Effective Affection: How Far is Too Far?
Affection brings intimacy. Think of the word intimacy. Into-Me-see. You can have intimacy and have no sex but you can also have sex and have no intimacy. We all desire to be known, seen, loved and wanted. But does your acts of affection promote love or use? Are you holding someone to validate yourself and fill an emotional void or are you genuinely seeking their good and striving to love them with pure intentions? Take a moment to evaluate your intentions and your past patterns with affection.
How was your home life? Did you get a lot of affection? Did you experience a lack of love or abundance of love from your family? The way we received love as kids says a lot about our patterns and our wounds in relationships. Pursue the truth, goodness and beauty of a relationship. Keep your standards high and don’t settle for the scraps – wait for God’s best. Don’t rob each other from experiences that should be saved for marriage and one way that you can protect each other is by making boundaries.
Physical boundaries and emotional boundaries are important to build up trust and good communication. Talk about an appropriate curfew for each other on dates or for phone calls. Discuss why you are dating and make sure you define the relationship and know the purpose of your relationship. Being aroused isn’t a sin in itself but it is an indicator that your body is responding to the type of affection you are expressing. Are you able to master your physical attraction for each other? Can you put yourself out of compromising situations to better love each other? Have dates in public places and manage your boundaries by talking things out and setting guidelines to better love each other.
Talk It Out
Learning to communicate well is like learning a new instrument. It can be difficult at first, but eventually you're going to be able to get into a rhythm and read what the other needs. A relationship can trigger past hurts, wounds and sensitivities that you never knew were there when you were single. Be vulnerable with each other and be honest about your concerns. The goal isn’t perfection but it’s about striving for holiness together.
What kind of affection is appropriate to show a beloved son or daughter of God? In a dating relationship, you have a responsibility to treat the other person with the respect they deserve because they are a son or daughter of God and that takes a strong sense of character. Integrity is key to building a good character – know what you are saying yes to and know what you are saying no to. The people around you will be blessed by your character when you choose to practice fortitude, chastity and prudence. You need to have a strong sense of value for the other person and for you.
1. Make friends with virtuous married couples – study how they love each other. Ask them questions and ask them to keep you accountable in your relationship.
2. Grow in community – Volunteer together, meet each other’s friends and families. Make your relationship an inviting relationship that interacts with others and not a solely exclusive one that doesn’t include other interactions.
3. Self-awareness – was that text too flirty? How did I feel after that interaction – loved and honored or embarrassed and remorseful? Know yourself. Know your triggers. Make great decisions without being governed by emotions. Do you let your emotions control you or do you control your emotions? Allow your head and heart to work together.
I'm praying for you!