Setting boundaries is important for Christian dating. Ultimately, they exist to honor God in our lives. But there are also many practical benefits from setting boundaries with your partner.
Boundaries are healthy additions to every relationship! They outline the map of traversable terrain and provide structure for the relationship. Boundaries come with borderlines that guard certain places as off-limits. Knowingly crossing those boundaries is trespassing and kind of like declaring war on the one who established them.
Breakups are the number one result of not defining or respecting boundaries. Heartache is made worse without boundaries and anger is the result of having them disregarded. Partners quickly lose respect for each other when personal boundaries are consistently crossed.
Speak your boundaries into existence and leave no room for doubt with your partner.
We know where most of you are coming from though. You just want to know what’s allowed and not allowed when it comes to Christian dating relationships. Don’t worry, we’re going to answer all your questions eventually. First, let’s go over the types of boundary lines that you’ll be noticing from this point forward.
Here are the different types of boundary lines when it comes to Christian dating.
🔴 Hard Boundary Lines: These are prohibited by God as outlined by Biblical principles.
🟡 Soft Boundary Lines: These are guided by God as outlined by one’s conscience.
🟢 No Boundary Line: There’s no restriction by God concerning the topic.
Red lights mean stop. Yellow lights mean use caution. Green lights mean that you can proceed. Simple enough, right?
We’ve prepared a list of important areas where boundaries are both practical and needed within Christian dating relationships.
- Privacy Boundaries
- Commitment Boundaries
- Sexual Boundaries
Privacy Boundaries in Christian Dating
Privacy Boundaries are all about sharing access with your special someone. What level of access should they have to your life during the dating phase of the relationship?
Privacy involves many things, but ultimately, it concerns familiarity with the person. As a relationship grows, privacy shrinks; it’s a natural progression of the relationship to open up Therefore, most privacy boundaries are for the beginning stages of the relationship.
Where’s the Line?
Privacy is important, but sometimes it’s more important to them than to you or vice versa. Communication about privacy is essential for creating an atmosphere of trust between you and your partner. If it seems like they’re being overly intrusive, it might be because there are no privacy boundaries established.
Establishing and removing these boundaries also serves to dictate the pace of the relationship. You can choose to grant them access to new parts and people in your life as it progresses.
Proverbs 3:21-23 is our primary text for guiding privacy boundaries in this article. Wisdom and discretion are paramount for understanding which boundaries are currently prudent.
🟢 Sharing Access to Yourself
You should be readily available to communicate with your partner. It’s the fundamental way all relationships are advanced. Healthy communication between couples involves personal access. Whether it’s discussing their concerns, answering hard questions, or planning for the future, you should always be willing to have important conversations with them about the relationship
🟡 Sharing Access to Friends
Introducing your partner to your friends is the first privacy wall. Friends care for your wellbeing and will provide insight about the person you may be love-blind to seeing. You’re inviting them to extend their friendship circle. So, before doing this, consider the possibility of a breakup and make sure you’re comfortable with this person remaining friends with people you know
🟡 Sharing Access to Family
Introducing your partner to your parents is the second privacy wall. This depends on the duration of your relationship. It’s not appropriate to meet the parents at the beginning of the relationship. It’s wise to wait until you’re certain this is something long-term because when you introduce them to your family, you’re subconsciously saying, “Treat this person like one of us.
🔴 Sharing Access to Phones
You might not think that sharing access to your phone is a big deal. After all, what do you have to hide? But this boundary line is more about maintaining the privacy of others. In their search for fault in you, they may stumble across something private from someone else. This is an accidental betrayal of that person’s trust. Plus someone asking to see your phone likely has trust issues of their own.
Commitment Boundaries in Christian Dating
Commitment boundaries are all about the lifestyle circumstances between partners in Christian dating. Every time a couple agrees to make a lifestyle change in the relationship, there is a shift in their level of commitment toward each other.
These shifts to commitment can be either forward or backward in momentum. When a dating relationship begins, it’s a forward impact on the level of commitment. When a dating relationship ends, it’s a backward impact on the level of commitment.
However, not all forward impacts on the level of commitment are good for the relationship, and not all backward impacts on the level of commitment are bad in the grand scheme of things.
Where’s the Line?
Commitment in a Christian dating relationship takes the cooperation of two people. Anything less and the relationship is doomed to failure.
