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I Love My Girlfriend — So, How Far Is Too Far?

I Love My Girlfriend — So, How Far Is Too Far?

Christians have used attraction and the “how far is too far” question to instill shame and fear into well-meaning followers, which is a tragedy. There’s no shame in  feeling physically attracted to your significant other. Sexuality is a beautiful gift, and don’t think for a moment that there’s anything wrong with you because it’s hard to keep your hands off the other person. God created you as sexual beings, and any rumors you’ve heard otherwise just aren’t true.

When we ask “How far is too far?” we’re appealing to a part of ourselves that wants rules for making God happy and parameters for how much we can get away with before He becomes “unhappy” with us. It’s a natural tendency, and we do it with many things: “How much alcohol is too much alcohol?” “How much do I have to tithe?” “How much should I pray or read the Bible?” And so on.

The truth is, we’re a law-abiding people, but we serve a heart-abiding God. When Jesus was directly asked (in so many words), what rules needed to be followed in order to get into Heaven, He replied (in these exact words), “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10). You see what Jesus did there? He not only challenges the concept of a rule-based life, but He also gives us a much harder and more thoughtful command: to love.

Instead of focusing on where to draw the line in the sand, perhaps there are better questions to ask instead. Ones like, “What does God have for me and my significant other?”, “How can we each grow closer to the Lord?” or “Are we doing everything we can to keep our focus on Christ and not anything else?” Those questions will strengthen your relationship more than setting a line you can or can’t cross ever well.

However, you might be asking this question to someone because you want them to give you a definitive answer. Something along the lines of: “You’re allowed to do [somewhat super-hot act] but you can’t do [really super-hot act].” The fact is, though, I’m not going to do that.

What I’m encouraging you to do is pursue a deep and God-focused love for the other person. If you do that, a few things will start to happen:

1. The question will morph from “How far is too far” to: “How respectful can I be?” “How guarded can I be about not moving our affection into a place of guilt?” “How much can I love this person without entering into a place of intimacy reserved for marriage?”

2. You’ll view the other person more in-line with how God views them. He knows the inherent value of your significant other. He knows who their husband/wife will be. And He knows the painful reconciling that will take place when they do meet their spouse and have to wade through the guilt of giving too much away in an old relationship. That’s not a fun feeling, and you can love your partner enough to help them avoid that.

3. Your relationship will get better and better. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with it now. But if you are truly on the path to marriage and, subsequently, sweet lovin’ by the fire (yep, I said it), the work you do toward intentionally and respectfully loving each other will make the days pre-marriage significantly more rewarding and impactful.

To sum it up, the answer isn’t as concrete as you probably would like it to be. The truth is, the more you dig into God’s desires for your relationship, the less you’ll be focused on crossing or not crossing the “line.” In doing so, you’ll also be more focused on the opportunity to love each other well.

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