know that moving in together or sleeping over is going to lead to lustful feelings, then it should be clearly out of the question, just like driving a car with a blindfold on. Instead of asking, “how far is too far?”, we should be actively seeking distance from sin and the steps that take us there.
It should also be addressed that we’re called to be different than the world. Even if you miraculously aren’t having sex during sleepovers, or you say that it won’t happen again, it’s a poor representation for your witness and what God calls us to as Christians. If two people in a romantic relationship live together, travel alone together, or have sleepovers, the world will rightfully believe that they are sexually active. Run from the appearance of anything but Godliness, sister. God has better for us.
4- Don’t entertain the idea
Matthew 5:28 | Psalm 139:2 | Philippians 4:8
God judges our hearts and knows all of our thoughts. Nothing is hidden from Him. It we, as Christians, desire to please and obey God, that begins in our minds and hearts. Do not fall prey to the enemy’s lie that “it doesn’t hurt anyone” to think lustful thoughts or imagine lustful scenarios in your mind. God desires for us to renew our minds and to make us more like Him. Remember that the person that you’re in a relationship with is also a child of God, and God desires sexual purity for them. Don’t inch closer to sexual immorality by imagining them in a way that God doesn’t want you to.
5- Know your boundaries and agree to them quickly & together
Proverbs 4:23 | 2 Cor. 5:16-17 | Romans 8:5-6
When my husband and I started dating, I wondered when we should have this conversation and make a plan. We weren’t holding hands or kissing, but quickly decided that the time for making plans is before you need to use them. If you’re in a relationship, I’d encourage you to do the same. If the person that you’re dating or engaged to dismisses your desires to seek purity together or have a plan, I would consider that a red flag. The person that you’re with should seek purity over their own desires, just like we all should. Here’s a good starting list that we worked from, but each relationship is different. I know that our plans may have been different if either of us had our own place, but we both lived with family (hi mom lol).
- No bedrooms
- Early & consistent curfew
- No sleepovers
- No time alone in empty houses
- Avoid dark snuggling, shared blankets, and couch lounging
- Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you
- Add things to the list as you find them to be a struggle
- Don’t discuss the idea of sex together
- Practice purity in the way you dress
- Check in often
- Respect and honor any boundary that your boyfriend/ fiancé requests even if you feel like you may not “need” it
If there’s any part of you that feels like, “that’s overkill”, I would encourage you to remember that you want to FLEE from sexual immorality. Consider your partner your teammate in seeking purity TOGETHER. The enemy is seeking to ruin any good and holy thing, but God is on your side and in your midst, desiring His will for you.
6- Date in community, there is safety and accountability in numbers
Proverbs 4: 23 | James 5:16
The Bible often speaks of the wisdom that can be found in living in Christian community. When seeking marriage, you are seeking your team mate for years to come. What a beautiful time and reason to seek the wisdom that God’s people have. Seek out, also, the accountability that comes with transparency and bearing each other’s burdens. This community should share you same goals, and encourage you and challenge you to seek sexual purity in your relationship as you near marriage.
7- Seek God’s approval, not the world’s or your partner’s
Galatians 5:16 | Matthew 7:13-14
Ultimately, we must remember that as Christians our goal is to seek the approval of God alone. No doubt, peers (even those who claim to be Christians) will not understand why you decide to seek sexual purity in your dating relationships. It’s often and unfortunately downplayed in the church and swept under the rug in conversations. Don’t be swayed by anyone else’s feelings on the subject. Seek God and His Word often and fully.
8- Remember there is grace for everything
1 John 1:9 | Hebrews 4:16 | Ephesians 4:7
God calls us to obedience, but is fully aware of our humanity. Sweet friend, if you have already crossed a boundary that you wish you hadn’t, it does not define you. It will not define your future relationships or marriage, and God does not look at your differently. You are His precious and beloved daughter, and He’s already gone to the cross for every sin. Your future husband will see you through the eyes of his Father, full of love and grace. Be sure to show the same gentleness regardless of their past as well. Remember as you move forward that just because you’ve crossed a boundary in the past doesn’t mean that your purity is “already lost”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. God welcomes us with open arms when we feel downtrodden or defeated. He draws us near and points us to His Son, then calls us to be holy. No matter the things that have happened in your past, God desires to give you a bright future full of grace.
I hope that these practical ways to practice purity are helpful in whatever season you may find yourself. God desires for us to seek Him in every relationship, and to include Him as the center. When we continually choose His ways, we know that He will guide us in the way that He desires for us to go.
I’m rooting you on.