Proverbs 4:23 is our primary text for guiding commitment boundaries in this article. Guarding your heart is wise because it allows you to get to know somebody before overextending your commitment to them. It prevents possible heartbreak should the relationship not work
This is the final phase of the dating relationship. You all have both chosen to get married, and now you’re planning to set a date for the wedding. Engagements before marriage become a heightened level of commitment for the relationship. It’s a time of amplified emotional and spiritual connection that leads to cohabitation after the marriage
Emotional commitment is a progressive process. You will inevitably become more emotionally invested in your partner over time, and we want you to enjoy this process. However, in order to prevent emotional scarring, it’s extremely important to guard your heart. Don’t overinvest emotionally and save the fullness of your emotion for marriage
Spiritual commitment is incredibly intimate. You’re inviting each other into communion with God. During the dating process, you are two people focused on one God. Therefore, we recommend praying together but reserving your deepest prayers for time alone with God. The fulness of spiritual commitment should be saved for when two people become one person under one God in marriage
Living together has become commonplace for worldly relationships. This often results in a relationship that’s forever stuck in the redline. They typically don’t advance to the point of marriage because they’re already living like a married couple. Secretly, one or both partners are scared of true commitment. By choosing not to marry, they’ve decided to allow for an escape hatch just in case the relationship eventually sours. Love is a choice, not a feeling that can sour.
Sexual Boundaries in Christian Dating
Sexual boundaries are for outlining the appropriate displays of affection in Christian dating. Scriptures give black and white borders for some areas of sexual activity but also leaves room for interpretation in others. Establishing mutual comfortability within the “white areas” is important for the relationship.
You should both agree to sexual boundaries before showing any sort of affection for each other. Physical intimacy isn’t simply a one-way street. What’s appropriate for one person might not be for another. Nevertheless, it’s also important to remember the hardline restrictions for the “black areas” of a Christian dating relationship.
Where’s the Line?
Christians are called to hold themselves to a higher standard than that of the world. What the world accepts is not always the same as what a Christian should allow. That needs to be remembered when considering the following borderlines.
Ephesians 5:3-5 is our primary text for guiding our sexual boundaries in this article. The NIV notes that “there must not be even a hint” of sexual immorality. So we want to err on the side of caution when it comes to sexual boundaries
What a weird world it would be if you weren’t even allowed to touch the person you were dating. Crazy enough, there are some fringe parts of the world where the culture doesn’t even allow for an innocent touch before marriage. If you’re reading this, that likely doesn’t apply to you. But Biblically speaking, there’s nothing that prohibits high fives, fist bumps, pats on the back, or things of an innocent nature like that
🟢 Holding Hands
Holding hands is one step above innocent touching in a dating relationship. You’re looking to make a romantic connection with the person. To you and them, it symbolizes your attachment to one another and is an exciting way to physically display your love in public.
Warning: This could become a cause for concern. Remember to do all things in moderation. You don’t want to find out that your constant hand-holding is giving off a weird vibe and making others uncomfortable around you
Hugs are a natural display of affection for someone you love before departing or returning from an extended period of absence. This applies to everyone, not just the person you’re dating. Hugs are almost designed to be brief connections or reconnections and universally accepted public displays of affection.
Warning: We believe hugs should be limited to comings and goings, otherwise they’re in danger of lingering for too long and becoming groping
Flirting might be the widest-ranging sector of dating, period. What one person considers flirting another person might call casual conversation. Then again, what one person considers flirting another person might call sexual harassment. Flirting requires knowing your audience, and you should never forget that God is also part of your audience. Never flirt in a way that would embarrass Him or you as a Christian
Kissing is an area of contention when it comes to Christian dating. After all, there’s a reason they say “you may now kiss the bride” at weddings. It can be a sexual or benign gesture depending on who gives it and how it’s given (Romans 16:16). Well-respected men and women of God don’t approve of kissing before marriage and others allow for it. We think you both should consult God before deciding whether to kiss before or after wedding bells.
Warning: Modesty and discretion are important (Proverbs 11:22), and kissing opens desire for something more. Therefore, we recommend only kissing in public, and if you choose to kiss, be discreet with your public displays of affection.
🔴 Making Out
Making out is where the hardline gets drawn regarding sexual immorality. We’ve already established that kissing can be sexual in nature, and making out is definitely one of those sexual examples. Making out displays a lack of modesty and moderation. Furthermore, in the context of Christian dating, you should never do something in private that you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in public
Groping is such an ugly word to say. It grabs the attention of everyone in earshot (pun totally intended). Uglier still is the sin of lust that lurks behind the action itself. Lust is something almost all people deal with to some degree, but choosing to act upon it isn’t excusable. Self-control is a needed fruit of the Spirit in dating
Foreplay is a textbook case for what the Bible calls sexual immorality. The concept of sexual immorality is wide-ranging but definitely encompasses oral sex. If you’ve arrived at this page while currently doing this in your relationship, we strongly advise you to repent and institute this borderline immediately.
Sex outside the context of marriage is called fornication and is another form of sexual immorality. It’s absolutely serious, and if you are currently practicing this as part of your lifestyle, you’re in danger of being a fake Christian (1Corinthians 6:9-10). Not only are you sinning against God and the person you’re sleeping with, but you’re also sinning against yourself (1Corinthians 6:18). This corrosive act makes heartache inevitable upon a breakup and leaves the person feeling used instead of loved and respected.