That Married Life (Part Two: Boundaries)

The start of a relationship is always an exciting time. The possibilities that exist within that budding relationship are seemingly endless. The two of you feel like you can go anywhere and do anything. But you can’t or rather you shouldn’t. Setting boundaries at the beginning of your relationship is crucial for the health of that relationship. Without them the endless possibilities of that relationship can quickly turn from romantic and heavenly to hurtful and burdening.

Knowing all of this Josh and I set out to “do it right,” by setting up boundaries for ourselves until we were married. We wanted to keep our relationship pure before God. Paul writes in Romans 14:14, “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.” For me this meant that any boundary that I set up for myself and Josh was binding between me and God. Therefore if we failed to stay within our boundaries we would be sinning even if the act we committed was not expressly listed in the Bible as a sin. Be aware also that the book of Matthew has a direct statement against giving into your own lusts. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)” So not only do you face the challenge of not committing any physical acts but we are also called to contain our thought life to only pure thoughts towards the one you are dating or engaged to. I encourage you to prayerfully consider how to keep yourself pure and right before God in your relationships.

Once you have created those boundaries in your relationship, hold yourself to them. Be accountable to each other and to others. The devil attacked Tasha and I in this area of our relationship early and I promise that he will do his best to make sure that you fail to maintain your boundaries as well. There will come a time in your relationship that you will want to loosen up one of those boundaries and let things move further towards your personal desires. Resist that temptation. There is a quote in the Army that I think applies to this situation, “failing to plan is a plan to fail.” Meaning, have a plan to avoid those situations, and additionally make a plan to make sure that those situations do not occur again in the future. Do not think that you are too good to fall. I think that this is an attitude that both Tasha and I were guilty of having. In our eyes it was couples that didn’t have boundaries that found themselves in bed together before marriage or that only couples who wanted it ended up having it. Sadly, we were mistaken and misled. We were, and so many other couples that we have met over the years were as well. More Christian couples that we know have failed on this count specifically than haven’t. And those who haven’t often say it was the biggest struggle for them during that time in their relationship.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”
Song of Solomon 8:4 NIV

Josh and I failing to maintain our purity before we were married was a huge hurt in our relationship for a few years. It wasn’t until we confessed that what we had done was wrong, were honest with others about our shortcomings and asked God for forgiveness that we felt relief from our burden. Giving our burden over to God allowed Him to take away our pain and it took the power of shame away from the Devil.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)”

Josh and I took that forgiveness and chose to use it as a testament to Christ’s power. We are who others can look to if they fear they have fallen too far for grace to reach them. You haven’t and you can’t. God will pull you out of the deepest of pits to bring you into His grace, and trust me the relief of the burden of sin is so sweet.

There are so many other verses on forgiveness and what God has done for us that you should definitely read, like these: Psalm 103:10-14, Romans 5:8, Luke 23:34, Hebrews 8:12, and 1 John 1:9.

In conclusion, we challenge you do better than us. We are rooting for you. Our prayer is that our honesty and experience can be used to better equip you for your trials and that our testimony can be used to increase others faith in the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

God Bless,
Josh and Tasha