Many single women are wondering,
How far is too far when it comes to enjoying intimacy and showing affection in a romantic relationship with a man you’re not married to, YET?
Where is the line, between what we should and shouldn’t do with our bodies when we’re in love?
What is okay according to God, and which activities are sinful?
Is everything okay as long as you are able to technically maintain your virginity?
Since dating wasn’t a thing back in the days of the Bible, does that mean God doesn’t have an opinion on how the relationships should be handled before marriage?
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there are only three types of relationships God recognizes between men and women.
The 3 types of Biblical Relationships Between Men and Women.
There are only 3 categories of relationships between men and women that God recognizes. They are:
- Men that You’re Related to by Blood
- THE MAN you’re Married To
- Your Neighbors
There are specific ways in which we should behave within these three categories of relationships. Understanding these categories will allow you to make decisions that will bring the most glory and honor to God.
1. Men that You’re Related to by Blood
These are the guys in your immediate family; your Father and brothers. People that you should not be having sex with under any circumstances.
In the early chapters of the Bible, we see that Adam’s children we’re stuck marrying each other because there wasn’t anybody else around. But as soon as the Levitical law is introduced with Moses, incest is on the list of was classified as sin and made illegal for the children of Isreal.
Our modern day society is disgusted by the idea of incest, and rightly so. It goes against the nature of God. When incest occurs there is usually a victim involved. Someone is violated and molested, too often a child.
Consider the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters in found in Genesis 19.
This is a perfect example of a dysfunctional family!
At the beginning of the chapter, Lot offers his daughters up to a gang of sodomizing rapists. Later his daughters get their father, Lot, drunk and sleep with him. Out of this chaos and confusion is born two enemy tribes to the children of Isreal, the Moabites, and the Ammonites.
Read the chapter and notice the behavior of the eldest daughter who comes up with this plan. First, she claims that she knows that what she is plotting is not normal, but she is so desperate, believing that she will NEVER see another man again that this is a reasonable solution. Secondly, she uses alcohol to get her Father, blackout drunk. After the deed is done, she brags about to her little sister and makes her do the same. Throughout history, people have come up with all kinds of stupid reasons to justify having sex.
The consequences of their short-sighted behavior result in two tribes who attack the Children of Isreal for hundreds of years. This story leaves you with a bad taste. It’s certainly easy to recognize how sexual relationships between family members is perverse and destructive.
2. The Man You’re Married To
This is the one person you get to have sex with. And you’re expected to enjoy a lot of it as often as possible.
The Bible is full of verses that stress the goodness, sacredness, and importance of sex within the context of marriage. Sex isn’t just for making babies either. It is designed to bring a couple together in a deep and intimate way.
In the Garden of Eden, the Bible says that Adam KNEW Eve, and conceived. We might think that editors of the Bible were trying to be modest or were too embarrassed to use more explicit words, but it turns out that KNOWING is the true purpose of sex between a married couple.
Sex between a man and his wife is a powerful unifying force. It allows two people to know one another on a profound level. In fact, it’s the same word David uses in Psalm 139 when he cries out “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.” Again, it’s a deep intimacy that is sacred and should bring us closer to God.
Don’t Deny It
The Bible also caution couples not to deny each other, because within a marriage that kind of denial is a hurtful form of rejection. Men suffer silently from this rejection, and it’s terribly destructive to the marriage. Women tend to come up with a list of excuses to avoid intercourse because too often we under-appreciate how important it is. Suddenly a headache comes on, you’re tired, too sweaty, too full, there’s laundry to do.
Unfortunately, the church does too little to talk about how wonderful sex is within this context. There are so many mixed messages about purity and virginity, that it can be a challenge for some women to surrender to the blessing of intimacy within her marriage.
You don’t have to worry about how far is too far. You’re free to express and fulfill your deepest desires.
Women everywhere need to embrace their sexual desires and direct them towards their husbands in a way that is both hot and holy. This expression of love bonds families and builds up stronger communities. It allows you to weather the storms of life together. It provides the friendship and connection that we deeply desire. Sex between a husband and wife meets so many emotional and physical needs that it can not be ignored.
3. Everyone else – Your Neighbours
Then there’s everyone else. If he’s not your Father, Brother or Husband, He’s your neighbor.
And the Bible tells us how Christians are supposed to treat their neighbors.
Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
How Far is Too Far? Here’s The Line
Here, my friends is where we discover the line. According to the Bible, if he is not your husband, treat him like your brother. And expect him to respectfully treat you like his sister in Christ.
And if sex between blood relatives is wrong, how much worse is it for there to be incest between the brothers and sisters in Christ?
That really pours cold water on the situation, doesn’t it?
First of all, consider the fact that you are a vessel, with the Holy Spirit within you. The Holy Spirit goes with you everywhere. But there are things that the Holy Spirit does not want to do. For that reason, when we have sex with someone outside of marriage, we are raping the Holy Spirit.
As the Body of Christ, we have to stop being numb to the spiritual incest that is going on within the church.
It is easy to point fingers and compare sexual sins and delude ourselves into thinking that some sexual sins are worse than others. But the Bible clearly lumps them all together into one pile of nasty sins. God does not condone or bless any of them under any circumstances.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Brutal as that may sound to our modern ears
There’s so much wisdom and truth in this. So the question of How far is too far, is easily answered when we ask ourselves, would I be comfortable or would it be appropriate to do this thing with my father or brother. If the answer is no, then you need to stop because you are quickly moving into the territory incestuous behavior within the body of Christ.
When we commit ourselves to this level of modesty and chastity it will inevitably bring some ungodly relationships to a screeching halt. Many dating relationships are only held together by lust and fornication.
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I’ve said it before; one of the biggest problems I see in relationships today is that we treat dating like marriage and marriage like dating.
We get overly committed to someone we want for a husband and hold on to relationships that aren’t good for us. It’s easy to get entangled in soul ties because we over commit ourselves to someone who doesn’t value us for who we are in Christ.
Personally, I would have rebelled against this extreme form of old fashion advice.
I didn’t know my true value in Christ and I had no ability or desire to control my natural urges. All my body wanted was some form of love and security. Unfortunately, that led me to make a lot of really bad choices that hurt myself and others who I claimed to love.
As a Married Woman
First, I can look back and see that this seemingly overprotective advice is beautiful when applied properly. It sets you up for a Godly and wholesome marriage with a man that is going to love you the way God wants you to be loved.
Second, it also prevents heartbreak, depression, anxiety, and pain. With clear boundaries, you’re able to stay far away from of the fiery darts to many of us have been burned by. You don’t have to wonder how far is too far? You don’t have to worry about where the line is or if you’ve crossed it.
Unlike the purity movement, which seeks to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STD’s this approach allows you to explore the richness of God’s blessings. It doesn’t deny that you have strong sexual urges. It gives you a place to express them.
The challenge comes from the fact that today’s society has people marrying later in life. While I firmly believe that women should pursue a good education and be prepared to take on the great responsibilities of marriage, I don’t believe that postponing marriage for the sake of freedom in your twenties is wise.
The bible tells us that if two people are burning for each other, let them marry.
“But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
We have created this elongated dating period that puts people in the way of temptation. They have no outlet for their natural desires. And, we are wired to want someone. We were created by God to want families. I hear young women talking about catching “baby fever” and wanting to become a mother even though their not married.
Modern society is adding undue pressure to young couples by making the path to marriage more and more challenging, while simultaneously endorsing couples to live together and try it out.
When Christian’s choose to reduce the dating period and move towards marriage quickly they’re often mocked and ridiculed. It’s not that anyone should get married without first getting to know their potential partner. It’s that you should get to know the person as a brother and friend first, not a lover.
Here’s The ThingIt's crazy to think that you can date someone in an ungodly manner and turn it into a godly marriage. Click To Tweet
Biblically speaking, there’s no mention of dating in the Bible. Creating opportunities for desires to turn into lust and temptation isn’t part of God’s plan. God wants couples to be able to express their love freely towards one another. It’s not His intention to create frustration. He wants to protect and guard couples, but there are limits and restrictions put in place to do so.
Again, God doesn’t want to leave you guessing and wondering how far is too far. He wants you to live your life in the light and freedom of His love.
But, as always, it’s your choice.
Like many, you might read this article and think I’m out of touch with reality. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. These concepts are such a contradiction to what is considered normal in today’s society that I know it might be very hard to digest.
I would encourage you to wrestle this out with God. Pray about what you’ve read. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of any wrong thinking. The lies of today’s world are so well ingrained in our minds and hearts that they look like truth.
Above all, seek God.
If you get into a good debate and people are asking, How far is too far? Direct them here.
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